I spent a little time this morning doing what I do every January 1. I have my quiet time and in it I like to reflect on the last year, and think of what’s working, what I may have learned and what I might need to change. I don’t like to call it “resolutions” because those are just meant to be broken right? But I do think that the turn of the calendar is a good time to revamp things in our lives. In 2019 I chose a different way to do my “quiet time” last year. I liked some of what I had changed but I had done too many changes and I am revamping again. Kind of meeting in the middle of my “old” habits and my 2019 habits and working on new habits for 2020. I am a creature of habit in a lot of ways but I also think that reflecting, revamping and renewing things makes for keeping things fresh. I know for me doing the same thing day in and day out can also mean too much routine and then I wonder if I’m even paying attention. Where in the world do we find the balance? I guess that is what I am trying to do by paying attention to the turn of the calendar and that by doing so, I can keep things interesting. Keep my brain engaged and keep pressing on.
Every year I ask the Lord to give me a word for the year. A word that I can focus on that will speak to me throughout the year. At the beginning of 2019 I had been through about three years that were gut wrenching in many ways. I had a lot of loss between 2016 – 2019. I had endured a lot of pain and heartbreak that had rocked me to the core. I had spent a lot of time on my knees. Some of the loss, I did not see how God could possibly redeem but I was begging him for the last few years to Restore my soul. Those years were some of the hardest I had ever endured in my life. The word that God gave me for 2019 was Hope! The verse He attached to that hope was:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Over the course of the last year as God gave me Hope for restoration He showed me the Hope that I could feel every time I looked into the eyes of my grandchildren. He gave me a new hope for the future of my son. He fulfilled some of my hopes of moving to the lake and showed me hope for the future that Ed and I would have together. He has fulfilled some of my dreams, He has also told me no and He has changed some. He has told me later on some as well. But overall. He fulfilled the hope that He gave me and I can honestly say that my relationship with Him is on a different plane that it ever has been before. No I don’t want to relive the pain that I have been through but I can honestly say I know my Savior better than I did before and I know that He will always carry me through whatever comes my way. And through it all I have Hope for a better tomorrow. Now I’m not saying that these tomorrows will ever be free of pain and suffering. God never promised that. In fact quite the opposite. He tells us that this world will have trouble but that He has overcome the world (John 16:33) When I say He restores He is not going to bring back my sister or even my friend. I have had friends, close ones who have had to bury their child, I have watched one of my best friends as she succumbs to Alzheimers and her precious daughters are losing their mama way too young. God is not going to restore these situations to prior like we wish He would. But I have learned that if I give Him the heartbreak and the pain and the hurt that He can make something beautiful of it while we are here on this planet! AND we have an eternal Hope that we will one day see these people again. When I lost my sister three years ago, I asked God “if it’s going to hurt this bad, please Lord use this pain, don’t let it be for nought.” That’s where hope comes. Do I wish I could have a conversation with her again? Sure I do. Do I wish that I could sit down with my friend and giggle and laugh at our grand babies together and compare them to our kids when they were little? Of course I do. Those things are not going to happen, but if I hand God my pain and I ask Him to use it then I have seen Him give me a Hope for good tomorrows and I have had Him show me the ways that this pain and this heartbreak can be used for His glory.
Resolutions – Goals:
As I said earlier I don’t really like the word resolutions. I think those are made to be broken. However, I do like setting goals. But you even have to keep those in perspective. A goal is something you strive for. Sometimes you reach it, sometimes you don’t. But if you strive for something and you gain some ground then you need to count that as success. I do like to set goals every year and sometimes I reach them, sometime I surpass them and sometime I just gain a little ground but the end result when I set goals and I truly do strive is always growth!
I’ve been asking the Lord to give me my 2020 word for the past couple of weeks. He may have given me 2 this year.
The first is Grace!
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
I am asking God for 2020 for all grace. All that He wants to give me. I am asking Him to give me this grace so that I can abound in the good works that he has for me. And I am asking him to give me Grace and to give me the ability to give grace to others. I want to give Grace for people when I don’t feel like they measured up to what my expectations were. I want to give grace to not have expectations of others. I want to give grace for our humanness. Mine as well as others. I want to give grace and truthfully I want to receive His grace! I want to sit with an open hand and say Lord give me all the grace you want to. Lord I pray this will be the year of your Grace.
The other word the Lord gave me is Declare!!
I had been looking for a verse that would go with the word Declare for a long time and this morning during my “quiet time”
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ,…. Col 4:3
I want to declare what He has done. I want Him to use me as He sees fit to Declare what He has done. The mystery of how He has restored my soul even in and during a season of heartbreak That is one of my goals for the year. I can’t tell you how that will look, I can’t tell you where He is taking me (the mystery) but I can tell you my heart is in a good place today. Do I think this year will be void of heartbreak? No I am not living in a fantasy. But I do know Him who holds my heart and who holds my life together. I know Him who writes way better story than I do and I am asking Him to carry on and write my stories.
I won’t share my goals for the new year here. But I will write them down in my journal so that in a year I can reflect and see what my growth was. I encourage you to do the same. Reflect on the last year, what worked and what didn’t? Where did you grow and what can you do to capitalize on that growth? I encourage you to set goals. Not resolutions to be broken, but goals to strive for! I encourage you to be more intentional this year that you were last year and to see where you can Declare His Grace!
Love you all and if you made it through this very long post, I pray that it encouraged you and inspired you!
Declaring His Grace in 2020!