The sun has set on 2016. It has been a wonderful year beginning with moving into our beautiful new home. Throughout the year many doors have opened, opportunities have been given and blessings have been felt. And in the midst of it all, I have learned….A LOT.
–I’ve learned a lot of about focus. It’s very important to focus on the big picture. The big picture being your relationship with the Lord and His will for you. So often it’s easy to get tripped up on the little things or even the big messes. These things we fixate on is where the enemy is waiting in the wings to grab hold of you. When our focus sways, so does everything else. Even when we are in the midst of trials, stress, messes or whatever it is – God is there. Our precious Lord is in the midst of that mess with you. Don’t miss Him. While in the midst of this trial you’re facing right now, it may be hard to even breathe sometimes yet we must not miss the fact the He merely wants us to turn to Him, focus on Him and cry out His name. Focus on Him – never lose sight. Seek Him with all your heart!
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
-I’ve learned that there are a lot of hurting hearts out there and many times they are quietly suffering. Oh how that makes my own heart hurt. If you just bend your ear a little, you can hear the hurt and quite possibly be a voice of hope. You see, when we live out grace and tender mercy our attitudes change and our understanding broadens. It’s so easy to just give an answer of “I’m great” or “fine” when we are passing each other in the hallway or the grocery store aisle and so often that’s a lie. And It’s even easier to keep walking and not truly dig in and say “no really, how are you?” Why can’t we be more transparent? Why do we feel like we have to act a certain way or pretend all is well? In learning the magnitude of hurt out there, I’ve began to pray that the Lord will allow me to be a beacon of hope wherever He takes me. I’ve began to pray that the Lord will stop me in my tracks of busyness if necessary to hear a heartache of a friend, a neighbor or whomever crosses my path so that I can come to the Throne of Grace with them and maybe just maybe they can experience that same peace, joy and freedom I do. Let others see Jesus in you.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
-I’ve learned a lot about friendship or rather I should say I have gained a renewed perspective. Friendship is a sacred precious gift from the Lord that should be treasured. It is something to invest in and something to not give up on. My circle of friends is a very small one but I am very okay with that. It is about quality not quantity. 2016 was a year I spent praying specifically about and for friendship. Can I share a sweet story about one of my dear friends and how the Lord used her to speak to me this year? A few months ago I received a text from this precious friend that lives many many states away. We don’t get to talk very much or see each other a lot but we often send text messages of prayer requests we have or just sweet notes of love and encouragement to each other. Well this particular day she sent me a text that was totally out of the blue but totally perfect timing. You see, for several days I’d been quietly hurting over a particular past friendship that I’d lost. I had been desperately praying for the Lord to help me see Him in this ugly mess that was made. It was then that the Holy Spirit led my sweet friend to send this beautiful message that you may not quite understand all of but I just wanted you to understand that magnitude of it.
She sent me this text after a nudge from the Holy Spirit not knowing how I’d take it nor that I was struggling with this very subject at that very moment. I sat in my car just weeping at the tenderness of it, the perfectness of it and the beauty of it. She simply obeyed a nudging from the Holy Spirit to 1) pray for me and 2) send me a beautiful note of love and encouragement on the very subject that my heart was aching for. In this very moment everything about friendship made sense to me. When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a beautiful thing. He used my precious friend to speak to me and send me a little love note that yes – He heard my cries and He is at work. When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a valuable tool. We can pray for each other, we can build each other up, we can sense the Holy Spirit telling us to reach out when our friends need and we can even pray over other broken friendships because we love each other. ~~Friendship is incredible when we allow the Lord to be a part of it.~~
…….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9
–I’ve learned that the Lord’s not looking for extraordinary ultra-talented squeaky clean people. But instead, simply lovers of Him who lay down their own broken selves in order to point others towards Him. Simply those who will bring glory only to Him not taking it for themselves.
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11
More than anything I know that I will never be perfect, but Jesus is. I will never be strong enough, but Jesus is. I will never be enough, but He absolutely is.
Two and a half years ago I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and said “How did I get here?” Today, as I look back over 2016, looking forward to 2017; I can look in the mirror and say with freedom and JOY “How did I get here?” The answer to the first question was selfish, awful, evil motives where my focus had turned from Jesus Christ to Dawn Spicer. The answer now is hard work, obedience, and more than anything a fierce, relentless, redeeming love of a gracious, life-breathing God. It’s like looking in the mirror at the transformation and realizing that nothing I’ve done or am doing is changing me but instead everything He is doing is changing me.
And with that, as the sun rises on 2017, I say hello with great anticipation.