This has been my word throughout 2015. At the end of 2014 my dear sister in Christ challenged & encouraged a small group of us to seek out our word for the year. I have had a verse for my year and even certain worship songs that became my theme songs, but not one word. I learned how simply complex it can be to have a focus and direction throughout the year. When the Lord first gave me the word “anchored,” I thought how restrictive and common. I like to be unique. And honestly, I felt this word was too simple and understood. Obviously I can do nothing apart from Christ, He is my Anchor! As the Lord began to unfold His plan for me through this word, it came alive in me. I couldn’t get away from it – in worship songs, in my devotion time and a friend of mine actually showed up at my house with an anchor engraved with this verse, Hebrews 6:19. What the Lord had been showing me is I am not called to sit and be anchored. I can be quite a chicken and do not take many risks. I like the safety of the dock or at least staying in the harbor. God was revealing to me that as long as I am anchored to Him I can be bold. I can take steps of faith, begin writing, forgive those who have hurt me, live joyfully while mourning, and trust Him more deeply! This was such a continuation of 2014, my theme song was “Oceans” by Hillsong. And I still tear up when I hear it. God is weaving His story year after year in my life.
He is weaving His story into your life year after year too. Does that give you hope, peace, and joy? Maybe it gives you a different feeling – fear, guilt, unworthiness, or sadness. Maybe you’re thinking – “you have no idea what my year looked like and how much I went through!” It could be just getting through the past month of holiday celebrations was a struggle and time of despair for you. You’re right. I don’t know, but God does. I also know I’m praying every person who reads this will find true hope and peace in Jesus! I do know He brings joy…”Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b. I had a sweet sister in Christ encourage me with this verse the year my brother was killed. She assured me it’ll come – we just don’t know which morning. She was right, but finding true joy in the midst takes time.
What I’ve learned walking this lonely road of grief, is that it’s a process. I’ve also learned that everyone is grieving something – a loved one; shattered dreams; a broken relationship; Family members who don’t know Jesus; and the list goes on. You fill in the blank; _______. Thankfully, I’ve realized I am not alone in my grief, and neither are you. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2. This was one of the most difficult and freeing things for me to grasp as a Christian.
I know God was in control and allowed that horrific accident that took my brother’s life. The first thing I had to do and still have to do, is accepts God’s ways are higher and that His plans and purposes are bigger than my pain. (From Isaiah 55:8-9). Some days this comes easy. Other days the pain of missing him makes it really hard to accept. Maybe that’s where you need to start this year – accept that “thing” that you’ve been carrying as part of God’s plan for your life and allow Him to bring beauty out of your pain.
Most importantly, I’ve learned grief is a tunnel, and it does have an end. Please understand I didn’t say missing the person, dream, or relationship ends. This has been the biggest point of confusion I have discovered in people when I share about grief. Many people misunderstand, and think I’ve said my grieving lessens, that my missing the person lessens. This is completely different! However, my load has become lighter; true joys mine; and I can be grateful for each day I’m given to continue living this life on earth. But this is not my permanent home and my grief won’t fully be lifted until I enter my heavenly home – “ ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4. My focus is heavenward and I must remember I’m just passing through. My prayer for each reader is that this year nothing will hold you back from going deeper with God experiencing true freedom in Him. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36.
Ironically, this is the word the Lord has been showing me for this year…”Free!” How funny the Lord is. Last year’s word was “anchored” and this year is “free”. I giggled at my Lord’s sense of humor! It almost seems like an oxymoron. Although, I recognize that without fully knowing He is my anchor I cannot live free! I pray you get alone with God and find your word, verse, or theme song for this year. Lay down regrets from 2015, and shift your focus heavenward. New Year’s Day 2017, I pray you are less burdened and more joyful. Because this year you will experience a deeper relationship with Jesus. Happy New Year, praying you have a blessed 2016!
To know deep, lasting joy, we have to truly know Christ. 1 John 1:1-4