I awakened to a muted dawn on this New Year’s Day. It rained all night while the winds caused this big house to creak and moan. We have had a crazy December warm spell, but because of the front coming through, I expected it to be cool, so I donned sweats and a sweatshirt to go out back and feed the animals.
Imagine my surprise when the warm winds greeted me, a balmy 70 degrees making New Year’s Day feel like spring!
The land is obviously confused. The grass has started growing again. Irises broke through a couple of weeks ago and today I discovered Hyacinths emerging, along with daffodils. I even discovered a black-eyed susan IN BLOOM.
Next week Old Man Winter is projected to arrive so these precious beauties are doomed.
But with the new year is coming a change in weather as well as an opportunity to press in and walk more deeply with God..
2021 was a year that honestly felt like a continuation of 2020. One hardship after another washed over our world and too many people that I love. I finally had to turn off the news and stop reading articles that made my heart race. I decided that we were never intended to carry the weight of the entire world, even though modern technology simply overwhelms us with it. I have enough to worry about right here under my roof, in my church, and in my community. I can’t handle it all.
The Lord called me to step out onto the front lines this year and I have taken on the mantle of the women’s ministry at my church. It has been the scariest and most wonderful decision, one that has filled my heart with love for the women of my church and passion for the vision God has given me for us. He has blessed me with a ministry team of five amazing, Jesus-loving servants who are quickly becoming cherished friends. All this to say, the women, this ministry, and my family deserve my full attention. I can’t control what happens across the world, but I can love the circle of influence He has given me and, in order to do that well, I have to focus.
I stepped away from social media during the last couple of weeks of 2021, which was a blessed break for my spirit. I am sure I missed many birthdays and anniversaries. I know messages went unread. But I learned the Kindle app on my phone is a much better way to spend a few minutes waiting for a child to come out of practice or dance class. I finished reading the Bible for the third time. I am diving into books…good books, rich books, books that bring rest to my soul and feed my mind with the things of the Kingdom. Maybe I’ll even get my my laundry room organized…again.
I also watched the entire Marvel movie canon in timeline order with my kids. That was a good use of many hours that has created such a fun atmosphere and great fodder for impassioned conversations that I finally understand and can engage in! (In other words, I earned some solid “Cool Mom” points that I will cherish.)
So, here we are in 2022. As the final days of 2021 counted down, I began to pray for the Lord to give me His word for me in the new year. It came very clearly after just a couple of days, and I thought there was no way that THIS was the word. I had to be hearing God wrong. He knows how hard these past two years have been. He knows what I have walked through personally over the past decade, as well as the fear and anxiety that has plagued me as a result. How is this the word He is giving me?
I sat down with the Lord and was just honest with Him. I told Him I don’t think I have the faith to write this word down. Frankly, I’m having a hard time believing it. What if it is just my mind coming up with it? What if I’m not actually hearing from Him at all? What if I say yes, I’ll claim this word and then all hell breaks loose and it makes me doubt I know how to hear His voice at all or, even worse, makes me doubt HIM and his love for me?
I prayed again for the word, for assurance, for confirmation, and for faith.
And again it came. Clearly. Letter by letter.
My word for 2022 is…JOY.
Joy. Even typing it makes me tremble.
Friends, He is promising Joy.
So, I’m grabbing onto it with white knuckles. I’m trusting Him for the faith to walk in this Joy, to expect it. I know there are good things coming this year, some of which I will share later. I have known that for a while, but to be told that the entire year will be marked by joy? Well, that was just a hard one to believe!
As I reenter (cautiously and with solid boundaries) the social media world I will keep this promise of Joy before me. I pray the Lord will use me and this little blog to bring joy to your days, to give you a place to come and rest from the bad news. May Arundelle Green be a haven for you, my dear reader, and may we have the faith to believe the promises of our good, good Father together.
Happy New Year!