At the beginning of each year God gives me a word. I don't pick the word; He gives it to me. That's an important distinction to make because this is not a word I pick as a resolution. I don't select words that will help me become a better version of myself; He picks a word that tells me how I am going to draw nearer to Him. January 2017 that word was alignment.
I was excited for this word. God was going to help me align with Him. What an amazing privilege right? God was going to pull me close and we were going to conquer the world for the glory of His name...together.
The shininess of this word soon tarnished when I realized that alignment required work. In order to align me with Himself, God had to test me. He wanted to take me to a new level but couldn't do that until he realigned my heart. I didn't realize how much I was looking to others for guidance, relationship, validation, direction...I didn't realize the areas of my life that I was focusing on anything but Him. But like a gentle father he whispered the way forward towards alignment with Him, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
As the year progressed "alignment" started to feel as if it's real spelling was "loss". One by one God stripped away people and things I was holding dear. He allowed blatant hurtful betrayals to show me that I was putting my hope and searching for acceptance in the wrong people. All this hurt left a girl wailing to her heavenly papa, "What the H E double hockey sticks is going on? I have been following, I have been obedient, I have been asking for your refinement when I mess up, my life is showing the fruit of following you...why are you letting me hurt like this?"
Before you go quoting band aide scripture like, "In this life you will have sorrow, or pick up your cross and follow me", let me tell you one thing I am not leaving in 2017. I am not leaving the habit of taking time to mourn and process loss. Before you start fretting that the Monday Night Bible teacher has lost her hope let me assure you that my faith stands unshaken in spite of my pain...might I even say it has grown deeper roots. Yes. Roots that delve deep into the soil of a loving God so that my arms can reach upward towards the light even when the winds are whaling.
Pushing through the hardened soil of broken places in my heart and curling around boulders broken thought processes hidden beneath the surface was a laborious process. Here is where the magic happened though. In the surrender to the process.
As I mourned the relationships God took away, I let them go. He replaced them with new relationships of people that speak life and scripture over me instead of doubt and criticism. As I questioned God's process of allowing pain He showed me how to count it all joy. As learned to live with unreconciled relationships God showed me His heart for those not reconciled to Him. As My ugly thought processes surfaced God showed me that a desperate need for His grace is not just for the unsaved, but for all of us. Everyday. Every moment.
It wasn't until New Year's Day 2018 that I felt a completion of the word God gave me in January 2017. It was then that "alignment" started feeling like it was spelled "freedom".
Freedom to stop relying on people and start loving them.
Freedom to walk away from people that were hurting me.
Freedom to let God define my truth and not others.
Freedom to be broken and whole, weak and strong, all at the same time.
Freedom to wrestle with my truth about myself and replace it with God's.
Freedom to mourn.
Freedom to heal.
Freedom to trust the process.
Freedom to welcome new people into my life.
Freedom to celebrate my wins.
Freedom to praise a loving God that desired for me to come into deeper alignment with Him.
Alignment has led to a new me, a New Year, and a new word. REVERENCE. On January 1, 2018 God gave me a new appreciation for alignment with Him and a deeper sense of awe and wonder of His majesty. With reverence comes the fear of the Lord. Not a horror movie kind of fear, but a change the way I live and think kind of fear. A change the way I lead and love kind of transformation. I'm ready Lord, let's do this!
I'm just a girl, standing before my God, knowing that He loves me and wanting others to know that love too.