As I raced through the month of December the thought of picking another One Word for 2019 finally drifted into my heart last week. I had not even given the idea any thought at all. I’ve chosen a word, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that a word has chosen me for the last 7 or 8 years. Honestly, I didn’t even know if I was going to do the one word thing again this year. Usually by this time my heart is eager… but this year has been different. My soul is weary.
Earlier this week, as I sat quietly on the couch looking at the Christmas tree lights, my word showed up as my soul cried out for direction: I need to embrace this, Lord. This life. This moment. This everything!
Lord, that’s Your word for me.
Yesterday during my quiet time as I meditated more on that word, the Lord guided me to the book of Jeremiah. Since I’ve always had a hard time understanding and grasping all that Jeremiah writes about, I decided to read Jeremiah 31 in the Message translation. These words resonated with my tired soul.
“Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!” Jer 31:21-22 Message
“God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!” For some reason, those words spoke to me. I won’t pretend to understand them fully. I don’t. But I do know that, in this chapter, Jeremiah is continuing to encourage captives and ensuring them that God would restore them and their children to their own land. He is reminding them to remember God’s faithfulness and that their joy would be restored once again. Lord, I desperately need to embrace that message too.
Yesterday morning, as I meditated on those words, I cried out to the Lord for revelation and direction. Lord, reveal more of Yourself to me today; my soul needs it.
The revelation came in the form of a coworker who walked into my office yesterday afternoon asking me if I’d ever read the book “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.” by Ruth Haley Barton. I told him I had not. He went on to describe the book and, as he spoke, I knew that God was answering my prayer from earlier in the morning.
Here are some words from the recommended book that I read this morning: “…it is important for us to embrace spiritual transformation as a process that is a full mystery. It is a phenomenon that is outside the range of what human beings can accomplish on their own. It can only be grasped and experienced through divine intervention. God is the one who initiates and guides the process and brings it to fruition.” – Ruth Haley Barton
I then went back and read Jeremiah 31 and then these verses from Psalm 84.
“And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!” Psalm 84:5-7 Message
I then had song lyrics come to mind from Audrey Assad, For Love of You. I couldn’t quite remember how they went so I googled the lyrics. As I did, I stumbled upon another song by the same artist I had never heard before called Drawn To You. I listened to it and realized that my soul tends to live in this state of tension. I know God is faithful. I’ve seen His greatness in my life. I’ve watched Him make something out of nothing, over and over. I’ve watched my Redeemer, redeem. Yet, today, my soul struggles to embrace this Truth. I walk through a valley and all I can do is cling to His sweet hand, remain in His presence, and trust His always guiding Light.
My song on the mountain top:
“You are the highway I travel ‘Cause I watched You carve streets of gold from the sand and gravel I gave You brokenness, You gave me innocence And now this road leads to glory” For Love of You, Audrey Assad
My song through the valley:
“All my devotion is like sinking sand
I’ve nothing to cling to but Your sweet hand
No clear emotions keeping me safe at night
Only Your presence, like a candle light” Drawn to You, Audrey Assad
So this year, I seek to embrace both. The mountain top moments as well as the lonesome valleys. I embrace His sustaining grace. I embrace His work of transformation and sometimes painful sanctification, I embrace His faithfulness yesterday, today and tomorrow.