Here we are again. It is time to raise our glasses to a year completed and kiss our sweethearts as we welcome in the new. Praise God we made it through another twelve months! Time to set goals and resolutions to lose more weight or stop biting our fingernails, both of which I’ve tried and failed miserably over the last ten Januaries.
Last year I set a different agenda and resolved to use less sarcasm in my communication. I did OK. I learned very quickly how many nasty things I say all hidden behind a thin veneer of “I’m just joking”. I plan to keep up the work to use less sarcasm until I can completely wave goodbye to it. This year I plan to also strive to be less cynical and revive certain purity that is lost over past hurt relationships. It will be hard work of that I am sure.
This year I plan to be in the same house, working with the same congregation, raising my three beautiful children and loving my wonderful husband. I have very little change on the horizon and for that I am grateful. God may change and challenge my plans, but as of now I see my path ahead clearly.
I have several dear friends, however, who will make huge life changes this year. At least three families that I know of will make huge moves across oceans, countries, and states. They see it coming and have little control over where, when and how God will lead them. Over the last week I have thought about them off and on, and how much I admire and love their constant flexibility to God’s plan. I know they experience apprehension and fear, and yet they are willing to be molded and used by God in ways that many never experience or allow. They embrace their calling and set out to face a new year as a rich adventurous journey all for the sake of the Father. Their courage is inspiring and I'm blessed to call them friends.
Of all the many things I lack in my faith walk, courage is the biggest. So, this year I am adding courage to my resolution list.
I want to be brave enough to invite my neighbors to know Jesus.
I want to be brave enough to allow people to see my faith in Jesus in my actions.
I want to verbally express how Jesus has worked and changed my life to others who need Him.
I want to wear and own my Christianity and no longer hide behind a facade of “maybe they’ll notice Jesus in me because I’m a nice person.”
I want to say the name Jesus without fear of the repercussions or weird looks.
I want to be brave enough to challenge the status quo when Jesus is forgotten and traditions become god.
I want to have the courage to give till it hurts, and still have the faith that God will provide for my family.
I want to share our convictions and our faith with my children’s teachers and/or coaches and expect them to respect it and turn and walk if they don’t.
I want to turn my back on a politically correct faith and call sin sin.
I want to love those who need love and awaken the all too comfortable pews to a world that is dying for food, water, clothes and Christ.
I want courage.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
~1 Corinthians 16:13
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7
Several years ago we had to leave a place we loved. We had to leave behind the dearest of friends and embrace God’s lead to a new phase in life. Our hearts hurt to leave them. Through that time this song was constantly playing in my mind. I knew what God was saying to me then, and I ask you to consider it now as you embrace a new year. Take courage, my friends, courage. For the adventure is yours and it is lead by the best.
Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Nor for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.
Not forever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be,
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.
Not forever by still waters
Would we idly, quiet stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.
Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our Guide;
Through endeavor, failure, danger,
Father, be Thou at our side.
Let our path be bright or dreary,
Storm or sunshine be our share;
May our souls in hope unweary
Make Thy work our ceaseless prayer.
~Love M. Willis