January 07, 2013

Loss and Growth - a New Year

I've been reading various things on different blogs and websites about choosing your one word for the year that will encapsulate your goals for the upcoming year. Such as gratitude or contentment. I liked the idea but immediately washed over it because I tend to be less structured in my creativity.

But the idea kept coming back to me. I could sum up the last year in a couple of words so I decided to project those into this next year.

And the one word that kept coming to mind was intentionality.

Recently the Holy Spirit began to convict me about certain misplaced efforts and self-serving motivations. He began to show me again through Scripture that my life is His and any talents and gifts I have are to be used by him and for him to his glory, not mine.

It sparked a renewed and deeper desire in me to be intentional about my time, my giftings, my relationships, my abilities, all things, to walk with him more deeply and be obedient to his call and will.

And then I read this post. (I really, really like this blogger. She and her husband and five kids have been missionaries to Indonesia for the past 6+ years and I love the transparent and authentic way she writes about her life.)

So I thought I would kick the year off with a written reflection of the last year with the goal in mind of being intentional this year not to miss the growth and refining that God has for me.

His works in my life in 2012:

  • A deepened strength, intimacy, and friendship in my marriage.
  • Discipling two girls brand new in the faith. This has probably been my biggest highlight. I recently heard Francis Chan speak (online) at Passion and he said if you truly want to experience God, go and make disciples. I have absolutely seen this to be true.
  • I would have said that I didn't care much for what others thought of me but the Lord has been opening my eyes to see how much I do care and has started the (difficult) process to set me free to live my life to please him alone. (This is ongoing.)
  • Settling us in a church family where every week we come away built up in God's Word and in relationship with others.
  • My Thursday morning Bible study. God has used this study in more ways than I can count for my good. From it have come authentic friendships - girls I cry with, laugh with, do life with, grow in Christ with.
This isn't even all of us!

The hard things that God used (is using) to refine me:

  • When we left our church family of four years, we lost almost everything we had known that we realized had been a security blanket for us - our church, our social life, relationships, position. But we have seen the Lord's hand and kindness in more ways than we can count and even knowing what it would cost us we wouldn't change it.
  • Failure. God has used failure to teach me, grow me, refine me, and make me more dependent on him and less dependent on myself. 
  • Loss of relationships has by far been the most difficult thing for us this past year. It's only been recently that I can honestly say my heart feels more healed than hurt and the process has absolutely caused me to turn to the Lord more.

As I think on the upcoming year, I want to aim to please the Lord (2nd Corinthians 5:9). I've read and reread Ephesians this year and these two verses have particularly stuck out to me. 

Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (5:10)

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (5:17)

Discern what is pleasing to him. Understand what his will is. Aim to please him. Make disciples.

That sounds like it takes intentionality

May our lives this year bear fruit to his glory.

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