10 Jan Beginning Brave
What is it about beginnings anyway? Such a two-sided coin: all the anticipation of what good may come, with the shadows of doubt, dread, and despair lingering nearby; always poised to creep closer, frenemies forever willing to help us “keep it real.”
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
As December days passed, we started gearing up for our holiday trek to spend Christmas with my family in Kansas City. During one normal morning’s hustle shuffle, my husband came into the kitchen and commented how cheerful and contented our oldest son seemed.
“That’s because he knows what’s coming,” I responded. “It always makes a huge difference when he has something to look forward to.”
I tossed the words casually over my shoulder, but as soon as they hit the air we both paused for a nanosecond.
“Huh,” I continued. “I feel like there’s probably something more to that.”
Then on we went.
WE KNOW WHAT’S COMING
Does the start of a new year automatically usher in fresh air for your soul? Or does the looming unknown threaten to drag you deeper into faith paralysis, unwelcome prognosis, or a web of complicated pain that few know exists, and even fewer understand?
Maybe a new year doesn’t feel new at all.
He is making all things new.
We are growing up new, because His mercies are created new every. single. moment.
He is quietly overcoming, in us, all the poisonous dying Death heaves onto hope-deferred hearts.
He is reaching into this fractured, flailing world, and making new endings, one mom at a time, one child at a time, together in a symphony of souls wrestling, releasing self-sufficiency, and rising deeper in resurrection.
So we can be brave. We can welcome 2018, rebuking fear because we don’t download that from God. He is giving us power, love, and sound minds. And no matter what comes, we know what’s coming on it’s heels: victory.
“But no matter what comes, we will always taste VICTORY through Him who loved us. For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:37-39)
Does the word victory resonate with you? (It didn’t with me.) It’s a Ben-Hur conquest kind of word and hard for me to relate. When both boys fall asleep at the same time (i.e., the unicorn nap) I do feel a sense of mom victory…does that count?!
Since the concept didn’t really evoke anything for me, I looked up the Greek origin (theology major, sorry-not-sorry!) and found it comes from the Greek feminine noun Níkē.
Victory is an outworking
expression of overcoming;
the result of receiving
the in-working persuasion
that Jesus Christ bestows
Now that resonates. And it makes me smile toward the coming day (Prov 31:25) because this incremental, ever-increasing persuasion of Jesus is producing, well, everything.
WE DON’T NEED A THING
But trusting that faith is birthing victory doesn’t mean we don’t face the assault of real needs as we go.
I could give you a list of things I need (or think I need) right now. Not just one list, several lists, with well-organized headers and subcategories. You could give me your lists too. And then we could compare lists, as women often do, right? We could consider options, devise strategies, make plans, research, talk, listen, and pray, as well we should.
But underneath all those real needs, lies our deeper greater need, the need that won’t go away even if we whip our other needs lists into shape. It’s the need that’s bigger than we are, that takes a Miracle Worker who will enter our desert droughts and do what He does: create lush meadows and quiet pools in His company, so that we can honestly join the Psalmist and say:
“God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.” (Ps 23:1-3)
WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOING
Will 2018 usher in more happiness and greater ease than 2017?
How will the give and take of human experience touch us this year?
We don’t know. And the answer will look different for each of us.
So alone and together, let’s raise this anthem loud and clear:
“Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever. (Ps 73:23-24)
We know where we are going:
we’re going with Him.
And He will make us brave…