“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to hard you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
As I reflect on 2015–I’m overwhelmed again. With thanksgiving. Because–again it was hard. A GOOD HARD. It was hard because once again–as believers–as we do every year–Richard and I as a couple and as a family we wrestled with our flesh. Yet we listened and followed Jesus.
I’m not going to lie…I struggled wanting some “good” but selfish things. I can argue like no man’s business how we deserve them, need them…how having them would strengthen our bond as a family–how God wants us to have good things and we should live richly in His bountiful blessing. But again this year…He led us away from some things that (you my sweet friend) might laugh at me for struggling with wanting or wanting to justify. Only–having some of these things or choosing them instead…would have been saying no to some pretty crazy things Jesus WAS calling us to.
In 2015–I wanted to go to Disney with the kids. We went once 2 years ago. But this year…again…we didn’t. I wanted to go on a family vacation. Even just a quick weekend to the beach. But it wasn’t in the cards–because saying yes to that would have meant saying no to some other things. I wanted to get away with Richard–to just breath. Some times at night I would get on Groupon just to see if that was a steal of a deal getaway that we could go on the fly on. But none of these wants were in the cards for us this year. And–I am thankful. (Please hear me there is absolutely no judgement at all for anyone doing any of these things…because golly–I was DYING to say yes to these…and there have been times in the past where Jesus made a way and DID lead us to do these things to connect us as a couple or as a family! They are GOOD things!! But in the light of eternity–what God was calling us to really look at this year–we had to say no…and silly ole me–struggled with not having these 1st World luxuries that we have often had in the past.)
Then. I watch Francis Chan talk about living for eternity. And I realize that we did live big in 2015. We lived beyond our means in following God in some pretty crazy ways and HE provided ways for us to say no to those other okay, cool experiences because He had much bigger plans for us. And as hard as it is I want 2016 to be the same. This is a must watch as you start 2016…
I’m so thankful that 2015 brought 2 foster and adoptive mom’s retreats with Created for Care in February and March…and a Fabulous Forty Retreat in April. Saying no to the things my flesh struggled with meant Richard could go to Africa in May–and we spent June watching our 9 year old daughter paint and fundraise to go with me to Africa in July. I returned with an awful parasite and mono…and a month later in September we found out after 7 years of not being able to have a baby–we were expecting. There were things we said yes to this year that I can’t share here–but they were not easy to say yes to…and they left us on our knees, in tears and starting over in some pretty hard ways for our kids and family…YET–we are certain we said yes to Jesus. Saying no to all of these would have made for a pretty comfortable year…and some days–I just want that. This is not for YOU…but for ME–to remember that next year…I will struggled again. I will struggled with wanting to step back, to have/want/pursue “normal” things, and to some times not serve when serving means being uncomfortable…like some times sacrificing in ways that leave my heart torn in two. I will (and you will probably too) struggle with saying yes to Jesus–or comfortable in 2016.
COMFORT. Easy. To go with the flow instead of against the grain. Saying yes to Jesus often has led us to walking through some pretty difficult waters–yet He has been with us and we have sensed His presence and guidance every step of the way. 2016 will be no different if we ask Him to use our hands and feet. Yet–I want to start 2016 and say that I am ready.
I have already told my husband that I *do* really want to go to Disney with the kids in 2016 after the baby comes. (Just being honest–and I also think it’s okay to want these things.) I also want to open my hands and say that if He says no again to these little wants of this momma’s heart–to follow Him in different places–for the sake of eternity…that I DO want that MORE.
In 2016, I want to put EVERY SINGLE THING before Him and ask Him if it IS His will–and only follow again what He is telling me to walk forward and do for His glory and not my own. I confess–that I don’t want to be uncomfortable…but I want to tell Jesus that more than comfort in 2016–I want His will to be done in my life and in the life of my family. I want to be intentional with relationships…less friendships online–and more across the table. I want to put down the squares (anything technology) in my life more often and pour out in “real” life more and more. I want to focus more on what HE THINKS rather than what people of this world think–and live for the audience of One. I want to breath life into others–encouragement, peace and truth–after I first let HIM be the one that fills my cup.
What if…what if we had said YES to the things we wanted? All good things–but we could have missed AMAZING. Because His stories–what He has for us…really–is SO MUCH BETTER than what we could have wanted for ourselves!
May 2016 be a year that leaves me typing the same reflection…where I didn’t get everything *I* wanted but received everything I needed–and saw Him do miracles as leaps of faith were taken over and over again. I think our flesh deep down always begins wanting the year ahead to bring us good things…dreaming of the things we may not have received in the last year that our flesh still wants…yet also deep down–we want nothing more as believers to have the decrement, self control, desire and passion to want even MORE whatever He wants for us–believing that He truly is for us…and has great big plans for us in 2016…to prosper us in ways we can’t imagine and to bring us much hope and an unimaginable, beautifully written future.
Standing with you–excited for what is to come–and trusting BIG for great things in the year ahead! A look at 2015 here…so thankful for these memories and the story each picture holds!
May He be with you this year ahead every step of the way!