Wrapping Up The Year of Crazy Change

Changing Himself

My first posts about this year of Crazy Change mentioned ideas like “Maybe a lot of the crazy change will be from within instead of a lot of external changes… It has to start with me… Change starts today, this moment, right here, right now. No big external differences are needed. Just a willing heart, a gracious God, and a drawing near to Him and to those around me.”

The verses were Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  – Romans 12:1-2

The inspirational quote was “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

The image I used as a reminder was a butterfly.

butterfly

Image courtesy of Idea go/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Through the year I posted about things like Food, More on Food, Employment, Vision for Ministry, Being a Writer, Sleeplessness, Basics of a Healthy Family, and Good Stuff vs. God Stuff.

What do I want to say about this year?

It was needed, folks, absolutely needed.

There were so many things I was doing on auto-pilot. The verse talks about not conforming to the patterns of this world – this year I started to realize just how many areas needed work, needed a fresh breath of God, needed to – change. A crazy kind of change.

And to look at everything with a renewed mind, to let God loose in all areas – even the “christian” areas – not easy at all.

So much letting go to do, so many safety nets to rip apart, so much security to chuck out the window. And to fall into Grace. That kind of fall is far-reaching, ever-lasting, and it can shake you to your core.

Free falling into Grace can make the craziest changes in you.

Try it out and see what happens.

When you let Grace into your home, your family, your friendships, your religion, your schedules and your routines.

And what about letting Grace in to the depths of your heart, mind, and soul?

Like I said, that’s the craziest part – when it starts with you, when Grace gets right in your face – and you hear “I still love you without all the patterns, without the conformity, without the masks and the rules and the traditions. On the bad days, when you’re at your worst – I’m never going to stop loving you. I just want you – in all your mess, your doubt, your confusion, your baggage, your failures – I love you just the way you are. ALWAYS.”

So crazy. That kind of Grace will change you, no doubt.

That’s what my name means – Grace – I carry it with me everywhere I go. And I’m starting to recognize it. Every time I sign my name, hear my name, read my name somewhere – it’s all Grace. And I can be that to everyone I meet, everyone I live with, everyone I’m friends with, everyone in my family. God asks me to live up to my namesake – every day – for Him. To give back what I receive freely every second of my life. To be Anna – to be “Grace” in the world.

To take the Grace I receive on a constant basis, and spread it around as much as I can to whoever is close to me that moment. Living in the moments. Bringing Grace into the moments.  Not expecting others to conform to any patterns, just as I am called to non-conform. Letting others be whoever they happen to be, just as I am called to be the person God made me to be. Loving others, accepting others – instead of judging others by the standards and patterns of this world – just as I am loved, accepted – by Grace Himself.

There’s been alot of remembering during this year of crazy change – when you strip away all the patterns and the conformities – when you go about renewing and transforming – you remember alot of who it was you started out to be – before the masks and traditions and formalities. It can be very freeing, but it can also be very scary, or depressing, or lonely, or sad – if you find yourself far from the person you once thought you would be. Never forget about that Grace that is offered every second our our lives. Never let go of that Grace – no matter what you find when you start to remember.

There’s alot of testing to do as well – testing God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. We might not look at all like we thought because God’s been at work in our lives – rearranging and changing and molding us into something beyond what we could have imagined originally. Yes, there’s alot of testing to see what we have put in the mix ourselves and what God put in the mix intentionally. When you can sort through all that, the picture looks much clearer.

In my life, I am learning to recognize the dreams, hopes, desires, and passions that never change. These things never leave me alone, no matter how many times I give them back to God. I can just hear Him saying, “Yes, thank you for laying that one down AGAIN, and now I’m going to give it back to you AGAIN. Live this one out Anna – I have great blessing waiting for you as soon as you start to live in it – I gave this one to you from the start!” Doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing, but it means I am free to pursue it – when the time is right. That’s another thing – He’s great at letting us know the right timing for things as well – in a way that is so clear we couldn’t miss it.

These things that never go away, these things that always stay – these are the ones to listen to. For me it’s writing, travelling, cooking, frugality, playing piano, singing, walking, spending time in nature, sewing & weaving. And doing these things in the context of being married to Joshua and being a mother to Josiah and Elijah. There is also a very strong pull to encourage others in their faith, minister to children, and help with social justice issues both near and far.

Josh and my boys were the biggest surprises of my life – I never saw them coming. Yet they are also the biggest blessings. Beyond what I could have imagined – God put them in the mix and I’m so glad He did!

And it has taken much renewing to get back to these basics. There has been much to sift through, to declutter, to rearrange. It has been worth it.

I come to the end of this year feeling renewed – but it has been a very hard, long road. I had accumulated so many patterns and conformities that were never mine to carry, and they were weighing heavy on me. I have started to hold everything up to God, ask Him if it stays or goes, and He is so faithful to help me on this journey to…

My word for next year – I’ve known it all through 2014, been excited to get to it, been encouraged by its impending arrival…

Simple.

I couldn’t get to this word until I’d gone through some crazy changes. There are more crazy changes coming, I’ve come to realize they may never stop coming, but with Grace all things are possible – even riding out the waves of change, even when it starts with me.

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