In total honesty, 2014 was full of hard lessons, and the most beautiful gifts. It feels like my year was split, equal parts in heartache and joy! I spent a lot of time waiting and watching for God to show up... there were many things that felt chaotic and difficult. Many things this past year I wanted to change, but seemed to only mess up more! AND in only the way He does, He made this year MUCH more than I could ask or imagine! I swear when I get to heaven I will HUG the Lord, and then really quickly and probably under my breath mutter, "What the Heck?!" Haha, and I imagine He will smile... AND know! My God will know what I mean!
As we close out 2014 there are 4 Things I am walking into 2015 having learned...
1. Pain Asks Us to Grow! It is an invitation to change, to be different. BUT it is a choice. It hurts like hell, we wonder why, we ask big questions and oftentimes come to the conclusion that there are no answers... AND then as we live another day, breathe another breath, and move a little more... It is then that life begins to look different. If I'm honest, I would say I HAD absolutely NO idea in January what my life would look like come December. There were so many things that were truly tearing me apart, and now standing close to January 1, 2015, I can say... the PAIN is what grew me. Isn't that funny, the one thing we resist in many ways is what God has orchestrated to make us the people He has designed us to be. I could not imagine my life ANY other way today, and yet this past year hurt. Hurt in my relationships, my job, my identity... HURT is the word of 2014 for me, BUT through the Hurt I have understood the Dearest JOY I have ever known! Truly, through the pain I stand here KNOWING God used that HURT... He USED that pain, and I am growing! I am more aware of joy, of love, of generosity... I am more aware of pain in others, and that tightening feeling in my own chest. Pain. I hate it, and at the same time I know that God uses it. I want to yell bring it on, but I won't be that bold today!
If you ask me about Jesus presently... I will tell you I feel like the woman weeping at Jesus' feet, but I can say that because of what I have endured WITH Jesus! I weep because through grace God continues to give! He offers me, really all of us, SO much of Him. Through pain IS freedom, triumph, and utter goodness!!! I weep because I have see the BEAUTY of Jesus in ways I know can ONLY be Our God!!!!!
2. Yes and No... Yes, I desperately want to be different. No I am not there yet, but God alone! God alone, and knowing myself a little more! I want to say YES to Grace and NO to Self Hatred. I want to say YES to Hope and NO to Doubt. Yes to LOVE! Yes to JOY! YES to being my TRUE Self and NO to my False Self. Yes to taking more time, more walks, more days of solitude. No to expectations, displaced anger, and deep fear. At the beginning of the day I desperately want to keep saying Yes to Jesus, and No to everything that is not of Him, from Him, for Him! I have learned this is hard, but with practice my old demons stay OLD. Thank you Jesus that you make ALL things new! I have learned to keep saying Yes!!!
3. God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle. He does! Because He wants us near to Him. Next to Him. Desperate for Him! I don't like when people tell me that God won't give me more than I can handle because He DOES! It happens friends. Way more than I think I can handle. BUT He asks us to TRUST Him, to walk with HIM, and to KNOW Him MORE! I don't know about YOU, but this happens for me when God gives me more! More than I understand, know, comprehend in my brain! More than I think I am capable of, or even can handle! In good and bad... this always leads me to back to my God! In some ways I want more than I can handle because it is in those moments I am desperate to see Jesus!
4. I Only Truly Want Jesus! I mean I do hope and want a lot of other things, BUT truest desire is for the Lord! My heart rests with Him! I learned this year that the Biblical character I identify with the most is John the Baptist. I myself have been deeply wrestling lately with calling, and my connection to people. Based on readings about John the Baptist, and the things I have read about his life, he was a "preparer." John's life call and chore was to prepare people for the coming Messiah. He spent a lot of time with crowds and then a great deal of time alone. At the very same time people were drawn to him. I am called to tell people about Jesus, love them, and listen carefully, but oftentimes desire to be by myself and with the Lord. Maybe it is safer there, or less complicated (I'm still trying to sort that out). I cling to my God. Reach for Him in a new way this year. I wrote a paper last year and said this, "John the Baptist lived Simply, and he lived with a strong call. I am trying to wrestle with this, and understand why God is shaping me in this way. I am convinced it is Him alone, but that does not make the day to day any easier I have found for me yet!" I want to live simply, to LOVE Big, and to be more and more of His. That is what I want. It is a balance I am navigating every single day. I can see His hands and feet all over my life, and in so many ways I can't wait to be with our God!!! To stand with Him. I can't wait to meet my defender, protector, Savior face to face! And yes, I will say, "What the Heck!" And He will smile knowing I have waited to whisper that!
I am walking into 2015 more me than I have ever been, but it was because during 2014 God did a mighty work in my heart and in my life. I don't think anything could be more beautiful to start this New Year! Walking in desperate pursuit of my God!!!
And so to you dear friends... before we say good bye to 2014 will you whisper to God, "What the Heck?!" Will you be honest with God about where you have been, and where you need Him to show up! Will you Yell to Him in authenticity about what is TOO much and what Yes you need to make today!
See the beauty of what I have learned this year is that God really does want to transform our lives, but it takes precious moments of time for our God to mold us. It takes our Yes, our desire to know Him, a bit more trust, and a few moments of trial.
Here's to continuing the journey in 2015... Cheers!