A Look Back and Forward for 2016

Last year I wrote on New Year’s Eve, my anticipation of what was to come for 2015.  Today on New Year’s Day 2016, I take a look back as well as a look forward. I wrote in a journal last year “the rewards will come through obedience and waiting.”  I got a real taste of how I can do NOTHING without God.  My efforts did not produce a website, my efforts did not allow me to learn graphics software in order to produce my calendars, my efforts did not bring me a companion. my efforts did not bring me a career that supported and inspired me.  In years past I would have tried harder.  Now I know I should try less and simply abide more in God.  And so I gave up every pursuit and just steeped in God’s love.

his place, his time, his methods

In His place, in His time, with His methods, I was given the ability and the time to create the website.  I started two years before and everything I touched failed.  When it was His time, I was actually able to do all of it myself.  It was very difficult, but each day I made progress and was able to create virtually all aspects of what He wanted me to achieve.

When I found a commercial printer to produce my calendars, I did not have the ability to design with the graphics software the printer required.  One day I was actually able to talk to a designer and she said she would help me.  We planned a session which was a dismal failure.  I wrote and thanked her for making the effort and I submitted a stunning design I had created in power point and lamented over being able to see what I wanted to create but not being able to put it in the right software.  God blessed me through her when she said she could make this work.

exile in Babylon

I am still in exile in Babylon.  God won’t let me out quite yet, but He allows me to shine light and impact lives even in my prison cell.  God allowed bitter disappointments.  Or maybe He kept me from making any bigger mistakes. Choosing your focus gives such freedom for a healthy state of mind.

better to give than receive

He allowed me to give more than receive and even get stomped on in the process, but when He orchestrated an escape alone to the mountains (when I had planned company,) He assured me I was right where He wanted me.  In the stillness of being alone, He conveyed these words through a devotional:

“Don’t linger in the lowlands afraid to climb the mountain.  When God puts you in great difficulty it is the platform God uses to display his power and grace…with a lesson you will never forget.  Trust where you cannot understand.  Present yourself up on the mountain-no one is to come with you.  Heb 6:10 God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people.  God knows your efforts of love and ministry.  Let God’s love for you and his intimate knowledge of your service for him bolster you as you face disappointment and rejection here on earth.”

love helps, love hurts

Then the focus became Love.  I saw in epic proportions the love of the body of Christ.  My own church,  some people who barely knew me, and perfect strangers came to my rescue during the great flood of my basement.

I loved on who ever God sent my way.  There were some miraculous surprises with what God did with so little.  It was a year of patiently serving while waiting for opportunity to really listen to another person without judgement.  Occasionally there was an opportunity to share truth.  Once in a while what I shared impacted a life in a “kingdom” sort of way and this confirmed my purpose.  Without exception, every single person I encountered no matter their decision for Christ, wanted to be listened to and cared for with love and without judgement.

the snake that he is

I angered the devil and he came for me.  Sly like a fox, he slithered in like the snake he is.  Exploiting all my vulnerabilities, he slipped in so easily.  My mighty warriors were quick to react and went to war for me.  God’s mercy and grace allowed me walk away from the seduction of Satan I never saw coming.  In the name of Jesus you can always send the devil fleeing.  You just need to learn to recognize when it is him.

enough tears to fill the basement

Salvation for my friends and loved ones was paramount this year.  I have cried almost enough tears to refill my basement.  My aching heart is broken over knowing the depth of friendship and relationship that Jesus offers to every single person who asks and seeing so few who are willing even to inquire.

an ordinary extra = extraordinary

I anticipate more of the same for 2016.  I believe I am right where God wants me…conveying His presence through the common elements of an ordinary life.  For me this includes touching individuals from every walk of life through hospitality, biblical teaching (if only anyone was willing to listen), encouragement and joyful good humor.  If this sounds a bit familiar, I am inspired by the words of Oswald and Biddy Chambers.  Loving and serving others is the natural overflow which pours out from a life filled with Christ’s love and devotion.

Happy New Year 2016…can’t wait to see where the road will lead.

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