It’ a whole new year.
I hope for so much this year.
I see God at work in so many areas of life.
It is truly exciting.
I love to ponder for a few moments on the coming year and search my heart for the word God is settling in there to best describe the coming months.
In 2011 the word was Bold (and confident seemed to go along with it). To ask boldly, to search boldly, to become confident in all that God had placed in my life and begin to discover how He wanted to use the gifts, abilities and passions He gave me. There was a lot of reflection, a lot of letting go, and a lot of grabbing hold. I also finally went on my first mission trip in this year.
In 2012 the word was Free. Free to move ahead, to act on all He was showing me, free to be the person God created me to be. I began working diligently at completing my university degree online, I started a journey of reading through the whole Bible in one year, I came alongside Josh in the ministry to the young adults in our city and in the church-planting vision that is growing and developing in our church, and I enjoyed a part-time job at the Christian bookstore for a time.
And for 2013 the word seems to be Plenty.
The verse that comes to mind is Philippians 4:12 – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I am learning this verse means way more than material things – we can be in need in many ways in our lives, never having enough, never satisfied, never content. The journey was long, often hard for me to find contentment in Christ alone – to lay down hopes and dreams, ideas of what I thought my life should look like, and grab hold of all it is, all God has given me – because I know now and for certain – I have so much, so many good things, and it baffles me how easy it can be to lose sight of them sometimes. So I know that feeling of WANT, whether it is justified or not, whether it is my own doing or not, I get that feeling – to be HUNGRY, to be IN NEED – and Christ fills those holes to overflowing if only I let Him. He never forces His way in, we always have to extend the invitation. He is the Bread of Life, and we can never hunger again if we feast on His love. But to actually do this, remember this, choose this – easier said than done sometimes.
And this year so many amazing things are coming. There will be plenty to do as long-waited-for visions begin to live out in tangible ways, as I (hopefully) finish up a Bachelor’s degree, as visions become clearer and doors open wide in ministry, as boys grow into young men, my marriage is into its 14th year, and I finish off four decades of life. Plenty.
This year I will be busy – there is no doubt. But lately I find myself getting lost in the busyness, losing focus, feeling needy, feeling want, feeling hunger – this year I hope God will grow in me a contentment in the busyness. I hope I will only see that I am well fed and living in plenty. Fed with the Bread of Life and living in His promises. Plenty.
A few things I will be tracking because I love to see results, and I find it very encouraging to cross things off a list.
- Finish up reading through the Bible in a year by the end of May.
- Read through the entire Action Bible with the boys before Advent.
- Make service a more intentional part of our family life.
- Memorize a Bible verse each week with the boys.
- Exercise three times a week.
- Drink 2 litres of liquid a day.
- Cut down on sugar intake.
- 7 hours of sleep at night.
- Track coupons used and money saved through that effort.
- Increase income from home.
- Pay off the last of my degree before I’m finished.
- Accelerate mortgage payments.
- No further debt.
- Live within the budget.
- Weekly dates with Josh.
- Available to fulfill coupons we gave the boys for quality time with us throughout the year.
- Finish up the last 6 courses of my Bachelor’s degree (hopefully) by December.
- Volunteer at the boy’s school a couple of hours every week.
- Volunteer once a month to teach Josiah’s Sunday school class.
- Clear vision and direction for church-planting and global mission efforts.
Lord, help me find contentment in all You bring – in the plenty. Help me be encouraged as I take Your hand and walk in it all, knowing life is full to the brim, and it’s OK for it to be that way, trusting You will give me all I need and more as we walk each step of the journey of 2013 – together. Whenever I hunger, may I feast on Your love and grace, whenever I am in need, let it be for more of You, and whenever I want, let it be for You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.