We've had birthdays, and I like to acknowledge each one with a blog post for my boys to read when they are older. I will do that.
We've had Christmas, a vacation, out of state family time, a celebration of the hero who came to rescue us from ourselves. It was all so sweet. Meaningful and touching.
We've closed out a calendar year. Laid back, reflective, hanging out with friends, and over the top indulgent eats. Good. So good.
And now a new year.
Hello 2013. I look you square in the eye and I am ready. Let's do this. Wreck me. Tear me away from my selfishness, greed, temporal desires.
As I reflect over the past year, I have two distinctly real and distinctly unique trains of thought.
One: 2012 was a good year. It was safe. We were healthy. We celebrated milestones and each of us matured in differing and important ways. We were blessed beyond anything we deserved, because really, do any of us actually deserve anything good? Our actions say "no", and grace covers that with an extravagant "yes!".
So I pause. I say thank you Jesus! I acknowledge that He sustained us through the completion of Dave's second degree. He Spoke to our hearts about what needed to be done to help our K when he began struggling with school this year. He supplied for our every need, and several of our wants, as we adjusted to some very tight financial changes. He took a dream and paved the way for us to run our own business. And when I am "working" I feel really alive. So yes, thank you. And wow. And such good, good things.
Two: It doesn't matter. I am fall-on-my-face grateful, don't get me wrong, but I would give any of it up in a heart beat if that is what He wanted.
And that is what this year is for me.
2013 is this new year, bursting with possibilities, as all new beginnings are.
And frankly this strange, and still rather foreign, part of my heart is whispering that it is also going to be a year of endings. A thousand deaths. How awful and morose of me to speak like this, huh?
And how odd of me to be excited (and I can't lie, slightly terrified) about this.
Philippians 3 says it better than I can (obviously…)
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[c] For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
The education, the degree, the business, the feeling of being alive and adoring what I do, the richer and poorer, sickness and health - I give a nod to that and then say, "You all are temporal. Blessings for sure, but none of it matters in light of eternity".
On Sunday we were at church and the entire morning was one of much reflection. During our time of worship in song as well as our time of instruction from The Word, we talked about how God has blessed in 2012. We were asked to think of the ways in which God had blessed us. What were we thankful for? I shut my eyes and let the first subconscious, not sought out thoughts drift in.
Tearing down the white picket fences.
Strange. What was that about?
But what was first a drifting of a thought began to be a full fledged prayer. Almost not even of my own doing, it flowed from my heart.
"Thank you God, that this past year you have taken the desire for the Perfect American Dream; the stable life, good job, comfortable living, safety - and replaced it with you. Just you."
And of all of the other things floating around in my mind that I could have fixed that prayer of thanks around, this is where it landed.
2013: The year of torn down white picket fences. My heart leaps and adrenaline surges, because I still don't know what it all means. But God has me ready.
Wendi of previous years has most valued security, stability, and safety. Some of it is just a normal tendency that most of us have. Alot of it was an unhealthy reaction to dealing with losing a child and scrambling for what felt safe and protective.
It's leaving me. All of it. I open my hands and say,"It's yours God, all of it. Pull the rug out from under me, because I know that you are there waiting to catch me!"
Along with my thankfulness in letting go of dreams and desires that are temporal, I am humbled and grateful to be on this journey, on the same page, and unified with the one who God has given me to share this temporary life with.
What would I do with out my David? He is God loving me, in so many ways. And we are together grasping each others hands and holding on tight for this ride.
Right now we have some prospects for perhaps a part of what this new calling could entail. Some of the heart changes over the past 18 months, some of the radical tearing away that has been happening, some of the scales coming of our eyes and the movement in our journey could be pointing us toward one of these prospects. Two main full time ministry paths are being explored. I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't admit that I have hopes and preferences concerning these things. Oh, I do. There are things that I am praying for. But overriding each prayer of what I want is a stronger prayer of "Oh God, just keep us in your will, for the only place that I absolutely do NOT want to be is that dark and desolate place outside of your will and your presence."
May it be so. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Some years I have had a "word for the year". It doesn't mean anything really, just a simple word; a thought to remind me of where God has me.
This year it's Reckless. Not a recklessness with what God has given me, for we are urged to be good stewards of the abundance with which we have been blessed - But a reckless abandonment of self. A reckless and radical cleaving to Jesus. A reckless sharing of the best news any one could ever hear, with no care for self. Loving recklessly. Giving recklessly. Letting go recklessly.
He says it better than I can.
Happy new year, friends!