Tag Archives: One Word 2011

One Word: A Year to Behold

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It’s December.

How did that happen? I wrote the first post about the seemingly simple word of “behold” nearly a year ago and I remember exactly where I was when it came to me.

On the toilet.

I’ll give you that it wasn’t a particularly romantic or spiritual experience, but that’s when the theme for my year came to me none the less. In discovering where the Lord has brought me this year though, I must start first with the view of where I was when He and I began this journey.

Last December I was tired. I hid a broken heart and a weary soul.  I felt as though my spirit was but a shadow of a girl I once was. I thought, at the time, part of my personality’s sobriety was adulthood settling in. That my lack of enthusiasm and imagination was simply, and tragically, the reality of being older and carrying the weight of life’s responsibilities.

Last December I was scared. Last December I was so scared people mistook me for being a strong and independent woman. Last December I was blind to just how big God was and just how close He would get. So when a faint voice whispered “behold,” I had no idea how vivid my sight would become 12 months later.

The vision of myself has always been that of a girl who is moderately good at some things, but not extraordinary at anything. I’m not a musician and I’m not an artist. I’m not a skilled problem solver and I’m not destined to be a world leader. The fact that I was never, not one single semester, a straight A student still haunts me. I’m athletic, but I was never a star athlete. I never had a boyfriend in high-school and I never dated in college either. My social resume of what the world would deem certifiable “accomplishments” has always been severely lacking. My self-perception, for as long as I can remember, has been that I am a disappointment to God.

But this year, the way I see God and His love, and the way that I know He sees me, has truly transformed me from the inside out.

In 2011, I beheld a God that is a fountain of grace that does not run dry. I beheld a God that sympathizes with feeling ostracized and misunderstood. I beheld a God that would not let me stand on the outside alone.

I beheld a God that loves me before I am able to prove that I am lovable. I beheld a God that wanted to give me good things before I was able to earn them.

This year, I beheld the God of the Bible that revealed Himself to me through dreams and the prophecies of friends.  I beheld a God of tenderness and I beheld a God compassionate enough to prune away strongholds that clung to me like deadly vines.

This year, I beheld a God that showed me that He remembered childhood prayers and answered them when it would mean that hope was alive and healing had come.

This year, I beheld a God that was, is, and will continue to be faithful.

This one word for this one year, has changed 25 years of misperception.

Beholding God, as He really is, has changed everything.

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One Word: Six Months Later

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I jumped on this bandwagon a little late so it stands to reason that I would update late as well. Luckily, this is voluntary and not graded which means… I do what I want.

You may remember a post I wrote earlier this year called One Word. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions that I would undoubtedly give up on, I chose to focus on one word instead.  To be honest I haven’t been as diligent as I would have liked in keeping this theme at the forefront of my mind, but I am here to refresh my own memory, to reflect on the ways that I have been able to “behold” God’s goodness, and hopefully inspire a little more focus on the back half of this year.

A lot has happened in the last 6 months.  For starters, I got engaged which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t see coming. And while being betrothed to an incredible and Godly man would be a sufficient thing to behold and reason to count this year a success, it was what led up to the engagement that is what I am truly in awe of beholding.

I’m a bit over-analytical.  I think too much about too much. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a real kill-joy.  My way of preparing for the unknown/future is to conjure up the worst possible case scenario and plan from there.  Because, in my poor little head, if I am prepared for the worst possible situation, then I will be all the more equipped to handle a potentially great scenario.

The tragedy of this kind of thinking is that a state of angst, worry, and fretting tend to smother any hope for a good situation completely. That and this kind of thinking demonstrates two things:

1. Little to no actual faith (exemplified through a mind at peace and a heart at rest) in a sovereign and holy God

2. A serious control issue

What I found to be God’s response to an unfortunate twit like me is this: He’ll prove Himself. Unwaveringly gracious and tirelessly patient, He will come down and make Himself undeniable.  He will reveal Himself to the doubter, worrier, and pathetic pansie (*pointing to myself*) and He’ll settle in close.  And when you’ve (me again) done everything you can to keep things clean and tidy and right where you want them, because you’re comfortable with never rearranging or changing anything, He’ll rearrange and change everything for you.

He’ll uncover all the desires of your heart that you didn’t have the strength to hold onto and shoved under the rug. He’ll dust them off, polish them up and remind you that He made it for you; He created such a treasure for you to experience.

For me, that was hope for a relationship, the dream of marriage.  And to make the giving-up of such hope a little easier, I put up road blocks and fortress walls. “Do Not Enter” signs hung on my heart.

Then Toby gently began to break them down.  He didn’t even ask to, he just started to chip away here and there. Layer by tender layer.  What scared me the most was not letting him in.  What scared me was the reaction of what he would find.

Instead of being disappointed or surprised or even deciding to walk away, he loved me more. He loved me intentionally, with grace and compassion; his mercy on my mess felt like the warmest and most welcome blanket.

So what did I behold? The love of Christ. Unconditional, non-judgemental, and completely accepting. Real love. Transcendent of accomplishment or right standing. God drew near, spoke sweetly to me and whispered “I want you.”

One of the biggest certainties I have in marrying Toby is this: his display of God’s love and pursuit of me makes me desire the Lord. Do I love and appreciate Toby? Of course.  But I need the Lord more.  And my genuine desire is that I encourage Toby, in my love, to press into Christ; to lean on Him and to know Him better.

Six months in to 2011 and God has done a miracle.

Bring on six more months.

 

 

Delayed, But Not Too Late: One Word 2011

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My blogger-ific friend, Josh Miles (yep… I went there) recently posted a blog that inspired me to copy his idea completely.

And he was inspired by another blogger named Alece who is challenging readers to drop the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead focus on just one thing, one word to be exact, for an entire year. 

Somewhat unintentionally, as 2010 came to a close, I had been thinking about what word I would use to describe perhaps the most formidable year of life.

Lonely.

I know it sounds depressing; it felt that way at times.  Last year was filled with new ways and  areas in which the Lord emptied me of a lot of things that weren’t Him.  For all the reasons that I am grateful to have been shown how off-center I was in my affections and attention, it wasn’t easy to see things and people I care for stripped away.  

Lesson learned: God is who He says He is. He can do what He says He can do. And He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, in Him.

So with last year now (finally) behind me and with new perspective, my word for this year is… *drum roll*

Behold.

With the things that obscured my vision now removed, I want to behold the Lord.

Behold His grace on me and over others.

Behold His purpose, plan, and provision in each day I am granted.

Behold His continual forgiveness of my sins and His faithfulness to renew His promises to me every morning.

Behold His the lavishing of His love over me that I may overflow onto others.

Behold how expansive His grasp over all creation and how exclusive His grip on my heart.

Want to join in on the adventure?

One year.

One word.

Countless ways to be changed.