You crown the year with your generosity, richness seeps from your tracks,
the pastures of the desert grow moist, the hillsides are wrapped in joy,
the meadows are covered with flocks, the valleys clothed with wheat; they shout and sing for joy. (Ps 65:11-13 NJB)
At the end of 2013 I noted that the predominant theme of that year had been the fundamental relational shift into becoming a disciple (learner/apprentice) of Jesus. As I looked into 2014 I felt led toward specific practices of surrender and trust as I sought to grow in my discipleship. There were three prayers that were fundamental in guiding me in this (prayer 1, prayer 2, and prayer 3, respectively). These have helped me greatly root my mind, heart, soul and body in the rich pastures of the Kingdom of God.
Looking back over 2014, by God’s goodness I think I have grown in surrender and trust! The main way I have noticed growth has been indirect. As I sought to practice the presence of God in intentional trust, I’ve experienced less anxiety, fear and anger as I’ve walked through the circumstances of the year. Sometimes I’ve even experienced surprising amounts of joy and peace!
Some circumstantial highlights of 2014:
I walked around 1000 miles in 2014 in my morning exercise routine (3.2 miles a day 6-7 days a week) and have been able to maintain my ideal weight.
I got my first tattoo (celtic cross on my right shoulder for my 44th birthday), a symbolic event for me.
Celebrated 20 years of marriage and 25 years following Jesus!
Three trips out of state (special anniversary trip, trips to Oregon and British Columbia)
I had an unexpected “inguinal double-hernia repair” surgery, which was fun.
We unexpectedly replaced one of our vehicles with a newer car.
**these events are not special in themselves, but represent events and circumstances where for the first time I tried practicing the presence of God in them, as opposed to just going through them my “normal” way - without God and without hope in the world.
The biggest surprise to me is how responsive God has been. Corresponding to my growing trust, God has been more communicative with me, responding in provision and abundance in relational, financial and emotional ways. This excites me about the future and reminds me of a phrase the Lord gave me early in the year - who knows what trust can do?
This renewed confidence in God’s care has provided freedom for me to start dreaming again about the future. Anyone who knows my story knows this is a huge deal! I haven’t dreamed about the future since coming to Louisville in 2001! Dreaming about the future requires confidence that I will be cared for and that there is a unique place in God’s world for my unique gifts and talents.
In the spring of 2014 I began writing down a “job description,” a vision of what I would like to do with the rest of my life if I could. I’m not quite ready to share the details here yet, but I have been slowly letting close friends and family in on it as a matter of conversation and prayer. I am being increasingly urged (inwardly and outwardly) to take the dream to the next level and begin pursuing it in 2015. The big idea of it is, I want to help people follow Jesus full time.
Looking forward to 2015, I am moving forward with my job description on the assumption that it is a dream planted by God, so I can begin to look for possible plots of ground where it can take root and grow. I think 2015 will be a year of vocation, or a year of redeemed desire.