Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

This trip has been a gift.

A true gift to my spirit.
Taken By A Little Person (unbeknownst to me)

Sleeping in, walks around the lake, 
drinking coffee looking at an amazing view, 
lots of playing games and exploring nature.  
A perfect family time shared with a family we adore.

We spent last New Years week with them as well.  
The husband is a pastor and they have an awesome tradition of 
ringing in the new year with communion, praise for the year that was 
and prayers for the year to come.  
It's so different from the celebrations you see televised.  
But a tradition I have now come to love.

Like so many of you, I have been evaluating this last year. 
Looking at the beauty around me and sense of peace I have today, 
I praise the Lord for doing an amazing work in my life this last year.  
I faced some of the hardest trials I've ever known.  
And through them all I have seen His hand at work.  
In some circumstances I felt a sense of hopelessness.  
To see where He has brought me today, 
He truly has turned beauty for ashes.  
And I praise Him for the way He has held me up 
and carried me through some very dark days.

"he will give beauty for ashes, 
joy instead of mourning, 
praise instead of despair.  
For the LORD has planted them 
like strong and graceful oaks 
for his own glory."  
Isaiah 61:3 NLT

I am so thankful for all kinds of healing that has taken place in my life 
and I'm so thankful that a prayer I lifted up last new years eve 
actually came to fruition.  
On that night I prayed to be able to pursue the dream 
of doing scripture art.  
I'm so thankful it actually happened.

I have been praying for a couple of things through the last few days.

I have wanted to join in two New Year's traditions.
One is to choose a word to represent the year 
as Alece is doing at grit and glory.  
A word that represents something you want to work on, 
something God is working on in you.

I had been praying for the Lord to bring me the right word.  
I had been thinking about it, and many ideas came to mind.  
But the one that whispered to me most prominently 
and was reconfirmed this morning is PRESENT.

It represents a lot to me.  
It represents paying attention to what is, not what isn't.  
Do you know what I mean?  
I have had a tendency to let things from the past ruin the present.  
It can spiral my mind and my spirit downward without warning 
and ruin the joy of today.  
So I'm committing this year to being PRESENT in the now, 
to not think about what happened yesterday or what is to come.

I also want to be 100% present with my kids, with my family, 
with friends, with people the Lord puts in my path.  
In being 100% present I want to think of all the reasons to be filled with joy, 
to be filled with praise in the now.  
Because there are so many that can easily be taken for granted.

I want to be present in the moment and I want to see today as the gift it is.

And the other New Year's Resolution I have is to join Beth Moore 
in memorizing 24 scriptures this year.  
Choosing the scriptures on the 1st and the 15th each month 
and committing to memorizing them, really memorizing them.  
I have a tendency to memorize for awhile, and then it fades.  
Then I have the gist of the scripture, but not the whole thing.  
I don't like that.  I want to change that.

Again, I had been praying about which scripture to start the new year.  
This one brought tears to my eyes and that's how I knew it was the one 
the Lord wanted me to focus on.  
It goes hand in hand with my word PRESENT.  
It's about taking my thoughts captive to Christ 
and pressing forward toward the goal.  
Both of those are great, but this one in the same vein, 
jumped out and grabbed me.

"Remember not the former things, 
nor consider the things of old.  
Behold, I am doing a new thing; 
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  
I will make a way in the wilderness 
and rivers in the desert." 
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

I will focus this year on the PRESENT and the blessings in my life.  
I will praise Him for always going before me, laying out a path, 
and strengthening me with His rivers of living water.  
I will praise Him for the new things He is doing, that I see springing forth.  

I love how the New Living Translation puts verse 18.  

"But forget all that - 
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  
For I am about to do a brand-new thing.  
See I have already begun!"

How awesome is that?  It feels like God is talking right to you.  
I have seen the brand new thing He has begun.  
And I look forward to seeing what He has planned for this year.    

But the reason I chose the ESV to memorize is the line about rivers.  
For some reason it's what got me.  
The abundance of a river provided in a desert 
is what brought tears to my eyes.  

His river rescued me this year.  
Oh how much he pursues us and wants to bless us abundantly 
no matter where we are.    
He wants most of all for us to draw near to Him.  
And I want to hold onto that.   

Happy 2011 Everyone!  


Melissa said...

hello sweet precious sister! this was such a neat read. it has God's peace all over it! i can only imagine how beautiful your new year was. how beautiful it looks there! your goal to be present is so neat. i might have to steal it from time to time. haha! i had a word from last year and God consistently reminded me about it throughout the year and that scripture in Isaiah was one of the first he showed me. brought a lot of healing and new life. God knows what we need! i know we missed each other over the break, but hope to catch up soon!!!

p.s. love that pic of you on the couch, too!

Melanie said...

I love this!!! I need to remember to be 'Present' in all of my interactions so the person I am with knows that they are valuable to me... instead of me multi-tasking and giving them only partial attention and love.

I appreciated this post! Blessings to you in the new year!
Melanie :)

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