Every new year begins with a resolution. Few are ever remembered into the next. I’m sure I made a resolution last year–one fraught with meaning, one that if accomplished would make me the most amazing woman imaginable. But, alas, I end the year with no remembrance of its beginning.
But its middle has been rich. I may not remember what was on my heart as I started the year 2006. Actually, I begin to remember just now. I asked God for a husband. I bargained with Him, almost gave Him an ultimatum. This year, I said. Let it be this year. But it wasn’t to be. God had other, better plans in store. He thought it best that rather than distract me with a man, He should enthrall me with Himself.
And this last year has been experience after experience of coming to know the One who is my husband, my healer, my redeemer, my father, my lord. I planned to get married this last summer–June 10, 2006–but instead this summer was the most pivotal summers of my life thus far in my walk with God. Because this summer I learned that I am free. I learned that I am clean and nothing I do can make me unclean. I learned that I am justified, and nothing can change that. I learned that I am not a quitter. I learned that I am not a failure. I learned that I don’t need to be perfect. I learned how to be a child. Because this summer, I learned that in Christ, no bond can hold me. In Christ, I am pure in God’s eyes. In Christ, the job has been completed. In Christ, I have conquered. In Christ, I am perfect. And in Christ, I am a child.
My weblogs of the past year tell a story, but only part. I must seek to fill in the holes–the places where the grace of God has woven a tapestry from the tattered canvas of my life.
I told of my fears going to Jacksonville.
Could the church survive without me? It did. And not only did it survive, it grew. God worked in amazing ways within LCF at the same time He was working amazing things within me.
I wondered about God’s provision.
And He has provided. I accepted some loans, but as the semester went by, I discovered less and less of a need for them. I was granted the corporation part of the National Merit Scholarship despite my loss of the University part. I was given an extra thousand in Pell Grants. The State of Nebraska gave me a small grant. My parents gave me some money. And my jobs as Health Aide and Desk Worker have provided for my day to day expenses without consuming huge amounts of time.
I worried about having to grow, and about the decision of whether to be a team leader or not.
I did grow, and not all of it was fun. But all of it was good. So much of it I had to get away in order to learn. And God, in His infinite wisdom knew that and brought me to Jacksonville. He took me there as a team member, where I learned how to be a member of the body, not always a leader. And He brought me back as a better leader for it. Because my focus in ministry has changed. I no longer have to minister to somehow make a place for myself, because I know that I belong in Christ. I no longer have to minister to somehow save someone, because I know that Christ is the Savior and He can do it all. And I no longer have to work to gain the approval of men or God, because I know now that God is perfectly satisfied with me as I am. And with this new knowledge I can now minister out of love for God and for people, without shame and without toil. What a blessing!
I spoke of being restless, listless.
And while I still experience times of busyness and times of boredom, at last my soul has found a place of rest.
My soul has found a resting place in You
From the running of my past
My soul has found its rest
From the striving-From the fighting
I have found rest
You are my hiding place
My strong tower
I run to You
and running ceases
For my soul has found
A resting place in You
I could list my activities but not my accomplishments.
No longer is that true. For no longer fearful of finishing and being found lacking, I have finished much this last year. I completed six crocheted scarves, perfected a prenatal nutrition presentation and presented it three times, finished my last science course of my undergrad career, created a filing system. And so many more things, still unfinished, instead of mocking at me, give me reason for cheer. Three discipleship programs are underway, a quilt in the works, one more scarf half done. My room is clean, I am 7% done with making every recipe in Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook. I have read hundreds of books in the last three months and gained valuable things from them. I have set up a time management system. But all of those accomplishments pale when I think of the one thing I have not done–I have not done anything to deserve God’s favor–yet He grants it to me nonetheless. And that is what gives me the freedom to accomplish anything.
I wrote of being old before my time.
But the most majestic work of this summer was the paring of years from my heart, from my face, from my past. I grew up too young, taking on the heart of a woman when my body was a child’s. Desperate to fit in, to gain approval, I clung to “maturity”. Desperate to save everyone, I no longer allowed myself to ask for help. Self-reliant, perfectionist, the savior, never fitting in, shameful. I was an old woman, caught up in a twenty-one year old body. But God taught me to rely on Him. He taught me that I am perfect in Him. He taught me that He is the Savior. He taught me that I belong in Him. He taught me that no part of me is shameful, because I am His chosen. And now I am young. I wrote that “an old maid is only a woman who feels the losses of yesterday and none of the future of today.” And that is what I was, but am no longer. I now see the joys of yesterday amidst its sorrows; and the excitement of the future spurring the possibilities of today.
God has been good to me this past year. And I know He will be good this year as well.
So do I stop making New Year’s resolutions? No. This time I have written them down, because I want to remember them. Will they haunt me or will they spur me on? I don’t know exactly, but I have a feeling that this year will be different. Different because I am a different person. Last January, I was an old woman in her last days. This January, I am a young woman with her life in front of her. And even if I do not accomplish all I set out to do in the year 2007–I will still have accomplished much. For such it is with God–“All things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.” And regardless of my actions, I have been called, so all things will work together for good for me.