Happy New Year! I am so excited for all that the Lord has planned to come in 2017!
Yes, I am aware that we’re three weeks into the New Year but, I am getting around to it now. This post is a little late, but I have a good reason for it. The un-mailed Christmas cards on my desk; I have no excuse.
I’ve always loved January. It is not only a month that we all begin new projects, adventures and life changes, but it’s also my birth month! I find that since I am born so close to the New Year, I use my birthday – tomorrow – as the beginning of my new year, and the day to start my resolutions. I like every year, from birthday to birthday be filled with new changes, new adventures and new growth. Most years share in the ebb and flow of life, and mistakes and great joy. Most years share in new words from the Lord that help lead me on.
This last year filled my heart with new delights, lots of love and a lot of hard changes. And in those changes, God faithfully stood beside me as I grew and is here as He is still pruning.
I want this year’s resolutions to be like a camera. Resolution of a camera, or image refers to the pixels in the image, or the sharpness of every pixel. Now if you’re not into photography, that’s okay, just stay with me.
The more pixels in the image, help make it clearer, and less blurry. I want my 22nd year to hold more detail, more pieces in the picture of my life. I want the resolution of this year to be clear, and focused. I don’t want to have blurry or missing pieces this year. Now for me, that means I want to zoom into the important things in life – Jesus, marriage, family, and friends. I want to grow in my marriage with Zach so that we are magnifying the Lord in our love. I want our family to get stronger and more focused on His mission for our life. I want to grow in friendships; both making new ones and maintaining the old ones.
I want to remove the blurry parts, the parts that are not healthy for me. The laziness, the boredom, and the ignorance of what is good, and righteous for the Lord. As I focus in on the Lord more this year, I want to show more of Him in the image of the year. My resolutions would not be possible without the Lord and therefore, I want Him to be the largest part of my new year.
One of the largest resolutions that I am working on, is memorizing more of God’s Word. I love learning more and ultimately, we are called to have His work written on our hearts, and minds. We are to meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:3). But do we? I am at fault as much as the next person. I make excuses for not reading my Bible, or memorizing the Word to help me grow as a godly woman.
But that needed to stop. So, I took my 22nd Resolution seriously and began memorizing verses, and chapters of the Bible. I hope to memorize 52 new passages this year.
As I am four weeks into this, I am reminded of the character of our Father. His love, compassion and outreaching safety. Isaiah 41:10 talks about God upholding us in His righteous right hand, and strengthening us to help us. Take that in for a second. The Lord of the UNIVERSE wants to help you, give you strength and uphold you. WOW! He cares for us so much, and the least I could do is set aside some of my time to spend it with Him and learn more of His generous nature.
Over Christmas, Zach was generously given 11 days off of paid time off through work. So, he took the last half of December off and we spent it together. Now, I’m not going to lie, there were days we bickered about plans and the laundry piled, dishes stacked and the trash smelled. But, these two and a half weeks that I got to spend with my husband – lazily or busy – meant the world to me.
Zach took me up to Mt. Hood, here in Oregon and we frolicked in the snow. I was homesick, so he did his best to bring me a piece of home – mountains and snow. His generosity and love for me was evident as he sacrificed his time to make me happy. I felt God’s hand comfort us as we got to enjoy His creation and alone time together.
We also got to cut our own tree down – my first ever! This was another blessing, as we were able to walk up and down rows of Douglas Fir’s, Blue Spruces, and Pine Trees to find the one that fit us. That time exploring with my family-in-love warmed my heart as it began to ache for the familiarity of home.
Christmas brought new emotions, memories and traditions. As Christmas morning, I woke up to my husband, the birthday boy – yes Zach is a Christmas baby. And yes, he gets twice the presents (not that it matters, but everyone asks) – to make cinnamon buns for my family-in love.
As I kneaded, rolled, and baked the cinnamon buns, my own Christmas memories washed over me. Memories that became traditions. Traditions that I want to continue. As a child, my mum woke up early every year to make us fresh sticky buns. No matter her feelings towards mornings, she woke up to make sure my brother, dad and myself had warm, scrumptious Christmas buns. And so far, Christmas morning isn’t complete without the smell of freshly baked buns.
Even though I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas in similar ways of the past, but in a new country and with a new somebody, I felt God’s hands around me. He gave me so many things to be thankful for and amidst all the changes. He is constant, He is faithful and He is present in every second. He truly was the only gift I wanted. But He lavished me with a caring husband, a and a generous, stupendous family-in-love.
Christmas isn’t about the gifts under the perfectly decorated – or lopsided – tree, the location of where you wake up, or what you eat for breakfast. Christmas is not about any of those things, and yet, we make it to be. We turned Christmas into a day that serves our lives. We focus on what we want and what we didn’t get where as we should look to giving to others. And giving doesn’t mean gifts, it means giving love, time and patience. Giving is submitting our selfish desires and uplifting those who are lonely, sick and needy. I received a lot of giving this year as my family-in-love showered me with kindness, love and time. Those gifts are some of the things that I too want to share in my 22nd Resolution.
God filled my heart with the love of my husband, and family to help take away the homesickness. And it was in the homesickness that I realized, I still get Christmas wrong. My thoughts on Christmas have been about going home, to Calgary. Waking up in my polka dot bedroom and running down to mum’s warm breakfast and hugs. But that isn’t Christmas. Those are memories. Good memories, but I want to make more and not be so focused on the past.
My family-in-love on Christmas morning, 2016.
I want my 22nd Resolution to help straighten out what Jesus, Christmas and being a Christian should be in all of our minds. Christmas is about our Saviour! The fact that Jesus came into this imperfect world in a humble way – in a dirty manger – to grow and mature in the Lord and then one day, save from our sin, through dying on a tree. Christmas is reserved for Jesus. It’s a complete miracle that He came into this world in a way worthy of a King, from the KING. This is the first pixel that I need to resonate on to help build a great photo this year.
This past month, has shown me the providence of God. He heard my prayers and He is filling in the pieces of my 22nd Resolution. The pixels of my life, the details of my life and the joy of my life are forming because of Him. He loves me enough to work in my life, change it, challenge it and strengthen it, so that I am the woman He wants – and the woman I want.
My resolutions don’t involve much more than focusing in on the Lord and His will for my life. I want to share with you joy and a pieces of the hardships that I face as I am growing. This holiday season reminded me of where I need to have God, and how hard I will work to keep Him in the centre of my photo. His will is my resolution.
What are your resolutions? Do you need to refocus in on something this new year? The amazing part of the Lord are His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and He will remember your sins no more! (Isaiah 43:25, and Hebrews 8:12). I am reminding you of these passages because even when you fail – like I do – God is faithful and HE will give you a second chance. So just because you missed January 1st to start your resolutions, don’t let your excuses stop you, and God will meet you where you are to help you walk forward in His will.
I hope that your holidays were filled with warmth and comfort from our Lord. I also hope that you are able to look at your life and focus in on the important pixels that will help you this year. I pray that you are able to hear the voice of the Lord grow louder and direct you further into your purpose. Don’t let your resolution be blurry, but clear and lovely.