Nothing like ringing in the New Year with all of us sick! Sickness definitely gives you time to reflect over your last year for sure.
As I looked back over 2016, I felt a little disappointed! I thought back to all that had happened in our life and I realized it was not a “momentous/big” year for us in any way. 2016 was actually a very quiet year. For those who know me, I am a mover and a shaker. For someone who has a lot of passion and energy, “a quiet year” is not normal for me! And then it hit me to look in the one place that allows me to keep putting one foot in front of the other DAILY: my journal.
I grabbed my journal to see if it could tell me something other than disappointment and what I read shocked me: I wanted to go deeper for 2016. Deeper so I could grow, mature, inspire, and act. I didn’t even remember that this is what I had wanted! In that very minute, I was so grateful that I wrote it down (I HIGHLY encourage you to journal because I would have had no idea what my thoughts were last year!).
When I saw what I had written, I realized 2016 truly had been a year of rest, observing, making time for the Lord and being still. I was able to pour into our family and kids. We are at a new phase in life as we enter into the second decade of our parenting and it’s been an emotional roller coaster, being able to pour into both of them in a way I haven’t done before. I sat back in the reflection of 2016 with an unexpected joy at, once again, seeing God’s faithfulness in my life.
2017 has now happened. I was very emotional this weekend (through my sickness). I packed up the very last toy we’ve had in the house and cried my way through it. All those stupid Imaginext men and houses we’ve been toting around for the last 11 years have been the death of me!!! And now they are done. Our kids are becoming teens and have new interests. They were packed and sealed and the game room is void of toys and filled with “adult” things put in their place.
We are at a new phase. I found myself this 2017 sitting here confused, a bit “stuck”, and having no vision. For the first time, I am looking into a new year with total darkness. I have no idea which way the avenues in my life will go, I have no clarity on anything, and an unsettledness that I can’t shake off. As I sat and thought about it, what an interesting thing that 2016 was a year for God to show me who He is, to grow me deeper in His love, a time for me to see His heart and to just abide. Is it any wonder that 2017 would be a year of total darkness? May it be that He took me through this year of rest in order for me to trust His leading, His path, His way, for something on the horizon that’s impossible to see?
I was doing a Bible study and came across this verse.
Genesis 2:5-6 “For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”
God rested on the 7th day.
I was stopped dead in my tracks as I realized I had never really heard this verse before. It says there was never any rain on the Earth.
But how was the Garden of Eden a “garden” without rain?! How did food grow without there being rain?
Here in the South, all it DOES is rain!! I know all the rain it takes to have everything be so lush here!
Rain has always been a part of ALL of our lives.
But at this point in Genesis, it hadn’t rained. It didn’t need to rain because God provided all that was needed for everything in all scenarios. It says, “a mist went up from the earth and watered it all”! After God made Adam and Eve, they truly experienced paradise with nothing but enjoyable pleasure! They had no insecurities, no work that needed to be done to produce their own food, no worry about rain and if it would grow the food they needed in order to survive, no comparisons to others, no fear of any kind of predator, etc!
Day Seven: pure contentment, provision, peace and happiness.
Later on in Genesis chapter 3, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered the world. God told Adam that he would now need to work in order to provide the food for his family, among other things. Eve would now experience pain in having to do the work on her own in order to bring a child into the world. Nothing was going to be handed to them anymore. When I look back at the peace and provision provided at Day Seven versus looking at the chaos that entered the scene after eating the fruit (the fear of pain and not knowing what that would feel like, the fear of the unknown, the fear of having to be the one to till the land and provide the very thing that would sustain your life), I was left speechless.
What would it be like to have everything given to you, without any of the work? What would it be like to not have one worry or fear that whatever it is you needed, it would be provided? What would it be like to know that you didn’t have to compare yourself to anyone, in any form? And all of this was simply out of the fact that it’s because you were loved?
Did 2016 happen to leave me with only one thing left for 2017- to trust? To step in with zero vision, knowing His plans are for me? To completely walk by faith with no sight-trusting that He will do the work for us, that He will provide the mist up from the ground to water what’s needed in order to produce what He wants?!
Today the door is open and as I stand in the doorframe, with my back to 2016, all around in front of me and on the sides is total darkness. But it’s not a darkness that represents fear of any kind. It’s a darkness that says “I Am Ready”. I am rested, full, peaceful, and open. It’s funny that my word for 2016 was “teach”. I had no idea that the “teaching” would be Him teaching me who He is! He has given me this field of 2016 to soak up, to go deeper, and to abide, in order to be READY.
Are you tired of all the chaos and the running?
Are you tired of being pulled in a thousand directions?
Are you finding that this is what’s missing from your life, a year of being poured into?!
Are you in desperate need of a year of rest?
Or are you like me and feel that darkness is upon you and the clarity isn’t there to predict the upcoming year?
Are you having a hard time trusting the darkness, not knowing what is in the shadows?
Are you ready to take on 2017 with a clear mind, heart, and soul….or do you need to start with the rest first?
We only have one life. Each day is fleeting. Polly Pockets and Imaginext toys, doll babies and Legos, swingsets and babysitters have all been replaced by sports and music practices, trips to the mall, texting with friends and family, along with having to set an alarm in my own phone to remind myself to stuff the kids stockings before they wake up at 11am on Christmas morning!
Day Seven. When there was no worry for anything or anyone, fear was unknown, whatever was needed was provided, and rest was offered through peace and provision. All from the heart of a loving God who wanted to give, simply from unconditional love. A God who wants nothing more but to provide all of that and more to each of us in this fallen world, one who will trust Him as we step into the doorframe of total darkness, closing the door behind us, while softly hearing the quiet click.
2017? I am READY for you.
2 Corinthians 5:7
“For we walk by faith and not by sight…..”