Beginning From the End
I got my copy of the Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst in the mail the day after Epiphany and a great sermon by pastor Joel.
(the first sunset of the new year)
I tore open the envelope and touched the book for a few minutes. Do you guys ever do that or am I the only geek around here? Sometimes doing this calms me. Like I can absorb some of what the book contains through the contact.
The sermon on that first Sunday of the new year was simple: Beginning from the end. The first line that I wrote down in my notebook was this: Will it be a new year or will it be an extension of the old? Pastor Joel Hunter said that and got me thinking. About how we do the same thing over and over again.
How we set resolutions and only 12% of us keep them. I write them as a humor post to a certain extent (though I really do want to take more baths and have clean smelling laundry). But I donâ€™t believe in resolutions, per se. Because I know very few people who keep them, myself included.
These last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride. The joy of the season with the grief of missing a loved one. Makes you appreciate the joy a little more but there are still painful moments in the process.
I am ecstatic about this upcoming year. Fearless in a way that I havenâ€™t been in the past. For myself, for others. I donâ€™t want this year to be an extension of the last, though there were so many good lessons and beautiful moments in it.
â€œLast yearâ€™s structure isnâ€™t going to hold this yearâ€™s changes.â€ â€“ Joel Hunter
That quote resonated with my spirit. Because it is true. All of the wonderful and beautiful things this year will bring cannot be held within last yearâ€™s structure. Will it all be good? I hope so but we all know better, donâ€™t we? Itâ€™s not the â€œgoodâ€ or â€œbadâ€ that matters. It is the being. The experiencing. The giving thanks. There was more to the sermon. About changes and adapting but, Iâ€™ll share that with you another day.
Day one of the devotional was about how we go through the motions, our hectic lives, how we say we will be better tomorrow but arenâ€™t and then we start the guilt cycle all over again. Which reminds meâ€¦
Every night my child apologizes to me. It is not something we have taught her though she knows that she should apologize when she does something she shouldnâ€™t. But every night at bedtime, usually as the silence settles around us, I hear this sentence â€œMami, Iâ€™m sorry for not listening to mami and daddy.â€ with genuine remorse in her little voice. I tell her itâ€™s okay. And then I hear â€œyou forgive me?â€ with heartfelt emotion in her throat. And what do you think I say? â€œOf course, I forgive you baby girl. Youâ€™re going to try harder tomorrow, right?â€
Somehow, I think this is how my conversation with God goes. How a lot of our conversations go. I think of all of the love I have for my child and how I believe that she will do better tomorrow. How I will root for her. How frustrated I might get when she slips again the next day. But how I never stop loving her.
I guess all of this late night pondering with bible in hand, notebook open to my scratchy notes and heart filled with gratitude is about the new year. But maybe itâ€™s more than that. Itâ€™s about the reminder of new graces every day. The reminder that we ask for forgiveness in a small voice and someone takes us by the face, kisses our brow and says okay. Itâ€™s about the continual gifts that we are given. The continual blessings that we receive.
This new year I canâ€™t make any resolutions regarding my faith. I can promise though, that I will continue to be grateful for what I am given. The good. And the bad. I will pray through theÂ Unglued Devotional so that I may once again walk the path which I am meant to walk. Without fear, without doubt. Knowing that someone loves me unconditionally and confident that this path I walk on is part of my purpose.
Any ah-ha moments for you lately?