|Special thanks to the lovely Alyssa of Alyssa Wagner Photography for all the family photos in this post.
Happy 2014! I have been excitedly awaiting the reveal of our One Word for this year. For the back-story on past words from others years click here and here. I love how one word surfaces yearly, on the cusp of the New Year; a beacon bright. A loving reminder to set my mind on things above, and not drown in the circumstances of the moment.
Last year was one of great rejoicing for us, but it was also marked by great sorrow for some near us. Sometimes I felt conflicted, celebrating the miracle of Baby #4, but also grieving alongside friends too. It was a challenge to “be still” as it sometimes felt like circumstances were spinning out of control in the lives of those around us.
The circumstances were out of my control but not out of God’s control.
As I have mentioned before I naturally see what’s wrong with things…let’s fix that or improve this, if only we could change that, etc. I also struggle with negative thinking- often fearing or assuming the worst. I am hard on others, but especially hard on myself. I often try and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders…which often produces stress, frustration and a drive to “do”.
Enter He whose shoulders were made to carry this kind of weight.
The One who told Martha, “you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.” What had Mary chosen? She was seated at Jesus’ feet, listening to His word (Luke 10:38-42).
Martha was distracted by all her preparations. Hmm, I do that. I make my list and I frantically hurry through it. If I can just get done, then I can relax. Too often I bulldoze, bark orders, and scurry…trying and striving to complete my itinerary. I grasp, trying to control, to produce, to fix, to improve…makes me tired just typing it.
I want to be. I know I have said it before, but I really do yearn for it.
To become more alive. To breath in deep; the fragrance of His grace.
To see clearly the wonder of His love; all around.
To stop making excuses and wasting time- to get unstuck from the static of negativity.
To enter into the sacred gift of the moment.
To live out His Word.
|Tough ‘n Tender, Darling Daughter, Strong One and Sunshine Head, photo credit Alyssa Wagner Photography
As Ann Voskamp penned, “Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the
thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever
gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things,
tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…Through all
that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing
So, amidst all the flurry of our family of 6, what word do we choose? In this world that seems to be getting darker as the lines blur and the divide cracks open wider, and the hurts run deeper and the One Word is ignored.
Jesus. The One Word. Word in flesh. Word that keeps speaking. Word that is more than able to keep me.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race the is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
For the joy set before Him. He endured- for the joy set before Him. He did this- the cross- for you, for me. Consider Jesus who endured…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
That is what I need. A fresh reminder of Jesus.
Because in Him is joy.
Joy that is constant, not changing with the weather.
Joy that is real, not based on temporal things.
Joy that is lasting, not dependent on circumstances.
Joy that is based on He who endured it all so that we can have hope.
Joy that comes from the LORD who is our strength in uncertain times.
“Joy unspeakable that won’t go away, just enough strength to live for the day, so I never have to worry what tomorrow will bring, ‘cuz my faith’s on solid rock, I am counting on God” (Counting on God).
2014’s word for us is Joy. Only God knows what that all means, and how this year will unfold. But, I am choosing joy.
Right now I am suspecting that means to slow down and see the simple beauty in each day. To stop picking up things that I was not designed to carry. To let God be God and join Him instead of trying to lead or direct Him. To enjoy life more. Not to turn a blind eye to pain or darkness, but to embrace the One who is able to handle it all. To trust. To count it all joy and rest in His Sufficiency and Sovereignty.
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
1. Consider choosing a bible verse and one word as the New Year begins. A focus for your year. A plea to the Lord to help you be more like Him in 2014.
2. Recount a specific way that you saw God at work this past week, and also this past year. Take a moment and thank Him for that.
3. Reread Romans 15:13. Make it a prayer as you go forth into this year- may we awake more fully to the wonders of His love.