Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Word 365: I'm Putting Down the Eraser

"A new year is not about starting over; it's about starting what is next." Josh Petersen, pastor

Today, this New Year's Day, I'm putting down my eraser. 

Today, I'm not looking at 2014 as a slate that's been wiped clean, erased of the grievances and problems and stress of the year past, as a book that's open and waiting for life to fill it with all things better, all answers right.

Today, I'm reflecting on where I've been, at the encouragement of one of our pastors, and I'm remembering where I got it right, where I got it wrong and how God has met me in both during the past year so I can move forward into 2014 with the hope of a new chapter starting and the assurance of God walking with me into the unknown just as He walked with me this past year. 

This year, I'm not trying to erase the hard from 2013; this year, I'm remembering it so that it might cause me to remember that I don't walk alone into this new year. 

By human standards, a good portion of our 2013 could be deemed eraser worthy. 

Last year, I was so excited to embrace my word, rejoice, for the entire year. It came to me just before we found out we were expecting the baby we had long prayed and hoped for.

Last year, on New Year's Day, when I settled on that word and then we later saw the double pink lines on a pregnancy test, I was so certain 2013 would be a year filled with joy and rejoicing. I was brimming with hope!

If you know our story, though, you know that 2013 was a hard year to rejoice. Our baby, Selah, went to heaven when I was just shy of the second trimester mark, and losing her left me feeling quite broken. Physically my body reeled from the stress of the miscarriage and a virus that attacked the nerve that controls my balance. God is good, though. And when He gave me the word rejoice, He knew what He was doing.

Selah's life, for me, was the pregnant pause I needed. Just like the word Selah is used in the Psalms as long pause of waiting, a song of love to The Lord, so has Selah's life been to me.

I learned as I grieved her what it meant to be able to rejoice in the midst of suffering; I learned what it meant to praise God in the times of goodness as well as what it meant to praise Him in times of grief. God also taught me how to rejoice through the lives of the children I hold in my arms everyday. Our boys have given me lessons in choosing joy through modeling what it looks like to live a life of joy and through showing me what it looks like to choose the alternate. 

I learned to rejoice in my physical limitations as I healed physically and emotionally, and I learned to rejoice, give thanks for the slow healing that is still not complete. 

I have rejoiced in God's good gift of marriage to a man who is sold out to His maker, and I have rejoiced in the blessings of the beautiful Church, family and community.

This year, I have praised Him, too, for brokenness and how brokenness often is bound up in beauty and beauty woven into brokenness. As we grieved Selah and gave thanks for the beautiful boys we have to raise here on Earth, God began to break our hearts for what breaks His. As we mourned our child, we also began to grieve for children who don't have parents, and this lead us to hosting a beautiful, fun-loving, compassionate young girl from overseas for a month this winter. 

We see God's fingerprints all over this experience, as though we were hand chosen for each other because, I believe, we were. 

I rejoice in the brokenness that has lead to beauty. I rejoice in the beauty that was born of broken.

As the weeks have dwindled in 2013, I again began praying about my word for the new year. Only this time, I felt like I wanted to run from it instead of embrace it. 

Courage. 

It's been following me since October when I attended a retreat about walking in the courage of faith. 

Scripture after scripture, friend after friend have pointed me to this word ever since. The tipping point occurred last Sunday as I listened to the message Pastor Josh gave about moving forward and remembering the past instead of trying to erase it. He went to the book of Joshua and pointed out where God told Joshua to be strong and courageous for The Lord would be with Joshua just as He was with Moses. 

God reminds Joshua to remember a hard past to give him the courage to go into the future knowing that just as God had walked with Moses God would walk with Joshua, too.

That morning, I walked away from the service ready to choose courage ... Except for that I wasn't. I was still scared. 

Because if you choose courage, aren't you just asking for situations in which you need to be courageous?! And, honestly, I've had enough of that!

If I would have taken an eraser to 2013, I wouldn't have been reminded of how beauty comes from broken. 

I wouldn't have been reminded that the God who reigns over all creation also comes impossibly, intimately near.

Still, I was hesitant to choose courage. So God gave me a second word that I'd need to in order to be courageous: abide. It came to me anew a few days before Christmas and then again Christmas Eve when my in laws gifted me with a beautiful painting centered around John 15.

After praying and talking with a friend, I realized that abiding is the only way I'll be able to walk in the courage of faith … with whatever awaits us in this new year.

And honestly, I don't have even a tiny inkling of what will unfold.

But I'm looking at God's faithfulness taking it one tiny courageous step by one tiny courageous step at a time.  

2 comments:

  1. Abide is a word that you can really move into and settle in. I'm sure your heart has the room to abide and I know that you can teach the same word to your children. It is a great word to emulate. I will continue to pray for you dear Hy. Happy New Year, love!!! xo- Alita

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  2. What a beautiful post and message. Yes faith only makes us stronger. I am so sorry about the loss of your baby. But I can tell you are a very strong woman and the Lord has blessed you in many ways. Happy New Year!

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