Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are feeling refreshed and ready for 2017.
To be honest, this Christmas was not my favorite. I had a tonsillectomy the Thursday before Christmas and literally could not get out of bed for more than 20 minutes at a time until this Friday. No Christmas Eve dinner with my family, no Christmas Eve service at my church. It has been a rather emotionally draining two weeks.
A few months ago, my family decided that instead of exchanging gifts this Christmas, we would rent a house together for a long weekend. So my parents, my two sisters and their husbands and my two nieces all set out for New Hampshire on Friday, while Ricky and I hoped and prayed one more day of rest would allow for us to make it up on Saturday. Thankfully, it did and we spent Saturday- Monday with my family. It was an absolutely beautiful house and pristine location; the stuff “White Christmas” dreams are made of (see picture). And while I had a wonderful time, I spent much of the time fighting an internal battle. I’m not sure exactly what the battle was, but it was fierce and today has felt even worse.
My tonsillectomy begot a period of forced isolation, which in turn begot a strong desire to withdraw from the world. Now for many of you, if not most, forced isolation would result in a strong desire to shake off your bedclothes and see anyone and everyone you know. And initially, I did feel this way (I think if you looked up “stir crazy” in the dictionary, you would find a picture of me day 6 post op). But my depression often makes change hard for me. So for 8 days, I was being trained in isolation and breaking free of this has not been easy. In addition, my “m.o.” is to internalize, be skeptical and hold myself at a distance for fear of being misunderstood. This is painful for me and I know it has been hurtful to the people I love. But that is where I’ve found myself lately and other than praying about it and forcing myself to break out of this self imposed prison, there doesn’t seem to be an immediate remedy.
As I’ve been pondering the new year and what it might hold for me, I’ve felt large question marks looming over my head. I’ve felt restless, defeated and sad. I decided this was not a year to make a resolution (has anyone successfully stuck to one anyway?), but I wondered if I should instead ask the Lord for a word for my year. I’ve heard of other people doing that and I felt this was perhaps a better way to focus myself for the year. But I haven’t felt a resounding ‘yes’ in my spirit over any word. I did have one word come to mind, but it felt like a very passive word and … Wow. Talk about real moments. Okay, just as I was writing how to explain why that word was not going to work, I felt clearly a statement for my year. Thank you, God, for showing up even when I feel at my lowest. Wow. Okay, so I now have a statement for my year. I encourage you to pray about a word or phrase for your year. What is it that God wants you to focus on? Resolutions are often very temporary and focused on earthly things- which is fine. But seeking the Lord for what He wants for you in 2017 may encourage you even more. Perhaps I will share with you what God gave me in a later post, but first I want to pray over it and let it be sealed upon my heart.
In addition to pondering what lies ahead, I have been reminded of something that was spoken over me this past year. Pastor Charlie Sweet was a guest speaker at our church one Sunday in January, but I was teaching Legacy Kids that day. Suddenly, someone burst into my room and said “Your husband is being prophesied over. I’ll take over for you, go be in church!” I walked in, feeling like life was a blur. I stood next to Ricky and we joined hands. Pastor Charlie began to speak things over my husband and then he spoke things over us as a couple and finally he spoke things over me as an individual. Unfortunately, the prophecy was not taped, so I cannot recall all of it. But some of it stuck with me in a very strong way. He told me,”You are an odd duck. You are not like your sisters; you were cut from a different cloth.” Might seem harsh, but to me, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted- God not only saw me, but He made me different for a reason- I wasn’t a mistake. Pastor Charlie continued, saying that I needed to stop comparing my gifts to the gifts I see in others. That I had great compassion and that I shouldn’t be surprised to find women older than me or in different stages of life than me seeking me out for counsel.
Now, some of this I have embraced but I don’t feel I have fully stepped into this freedom that God was calling me to- “Be you. Live boldly. Stop looking around at what you don’t have and start using the unique abilities you do have.” This year, I want to do that. God has called me to freedom. To happiness. To fullness of life. He has called you to the same. I humbly ask that you would pray for me as I fight for what God has declared over my life. I promise to do the same for you.