We’ve had an interesting..and scary…start to the New Year. My girl, Keli, has passed out twice. Laid out. She seems fine now, but it definitely created some excitement around here this morning. We’d still appreciate prayers that it’s nothing serious, other than overworking and stress. She is resting well, eating and drinking well and enjoying her day now.
Other than that, we’re doing what I imagine most American’s are doing today…..resting, eating, reflecting, playing games, watching football–and all the things that come with Day One of the New Year.
I only slept a couple of hours last night. My mind wouldn’t stop. I kept thinking of the upcoming year. I read somewhere–I have no idea where–that a good practice is to pick out a “word” for the year. Being a word person, this really appealed to me, more than having a bunch of resolutions that I probably will break.
I’ve struggled greatly this past month over what is truth and what is not truth. Doubt has been a constant companion. There are so many things that I do not understand. Unfortunately I’m the type of person who wants to understand. I want to understand what I read in scripture. I want to understand the reasoning behind events. And I want to understand people.
But in my middle-of-the-night thinking, I came to a realization. I can’t understand everything. Oh, yes, that makes me angry. At myself for being unable to understand all that I want to. It hurts that I can’t understand many things. But the reality of the situation is that I can not.
So I got out of bed and sat at my desk to come up with my word for 2014. It was easy. The word I have chosen is “Live”. “To Live”.
When I look back over the last three years since Jack’s arrest, the first two were spent in shock followed by the necessity of figuring out how we were going to survive day by day. But something happened in 2013. I can see it clearly now: I stopped living. I allowed this “new normal” to become something hideous and allowed it to take control. My goal each day was to make it through the day so I could go back to the “safety” of my room and of my bed. That’s not living! That’s existing. And as the days wore on, depression and despair characterized my life.
So what does it take to live? Even though I’ve struggled and struggled with doubt and with what is truth and what is not truth, my mind naturally turned toward scripture. That my mind did this, was encouraging to me. A spark of life, in and of itself.
The first scripture that came to my mind was John 10:10, which states:
The thief has certainly come. To steal my joy. To kill my desire to live. To destroy my participation in the outside world. But Jesus has come that I–and you—might have LIFE–abundant life. Through certain circumstances I have allowed the thief to steal, kill and destroy–I have given the thief access to my mind. But what He can’t have is my soul, for I am a child of God’s. And as a child of God’s His desire is that I have abundant life–regardless of what the thief tries to take away from me.
And maybe, just maybe, God has allowed the thief to sift me like he sifted Job–stripping him of all things. If so, I certainly have failed the test in 2013. I don’t want to continue failing in 2014.
The other passage that came to my mind is found in Philippians 3:12-16:
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
I am far from perfect. And surprise! You are too. But because Jesus has made us His own, we are to press on. To what? Toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus—resurrection and life eternal with our God. But what I must do, what I have failed to do, is found in verse 13. I have failed to live. I have failed to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.
There is much to forget. There is much to leave behind in my life. And moving forward is just that–a strain. A powerful strain. Because it goes against my pride and my self-pity. It goes against my will and my selfishness. I want things the way they were before Jack was arrested. I want things in my life to never have happened. But that’s not reality.
What is reality is that I can continue to sit here and not live life, or I can”press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
What about you? Where are you at on this first day of 2014? Maybe it would be helpful to you to choose a word to strive for this year. Hope? Joy? Family? What is it that you need to center on for 2014?
There was a time in my life when I did not want to live. Period. And I came close to acting upon that desire. But God stayed my hand for He had other plans.
I’m at a crossroads point again with my life. I have to believe He has a plan for me. And in order for Him to fulfill that plan in my life, I need to live life abundantly.
I need to live. Chayah. (Hebrew for “to live”)