I have missed it. But I’ve been busy being present.
“Busy”not missing the gifts right in from of me. Big family dinners and cousins running joy-laugh wild. Bundle-up frigid hikes and God-glory casting light. Endless hours of Lego building and fireplace glowing and living. Each moment. Wonder-full.
And in doing so I’ve realized that sometimes when I flick away from the moment I’m in to click away a cropped and filtered snapshot for the world to see, maybe I’m not being fully present long enough for my heart to fully see. To see the full beauty and grace and give-thanks-for treasure of this should-not-be-interrupted moment.
Maybe when I wait for instant feedback with what everyone else thinks about my Intsagrammed life or when I continually check in on what’s happening with those I follow, maybe I’m not really waiting for God’s feedback on my happenings, not checking in first with the One I Follow.
So I’ve taken a short break—to be all in. (Not because I’m anti-social media. I actually enjoy it. Partially adore it for the goodness is can offer and the connection, community it can help cultivate.) But because I needed to hit the reset button again on the pattern of my thinking heart.
Live first. Savor fully, first.
Give thanks wholly.
Let God’s holiness permeate my heart before I premeditate a post.
Friends, it’s been so good.
Old years ending and new ones beginning will do that.
I get excited about blank calendars and endless possibilities. I wonder what unexpected blessings God has in store and what challenges will accompany them. So I set aside some time for just me and God—to talk, to dream, to plan. I was also thinking perhaps this would be the year I jumped in and chose One Word, one word to define, inspire, and direct the path ahead.
When Reflection Is the First Direction
But as I sat down with Bible open, pen and journal poised in ready posture, gung ho to hear from God about His grand 2015 plans for me—this blog and ministry, family affairs and personal growth—I was quite surprised by the first thing the Spirit said.
(I’m confident it was God’s voice seeping through my thoughts because what came to mind was not at all what I had been thinking.)
He said, “Before you can look to the year ahead, I want you to look at the year behind. Take stock of what I’ve done before you ask me what I will yet do. And give thanks.”
I questioned (with a little confusion and a tinge of bad attitude) if I had sensed the Spirit correctly.
“Yes. Do it again, Becky. Remember. Record. Give thanks. Again.”
So that’s what I did.
And you know what? I was astounded.
Though I’ve joined all the joy-darers by adding daily to scribbled lists of the ways I see God’s gifts, though I’ve purposed to awaken to wonder and documented the work He’s doing, I found that the stretched out discipline of marking my spiritual journey slowly throughout the year does not have the same impact as an exercise of recalling and re-recording all of God’s major movement, blessing, and divine orchestration in my life, 365 days strong, in one bird’s-eye-view sitting.
The perspective was beautiful.
Over and over I remembered significant ways God had worked through everyday circumstances to draw me closer to Him. How He had intervened and opened doors and communicated His heart and purpose through friends new and old, online and in real life. My black ball point pen couldn’t keep up with the sudden flood of God-did-this memories.
His Amazing Grace. All over the page.
I think what made me joy-baffled most in looking back at so many unequivocal blessings is that 2014 wasn’t always a year of happy endings. It was actually a year with a whole lot of ache and loss.
Losing a fellow young-mama-friend to cancer. Aching with ones I dearly love through the heartbreaks of miscarriage and chronic illness, uncovering abuse and betrayal, devastating diagnoses and financial difficulties, lives wrecked by reckless drivers. It’s been a year of grief. Mourning with those who mourn. I’ve been on my knees with somber heart, sobbing cries, and puffy eyes too many times to count.
Yet, by looking back, I see that through the sadness and muck of sin, God’s hand has been on me. His grace has been abundant. His provision perfect.
When You’re Waiting to Forge into the Future
And I now see that through the heart-aching and soul-blessing, 2014 has also been a year of calling.
As I chronicled God’s work in my life, I identified three specific calls.
The call to write. The call to speak. The call to rest.
This past year the Lord confirmed that words are not just my fascination, delight, and internal processing device; they are also part of my Kingdom blessing. Words written and words spoken are my toolbox to encourage women on their faith journey. Using them for Him makes me come alive! It’s more than a hobby. It’s a calling.
And so it is with rest. I will always recall 2014 as the year God invited me into Sabbath keeping, into holy, purposeful rest. I hope to share more about this in the year ahead, but for now I’ll say that it’s been a deep soul conviction and life-giving spiritual awakening that I didn’t know I needed or was missing. I learned that Sabbath rest is not just an archaic command to be kept. It’s a gift to be savored. A universal calling to live.
Blessings, stressings. Sorrow, joy. Grace and gifts and three foundational callings. So what does this all add up to? I wondered.
Reflection is fantastic but what does it mean for my future?
When My One Word Found Me
And then without word-smithing or creative crafting, my One Word for the year emerged: Continue.
Continue to write.
Continue to speak.
Continue to rest.
Continue to awaken to wonder and trust Me for the rest.
Immediately two passages from Scripture came to mind.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, you must CONTINUE to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will CONTINUE his work until it is finally finished on the day Christ Jesus returns.
I was waiting for something new, exciting, different. But instead God showed me that He is already up to something significant. And I have the humble joy of being invited to continue with Him on the journey.
Continue following God on the path He is revealing. Continue being faithful in the big and small of faith steps He’s providing.
Faithful in making school lunches and singing bedtime songs of prayer. In tapping out blog posts and sharing the gritty struggle and beauty of life in Christ with women who want to hear. Continue logging off the computer and reheating leftovers so Sundays can be set apart for naps and prayer and sitting long with Jesus. Continue in what I am doing.
And believe that God will continue the work He began. Using my brokenness and grief and messy mama heart for my good and His glory.
It wasn’t the artistic or whimsical or super spiritual word I was hoping for, expecting. But I believe it holds the key to more art and whimsy and spiritual growth with the One I always Hope for.
So I will continue.
Do you have One Word for the year? I’d love to hear!