At the end of a year I like to look back at all God has done and reflect on what he might be prompting me to do/change in the year ahead. Life has been busy the last few weeks so He has had a little bonus time to show me clearly what I will need to focus on the most in 2012. Just for fun I am going to share them here and at year's end I'll come back and remember what God did through it all. Pray for us.
*ABIDE: I feel strongly that this year will be about learning how to abide. To make God the focus of every moment and to pray in every circumstance.
*BOLDNESS: I have a feeling this will be a continual theme. The years of "silent witness" seem to be behind me. It has become easier for me to speak the name of Jesus but God has provided an all together new opportunity for me this year. I am excited to see what God does in a new friendship with an unbeliever.
*DIE TO SELF: It has become very clear to me that the only way God's love can flow through me to the lost and broken is for me to surrender all of me. It is not easy. I am a work in progress. But I am hopeful by the end of this year I will be able to look in the mirror and see less of me and more of Him. With disappointments, heartache, chaos, disruption, unpredictability on the horizon my focus can not be on what I want for this day if God is going to use me.
*PRAY: We spent 2011 learning to pray for the needs of others. We were overwhelmed to watch God work and answer prayers in his timing. Our faith was strengthened. Each morning we would open up our journal and lift up the names of so many people in our lives. Extended family, local friends, far away friends, our church. Over the months new names/needs would be added. God worked in many who didn't even know we were praying. He was faithful to show us more than once what He was doing. With a little perspective, we have come to realize we let our own family's prayer needs fall by the wayside without intention this past year. Is it possible we have been offering up other people's Isaac's and holding tight to our own? 2012 will be about learning to pray for ourselves very specifically. To pray for each other's hearts and weaknesses. To see God work in our marriage. To witness more transformation as he answers each prayer in his timing. We will still be praying for you all, but we are putting our names higher on the prayer priority list with a sense of urgency. We expect we will be praying a lot more this year. I guess that is how you learn to abide in Christ and He in you.
*SERVE: I want to be willing to be used by God in our church and community however would best bring him glory.
*HOSPITALITY: I want our home to be open to any and every one who might need a place to stay/eat/live. We honestly believe he gave us this house for his good purpose and we want the doors to be open to all at a moment's notice. I guess I should learn how to be a better house keeper too then. *sigh* A bigger house means more work for me. Cleaning does not make me jump for joy, people. I can think of 100 other things I would rather do. But I want our house to be available to be used by God at any time which means clutter needs to be addressed and bathrooms need to be maintained. Perhaps I will learn to love cleaning for his glory. How did this bullet point turn into doing house work? Is My Love reading this? Let's move on.
*READ: I need to make more time to read. As an adult, I have learned how to get lost in a book and I hope the new year allows for more opportunities to do that. Once again this brings focus to prioritizing better. With the addition of foster children, many things at the bottom of the list will be sacrificed. Our marriage, children, home, friendships, prayer, loving, serving, blogging, and reading seem to be the only things worth preserving. Kind of freeing actually.
*DATE: Enough said.
*LOVE: I want to learn to love how Christ loves. To see others through his eyes.
*SALVATION: We are praying for many to come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. May this be the year that the Holy Spirit opens their eyes and hearts of those we have been lifting to Him. Will you join us by praying with confident expectation for the lost that God has put in your lives?
*BOUNDARIES: With all this serving and hospitality we have learned some very important lessons. We need boundaries. We need firm priorities that are not affected by constant changes in the wind and rain of the storms coming. This is a time sensitive goal. With every long term house guest has come opportunities to learn this concept. God has been good to show us this need before the abnormal becomes normal. With boundaries and structure in priorities the unexpected that will fall in our laps will be less likely to blow us down. We choose to cling to our foundation and each other. Their can be peace in the chaos. We choose to abide...and create boundaries.
*EDUCATION: I REALLY want Brother to be in some kind of structured pre-K kind of schooling at home. He is more than ready and I know if he has something in place the unpredictable days ahead will be less stressful for him...and me. (temporary note: this Saturday is a homeschool gathering at our new church. Perhaps this goal will be well underway sooner than I think)
*STUDY: My Love and I would like to do a Bible/book study together this year. It has been a few years since we have done something like this. I am hopeful it will open doors for better communication and deepen our connection. We are both really excited to see what God will teach us together. Have any book suggestions?
Ok. I think that is more than enough to focus on this year. I challenge you to seek the Lord and ask Him what he would have you work on this year in your own lives.