Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year New Word

2013 Christmas Family Photo

Happy New Year!

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. It seems that every year that I would make a list of resolutions, I would find myself feeling like a failure by the 2nd week of January. In 2007 I decided to forego the resolutions and began picking a word for the year, something that I could carry with me as I journeyed throughout the year. Instead of looking at everything that I thought I needed to improve or concentrating only on the negative things about myself, I began to see the positive aspects of who I was and started to concentrate on how God was continually molding me and providing opportunities for growth.
In 2013 God placed upon my heart the word, “simplicity”. After a chaotic 2012 I was relieved that “simplicity” was my word! On January 1, 2013 I wrote:
“My word for 2013 is “Simplicity”. The word simplicity brings calmness to my spirit that I deeply need. I realized after a year filled with new responsibilities, traveling back and forth to see my grandson for 5 months, the everyday drama and challenges that my own choices and decisions brought to my life and those that other people brought to my life, I am ready for a little more simple and a lot less hectic. So this year I am searching, beckoning, needing and embracing a more simple way of life… Turning to him to reveal to me the simple pleasures, blessings, changes and growth opportunities that may bring to me simplicity.”
I was so excited and relieved that 2013 would be surrounded by simplicity.
As I turned my calendar to December I started to think about what my word for 2014 would be and that’s when I began looking back over this last year and my word “simplicity”. I laughed out loud at how I had imagined in January of 2013 that it would be a year filled with simplicity. In all honesty it was anything but simple. At the end of January our granddaughter Adalyn was born 5 weeks early and stayed in the NNICU for 3 weeks, we traveled out to see our son and his family 5 times (a 7 hour trip), our grandson Jackson had open heart surgery, we put on a benefit pancake breakfast, silent auction & bake sale for Jackson and his family, I became the Pastor at Rustin Ave. UMC along with maintaining my positions at Grace UMC as part time Admin Secretary and Director of Women’s Ministry, and most of my time was spent preparing sermons, visiting parishioners, church meetings, women’s events and Bible studies. Not as simple as I had imagined.
But when I really examined this last year I realized that although it wasn’t a simple year, God had shown me ways to face challenges in a more simple way. Instead of freaking out when something went wrong, I took a deep breath, accessed the situation and moved forward. Relationships that brought chaos and stress into my life I walked away from, not completely closing the door on them but leaving the door cracked. My home became my sanctuary and I stopped hanging on to things that I didn’t like or enjoyed any longer. I breathed more, laughed more and loved more. And I learned to let a lot of things go.
My year may not have been simple, but God showed me the simplicity within it and myself and for that I am grateful.
As I started to think and pray on what word God would place on my heart for 2014, a word started to come to mind. Over and over I would hear it or read it. It came up everywhere in my daily walk. My word for 2014 is “Intentional”.
With all of the responsibilities with my ministry and work I have sometimes felt overwhelmed in wanting to be all that I can, everywhere I need to be and for everyone at all times, but not knowing how to do it all. And because of this I have neglected time spent with family, friends, taking care of myself and time with God.
This year I pray that God will help me to become more intentional in my life journey. To be more intentional in my relationships with family and friends, in how I spend my time (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), in my ministry and in my time spent with my heavenly Father (in scripture, meditation and prayer).
So as we begin 2014, I pray that each of you have a year filled with God’s blessings. That your life will be filled with more love, joy, laughter, courage, strength, growth and peace.

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