Being that it’s that awkward week between Christmas and New Years, I should be blogging something else-like our Holiday House Tour (coming I promise- it’s sitting in draft form now!), my 2018 goals or year in reviews (that I have not even started yet) but instead I keep going back to a few sacred moments that happened before Christmas. I like to think of this blog as a way to share things that are maybe too much for social media, but still an outlet for me and all that is happening in our life. This has been sitting on my heart and in fact I wrote all this below, stream of conscious like, that very afternoon it happened. The same feeling hit me again on Christmas Day as I sat amid the boxes and paper and looked at D and said “I could cry.” He looked at me weird because I was smiling but I kept these thoughts close to my heart as I wrestled through whether to share or not.
I tell you this for authenticity sake. Not that “instagram curated authenticity” kind but so that maybe connection can be made through what God is doing in my life. That a peek at what He’s reveal to me can help reveal something to you or vise verse. And if that’s the case- even if it means I have to go first. So here goes.
Last week, I sat in our house with the literal heavenly smell of cinnamon ornaments I handmade baking, next to a tree, that was in my humble definition, perfectly decorated with twinkling lights while drinking Russian tea I had just mixed up. And I sat.
I sat and my soul sat.
I realized for the first time in over a year my heart didn’t feel like it was going to bust out of my chest from a racing heartbeat or anxiety. My mind was calm and still. Just still. It was eerily wonderful and a bit confusing- this new feeling. And then came the tears. The tears of a hard, hard year. The tears from months of trials and pushing and prodding and worry. Tears of thankfulness for where we are. For our home. For where our relationships are. Tears for the hurts and the straight up confusion from this past year. Tears of gratitude for how good this year was. For what great things came together this year. And also for what fell apart. Tears of rejoicing. Rejoicing over how the Lord sought me this year. Rejoicing over how He loves me despite it all. And this is how He shows it. This. This right here.
At the beginning of this year, I felt the Lord calling me to pray for contentment. It was my word for the year and when I began praying for that, I didn’t realize it’s a whole lot like praying for patience. They tell you “oh no- don’t ever pray for patience because the Lord will test you to strength you.” Let me tell you- pray for contentment and get ready to have the Lord break you down. Break you up- not only from things, from possessions but way of your life. He’s going to take everything, every situation, every norm, everything and flip it on it’s head. You think you are being broken down. But really you’re being broken away.
“But he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardship, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, than I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
So then you prepare for the rebuild. You don’t realize it while it’s happening. It’s painful. It’s raw and you think “this can not be used for good.” And then as God molds you, tenderly but firmly, you see that he’s setting your path right and straight.
“For I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.” I grabbed my bible to flip to the verse I quoted so many times this past year.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret in facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengths me.” Philippians 4:11-13
And I cried. I got it. I saw that last part of the verse and I understood. I see now what He was trying to teach me. He gave me every situation and then some- and said “you can be content- in spirit, in trusting me, in whatever circumstance I put you in- you can be content, because you can do all things through me. I give you the ability. You just have to seek me. I have given you a beautiful house and a perfect Christmas tree, and I’ve also given you battles- yet through me in all of these situations- seek me and you will find peace.”
I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. Just pulled back the curtain on my life’s movie and seen a tiny peek at what the story looks like. The story that He has already written for me. And I’m relieved. Relived because I can trust Him in the writing, I just have to be the responsive player. I can be content in my story because He is good. And the situations that He brings are only for my good.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-8
I think I thought that by the end of this year, I was going to be able to put a nice big check mark next to the goal: Be content. And I could just move on from there. That somehow I would have mastered that task because I had a revelation about how God is teaching me to be content, so there. Now I’m done. Yet there’s so much more. So much more I have left to learn. But that moment of clarity last week? That was a gift to me as we head into the new year.
I’m not sure what tomorrow holds and in the chase that our culture tells me I should running- I should already have planned out what next year holds. What big goals am I going to accomplish in 2018? What is the next thing? Go go go…and while that’s all well and good, His word tells me simply:
“Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the lad and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4
His word doesn’t say “make a goal list” (although I think its a great tool and have seen such amazing growth and progress using my Powersheets!) His word doesn’t say you need a plan mapped out for the year. It doesn’t say you need to anticipate now, before January 1, what your life this year is going to look like and what you will have grown in and learned. I have the need to be able to write the full story of my year out now- to see the entirety of the tale. But His word says simply: Trust me. Take delight. Rejoice. Be content.
So that’s what I’m choosing in this week. To delight in the faithfulness of Him. To rejoice in the truths that He already knows what this year and next year and the next year looks like. He doesn’t need me to come up with a five year plan and a tactical action plan… because He’s already given it to me in His word. I just have to be content enough to hear and receive it through the noise of this week. I have to search His truth because He will show me, just like this past year, exactly how good and great and powerful He is even in my failings and weakness. He’s shown me time and time again, to trust in His plan and He will guide every step, every goal and yes, even little words of the year.
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10