The Closing of one year and the Opening of Another

Two years ago. about this time, I was beginning to consider another year with One Word. That word that shapes one’s perspective for the year. I started doing this about 5-6 years ago.

It seemed like a good idea at the time… I picked out a word that I was comfortable with and knew I had to work on its presence in my life for a year. You know, anyone can do that for a year…

That was when “I” picked out the word.

Two years ago, God took that task on for me. He very strongly impressed on me that surrender was to be my One Word.  And, it was.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and that word and how it’s supposed to work in my life since then. And I’ve discovered that surrender, no matter which way you look at it, is what He desires from us all. Not just in the big things. But in all things.

That’s a hard place to be. Surrender. I’m definitely not comfortable with that word or how it fits into my life. But as I’ve lived the past two years with this word, it has popped up in conversations, in something I’ve read,  as something I’ve heard on the radio or tv and around almost every corner of my life. It is ever present in my thoughts.

Hear me: I don’t want to surrender. To wave a white flag. To give up. Because to give up, wave the white flag and to admit to God or the world that I just don’t have it anymore is admitting I never did “have it”. That’s hard for me to do willingly.

Sometimes the horse has to get mighty thirsty before it’s willing to take a drink from strange waters. Well, this horse anyway.

God can do some pretty amazing things when we let Him; when we admit that we aren’t in control of the situation, our lives, our families’ lives, our work life. Those amazing things look different in every life.

Whatever that is to you, I’d like to ask you to stop and take a look at life and consider whether surrender might be something that He is asking of you.

I don’t have any over the top stories other than the way He keeps bringing it up in my life. But that’s enough for me. No shockers here, no sudden winds of change. Just me being obedient in surrender. Day by day.

Some days are difficult. My human nature is to grab hold of something  and to not let go. {confessions of a packrat}. But here I am, still learning Who He is and who I am and what He wants me to let go of so that He can accomplish His purpose in my life.

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Any thoughts on One Word? Any stories? I’d love to hear yours!

How Surrender is Clearly Revealed in a Murky Pool

Yesterday, I went out to the pool to do the usual maintenance and was stopped in my tracks. I walked along the edge of the pool, staring into a turquoise, murky mess with skimmers clogged with leaves. It’s summer. What in the world?

I could not see the bottom of the pool. It had rained the day before with two heavy downpours accompanied by strong winds. I was seeing the results. The chemicals in the pool hadn’t been able to compensate for the detritus that the rain had brought. I had my work cut out for me.

On another front, I had been dealing with a situation that was complex and needed a quick resolution if a large, unexpected expense was to be avoided.  In my eagerness to restore equilibrium I could only see what was apparent to anyone. There needed to be a change and quickly. I could only see one resolution. The one of my own making.

I learned two things {again} from those examples given to me yesterday.

            1. There are times I have to address an issue immediately when the solution is obvious.

            2. There are times when I have to sit, be still, turn it over and let the Lord handle it.

He gives us a brain, He gives us ability, and He gives us the proper tools.  It’s what we do with these that can make all the difference.

In the first instance I took the most likely action that would restore the pool to its usual state of sparkling blue clarity; trusting that the mixture of the chemical treatment and physically addressing the removal of leaves, etc. would quickly resolve the murk.

On the second issue, I spent the entire day turning possibilities over and over in my head. I tried to reach the likeliest outcomes from every angle I could perceive and the damage control that would be required to minimize the expense that would be incurred in each instance. My minimalist conversation with the Lord was one-sided and rather short.

“Lord, how in the world can You provide something so good and take away a portion of that provision at the same time?”

I think you can see where I’m going with this. It goes back to the one word that keeps staring back at me when I look at my blog. Surrender.

The murky pool was the object lesson. The one thing was showing me what I needed for the other. There are times when we cannot see clearly; the whole picture is murky and complex. On the surface, we see a little, but the deeper we go the more difficult it becomes. The solution becomes more elusive. 

“The Worst Case Scenario” kept my thoughts occupied. Instead of turning to God and laying out my case to Him and trusting Him for the best solution I kept wanting to do something. I didn’t want to wait. I wanted it wrapped up and tied in a bow solved.

What strength have I left, that I should wait and hope? And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient? Job 6:11

Then He did something that brought my consuming thoughts to an abrupt halt by resolving the issue that was really out of my hands from the beginning. 

This morning, I am fully amazed, not at His provision, but at my dullness and density. Like looking at the murky water and not seeing the bottom, I could not see the solution, but He could.

It was His action that was needed to take care of the problem-not my dithering about. I was not able to change one thing about that situation. His grand resolution showed me that my self-reliance interferes with my ability to surrender.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Again.

That One Word

That. ONE. Word.

You know the one, that word I chose for myself for this year. Yes, that’s it over on the right staring you in the face as you read this.  When I first became aware of the “One Word” for the year it seemed so much more practical than a whole list of resolutions that most of us write down on January 1 and promptly forget by February 1. 

Here’s what I’ve discovered about this one word:

  • The very nature of only one word makes it much more intense and soul-searching than a list- ho-hum
  • There’s a sense of accountability that resides in one word that holds much more weight than a list
  • And, for me, by the definition of my one word there is increased responsibility over, say- the word “rest” for example (I’m good at rest. Perseverance? Not so much.)

 

    I’ve lived with this word for 4 months now. I’ve persevered through illness and allergies and a surgical procedure and allergy testing and new meds and two courses of steroids. I can breathe better and am on immunotherapy for the kazillion allergies I have.

However, the one side effect that I get as an afterthought from the steroids- a good-bye kiss if you will- is hair loss, it’s not as bad as it has been in the past, but it’s still leaving my head by the 100s every time I shampoo, comb, brush and dry my hair which doesn’t leave much time for it not to fall out. God gave me fast growing hair and has numbered them all so I’m not going to grieve over the departure of some of them. 

As for the surgical procedure, I was awake, only partially numbed and trust me if I hadn’t trusted the doc, and my Lord to get me through it I would not have sat in that chair at all. But I did and my sinuses feel much better now, thank you very much. In this situation pain=gain.

I totally and completely failed in the perseverance of the 40 days of Water for Blood: Water Mission. I started out gangbusters and managed 2 weeks with no problems, then the allergies and illness set in again and I simply had to have hot tea for my throat. Or so I thought. I confessed to my daughter and she said I could have had hot water with lemon and honey – well, duh. Not going to confess to her again. Anyway it went downhill from there and I managed to be an almost- there were days where I had only water- complete failure in that endeavor. Now I’ve had to eat my words I wrote in the first blog about the 40 days of water… sigh.

So, now I press on looking forward to the next 8 months of what this dear little word will bring. PERSEVERE. Will I be able to persevere long enough to get the front hall painted? Will my plants survive the summer? Will I be able to maintain a steady diet of scripture once BSF is over for the summer?

Stay tuned, for future developments on the persevere front… (imagine sheepish smile here) 

Still learning what this verse means to me this year:

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36