It's only January 21, but the new year has already ushered in a host of changes. I started a new job in a new industry in downtown Nashville, and (drumroll, please) we are engaged! Within one week, I accepted my new job offer, gave my notice at work, and Charles proposed. Needless to say, the Christmas season felt extra special with friends and family this year.
I've taken the past few weeks to soak up our engagement and focus on being present. The blog has taken a back seat because of that, but I'm ready to post as regularly as I can in 2018. I love this little space, and I'm so grateful to each of you joining me on the journey.
The Lord has been teaching me so much in the past few weeks. I picked up my very first Powersheets One-Year Intentional Goal Planner at the end of the year, and I've been excitedly walking through the prep work since then. I first heard about their creator and author Lara Casey from my sister. Lara is an amazing mom, wife, entrepreneur, and sweet Christian. And her Powersheets have always intrigued me because their focus is on cultivating what really matters, with practical action steps.
She gave me the idea for a word of the year a few years ago. Last year I chose "rooted," and the Lord truly used that word throughout those 12 months. I wrote in my journal:
He did absolutely that—He grew the roots deep and allowed me to blossom in Him. He grew my relationship with Charles, He grew my understanding and love of His word, and He grew my process of healing and restoration.
As I've sat and really contemplated what my word might be in 2018, God has reminded me of His faithfulness. He's reminded me how very big He is and how very small I am. And how's that a very good thing. He's brought me back to the start, to Genesis, to show me how much He's weaving His story and our stories from beginning to end.
One word has popped up over and over for me:
(1) Firmly fixed in place: immovable.
(2) Firm in belief, determination, or adherence: loyal.
Synonyms include: faithful, devoted, steady, true, firm, constant, unwavering.
I’m making my way through Genesis, and no story better illustrates steadfastness to me than that of Abraham and Sarah. God chose Abraham to be the father of all nations, whose offspring would number more than the stars in the sky. The only problem? Both Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were old and childless. In Genesis 18, the Lord says to them that He will return in a year’s time, and Sarah will have a son. Sarah actually laughs at God, knowing she’s way past childbearing age. God speaks to them quite boldly:
God had changed Abram’s name to Abraham, from “high father” to “father of a multitude.” He had changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, from “princess” to “mother of all nations.” You know when God changes someone’s name in the Bible, He’s about to do something big. He changes names because He changes hearts. He writes the story. He makes history.
With Sarah and Abraham, God was faithful. He gave them a son, Isaac. He came back to Sarah exactly as He said He would and at the very time that He had set (Genesis 21).
God is firm, true, unwavering. He is constant, and He is loyal, even when we falter. No matter what our lives look like, God is there. No matter what changes we go through or ups and downs we face, He remains the same.
God is the very definition of steadfast.
He is not slow to fulfill His promises, but He works on His own timetable. He wants all to be saved. (2 Peter 3:9) The Christian Standard Bible translates this verse in a way that really stands out: “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”
God is patient, and His timing is always the best. I fail to believe this sometimes. I want to do things my way, according to my own schedule. What I want, when I want. For example, I felt a tug on my heart that He was going to send me out from my full-time ministry job into a secular environment. I prayed about that for 10 months in 2017 before receiving an offer and trusting it was what God had asked me to step into it. God is much bigger and greater than me.
Think of Abraham and Sarah: waiting on God’s perfect timing was absolutely worth it. They had to go through difficulties before Isaac was born. The same is true for us. I know 2018 will hold more changes. Suffering will happen. I can find hope knowing God is still the same.
I pray God cultivates steadfastness in me like His son, Jesus. This year, I pray my faith is resolutely firm. I want to be devoted to God no matter the situation or season. His love for us is unwavering—I want that kind of love for Him in return. I know I am prone to worry and anxiety. I like to be in control. But God, I give that to You.
Lord, help me to stand firm in the faith. Guard me against sin and temptation and keep me focused on you. Give me steadfastness. Endurance for the fight and total surrender to the King.
That's the life I want to live in 2018: steadfast and true.