2011: Year in Review

9:00 PMHeather

Seems I blinked and another year has gone by.  Just the last month flew at lightening speed, as we capped the year with an 8 day trip to California, followed by a quick overnight to visit more family.  Great memories made--and my lap top tucked away for nearly 2 weeks.  And so, before I dive into the reality of routine tomorrow--as well as the start of a new year--I want to take time to think back to this last year, to ponder the hand of God in my life, the lessons He's had for me, and the faithfulness He's shown me.

My first blog post last year explained my word for 2011 -- intentional --and my hopes for the waiting year.  Intentional--to live with purpose, to make an effort to live with a plan.  Well, I have to say that one huge lesson I learned last year was that living intentionally means living by God's intention for me and surrendering my own.  

Much of 2011 included unwinding nagging and annoying health issues, including a rather rough few weeks where my neck did not function.  At all.  Couldn't hold my head up, turn my head, drive or do much of anything.  Yep, that'll teach you to cling to God's purpose and intentions.  It was a longer road to recovery than I anticipated, including 5 months of physical therapy.  That meant learning to slow down.  That meant learning to live with a plan "B."  When you have only a few good hours a day, you become rather purposeful.  It forced my hand to say no, to not sweat the small stuff, to invest myself with great intention.  Lessons I hope to not just remember, but to build on and continue.

All the neck problems taught me something else rather important when it comes to living with intention.  With great humility I admit that I feel the Lord had to allow me to literally be stiff necked to reveal to me so many ways that I am stiff necked in attitude.  Beautifully brutal lessons indeed.  I can't do it all.  I have very far to go.  I need Him desperately every day.  I need other people.  I need to ask for help.  I need to surrender in oh-so-many-ways.  I can be stubborn.   But the good news?  He can help me do all He wants for me.  He will never give up on me.  He is there for me faithfully every day.  He is who I need--and He provides others just as I need them.  And He is patient and loving and full of grace and mercy.

Living with intention.  In the last 12 months, I've learned this means living in the moment.  It means not being so obsessed with tasks that I don't stop to look my children in the eye when they share some tidbit of information.  You never know when that small conversation could turn to eternal matters.  It means speaking clearly from my heart to my husband and sharing my feelings and dreams and needs.  It means asking the Lord to reveal, reveal, reveal--so that He can change, change, change.  It means really examining my rough edges and being willing to have them sanded from me.  It means people mean more than things or tasks -- relationships comes first.  It means pulling out the calendar to plan that "let's do lunch" that I chat about instead of putting it off.  It means looking for opportunities to serve others, to pray for others, to bear other's burdens.  It means nothing in this world--not money or my own glory--can compare to the things of heaven.  It means pausing to note when God moves in some little way, asking for eyes to see those God things and then thanking Him for those revelations.  It means being a note writer--not a note planner.  It means waking up each day to say, "This is your day, Lord.  Show me what you got for me, equip me to do it and help me be obedient."  Intention doesn't just mean planning--it means DOING!   

I find it hard to summarize the last year and all that God has done.  It would be awesome to drone on and on about all the ways I've grown spiritually in the last 12 months.  But, really, I think it's best summed up to say that even when I am faithless, He is faithful.  I think it's best to say that those who trust in Him will never be put to shame.  He loves me enough to reveal how very far I have to go.  He loves me enough to do whatever it takes--lay me flat on my back even--to show me just how nothing I am without Him.   He loves me enough to not let me settle to be the same.  I love His intention toward me--to refine me ever more to His image, motivated by His great love.   

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