January the First, 2015
Before the children were whisked off to bed this New Year evening, we gathered around a chair at the kitchen table and opened the mason jar that had been sitting on our computer desk for 365 days.
The jar’s lid was lightly covered with a year’s worth of dust, and it is really a lucky happenstance that I had seen it hiding behind the computer last week, for its contents had been long forgotten by this addle-brained mama.
Had I really made a card for each person in our family (including my parents and grandmother) and jotted down their favorite part of 2013? And had I asked each person to share a wish for the year to come?? And had I then carefully folded up each card and placed it in the jar that was on our desk???…
Apparently, I had, and my handwriting on each card was enough to prove it.
(But I am in good company. My husband had also completely forgotten this New Year exercise. We’re compatible like that).
And it was like unlocking a short-term time capsule this evening, giving us a surprise glimpse into who we were and what we were thinking a year ago. Our children clustered around me, I screwed off the lid, popped the top, and began to pull out our words from the first day of 2014, one by one.
The children giggled as I read their cards. We had forgotten that Betsie had called my grandmother “Miss Granny Bear” last year and that her wish was to go visit her house in Texas. We couldn’t believe that our dog, Jake – and Gideon’s favorite thing about 2013 – had only been a part of our family for a year and a half. We were chagrined that we had never taken Rebekah ice-skating, her only wish for the year 2014, but assured her that we could make up for that…
and then I opened my card.
My one great wish for 2014?
“I want to have a book published.”
I smiled at my family.
“Well, I’ve almost finished writing my first book, so that’s a good start!” I laughed.
But, in my heart, I was communing silently with my Creator and thanking Him for the changes He has wrought within me since January the First, 2014.
A year ago, it had been a burning passion.
I wanted to see my name on a book. I wanted to accomplish something tangible. I wanted to succeed in the writing biz. I wanted to move from the blogging world to the publishing world.
And I wanted it bad.
But somewhere along the way, after pouring my heart and soul into the book that I have been writing since this summer, after hearing 52 incredible expository sermons from the Word of God, after being sanctified day by day by day by day by day, my desires have shifted in monumental ways so that, before I pulled that year-old wish out of the jar, I had completely lost touch with the woman who wrote those words at the beginning of the year.
I have changed, and until this evening, I didn’t realize how much.
And by the sweet grace of God, the thing I truly cherish the most about 2014 and the thing I long for the most in 2015 has nothing to do with what I will accomplish or how I will succeed or if I will ever be a published author…
but everything to do with how I have known and will know God better.
And with all these things in mind, I wanted to pop in here for a bit to offer up a word of encouragement to each of you for the year we are leaving behind and the one we face ahead…
Do you know what? It really doesn’t matter if you lost the ten pounds that you planned to lose in 2014. It doesn’t matter if you are killing it at your job. It doesn’t matter if you have managed to organize your house. I doesn’t matter if you’ve mastered the art of couponing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve found your way to a better you or gotten all your ducks in a row or have started to experience your “best life now”. It doesn’t even matter if you got your book published (or if you finished writing it!)…
but have you grown kinder?
Have you lost a bit of the zeal you had for your own name?
Have you learned to trust Him more?
Have you become more patient?
Have you learned to love your spouse better?
Have you grown bolder in your witness?
Have you developed a greater love for God’s word?
Have you persevered through difficult relationships within your church body?
Have you been conformed daily to the image of God?
Have you seen – in one or a hundred ways – His continued work in your life?
These are the things that we should measure our years by. These are the things that should cause us to rejoice at the close of one year and inspire us to pray for the opening of another. These are the fruits that we should be pursuing and wishing for. And these are the things that should allow us to close our eyes in relief and to realize that, YES, this has been an enormously successful year!
I know Him better than I did last year. His Word makes more sense to me than it ever has before. I have grown in wisdom and understanding…
I am still His, and I am still loving the one who loved me first.
Oh, friends, what more can we ask for?!
And so there is no doubt. I may not have even finished the book that I was hoping to have published yet, but 2014 turned out to be one of the most successful years I have ever experienced, and my one wish for the year to come, the wish I folded up into our empty mason jar this evening before sending the children to bed, is this…
whether my name is on a book by year’s end, whether my words ever go beyond the space they now occupy, whether the world will ever tip their hat to my accomplishments, may I strive to be an encouragement to anyone who needs it in 2015 and to pour myself out for others.
I have to tell you, I am so excited to open our jar next year and see how God has answered my prayer and granted the wish of my heart.
If, indeed, I remember by that time what that jar is behind our computer.
And now I want to leave you with my favorite photos from 2014, which is a prayer in itself.
2014 is the year that I truly became content in my calling, and this captured moment, to me, represents all that I learned and all that I am resting in today. I never want to forget what it felt like to relax and begin freely living in the life He has crafted for me, and these pictures represent that time in a tangible way.
Here is me and Betsie, cuddled up under a blanket watching the rest of our family play in the yard. I’m not wearing make-up and no one knows who I am and my name is not in lights, but this is who I want to be, forever and always. A mama who has found her home, who is rejoicing in her Kingdom work and who is finally content to the tips of her toes.
God is good, to fix our hearts.
Happy New Year from Mrs. Gore to the wonderful friends who have found a home here. You all have been a HUGE part of my sanctification and growth, and I thank God for the gift of this readership every single day. May we bring glory to our God in 2015!
And now I hope you feel free to share! How has He fixed your heart this year? What changes has He wrought? How are you hoping to live for him in the year to come?