Dorothy was right…there is no place like home. We left for Arkansas on Christmas Day, visiting my parents and celebrating Christmas in Silver Dollar City and didn’t return home until New Year’s Eve. I actually want to unpack my suitcases, restock my kitchen and vacuum up the dirt tracked in on my floors. I’m even ready to think about school starting back up and I’m soooo thankful to sleep in my bed, with all my pillows next to my husband!
Ringing in the New Year causes me to be nostalgic. (OK, really anything can cause me to be nostalgic, but especially when the calendar turns January 1st.) I think back to highlights and unfortunately low lights of 2016 and recall the lessons God taught me through them. Then I try to peer through the misty windows towards what’s ahead in 2017. I know God doesn’t see time like I do, so I try to align myself to His timetable.
I pray about every aspect of my life – my family, our business, school, my personal walk with the Lord, my writing and I ask God to give me a vision, a word, verse or theme, something to focus on in the coming months.
I pray for God to reveal to me the elements of my life that are hidden – those things I can’t see with my naked eye. I pray for Him to illuminate the areas of my life that I need to focus or work on. The secret places in my heart I need to surrender to Him, the areas in my marriage that I need to pay attention to or address. I ask for eyes to see any breeding ground for Satan’s traps or areas of potential compromise or sin.
Then I pray the same for my children – that I would see things unseen. Motives, tendencies and that ultimately truth would reign in my heart and in my house. No matter how ugly it is, I pray for truth.
So this was my conversation with the Lord as I drove home from Arkansas on Saturday.
It feels like a year in and of itself.
Saturday I said goodbye to my beloved Papa, or rather See You in a Little While. I knelt by his bedside as angels came and took him HOME.
On my drive home I processed all that happened. I worshiped. I cried. I see more clearly the value of faith and hope. Two words I wrote about over the last two years. I heard the song Forever by Kari Jobe, one I’ve heard a lot and honestly usually skip for that reason. But Saturday I left in on and let the words ring out LOUD in my car.
Something about her voice crying, “O death, where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!” brought tears streaming down my face and me fighting to maintain control of my car. At the phrase “rendered you defeated” I outstretched both hands like an umpire declaring a runner safe. Then I joined Kari in proclaiming:
Forever He is glorified.
Forever He is lifted High.
Forever He is risen.
He is alive!
He is alive!
It hit me: I can let Papa go because my Savior is alive and strong enough to save. If Jesus wasn’t who He said He was, if He didn’t conquer death, if He didn’t tear the temple curtain in two, granting me access to intimacy with God, I don’t think I could go on living without Papa here. I don’t think I could let him go. But again, I sang with Kari:
We sing Hallelujah
We sing Hallelujah
The Lamb has Overcome!
After all this, the word that keeps popping in my head for 2017 is a new thing. After Kenya in 2015, remodels, my Papa collapsing in my house and kids going to public school, returning to homeschooling and saying goodbye for now, God is going to do a new thing.
A new thing. A way in the desert. Streams in the wasteland. God loves doing things like this because He alone receives the glory. Man can’t make dry bones come alive; only God can. And He loves to demonstrate His power in our lives.
May He do that in mine. May I allow Him to do a new thing in me this year. May He make a roadway in my dry, arid places and streams of His living water in my parched soul and may He receive all the glory and honor and praise!
Here’s to new things in 2017!