As many other of you were stashing ornaments, considering New Year’s resolutions, 2017 goals, or perhaps your one word for the new year, our Christmas celebration was just gearing up – the first of our GRANDS arriving on December 29.
In the midst of joyful chaos, kid-friendly fun, loads of laundry, and even more trips for groceries, the Holy Spirit continued to whisper – his still, small voice discernible even over the galloping of little feet.
His four (not new) words he whispered to me reminded, directed, and comforted.
“For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy one of Israel,
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.'”
Isaiah 30:15a (underlines mine)
Returning – My early-in-the-day habit of pondering and celebrating God’s love waned as my new alarm clock now had two tiny feet and wanted to cuddle while watching the antics of Mickey Mouse.
Two year old Ezra often reminded me of God’s heart as he came close and put up his hands and begged, “I hold you?” Ezra speak for, Will you pick me up and hold me tight? What a great picture of God’s desire for me. He wants me to be close and held tightly by his love. I’m returning to this habit of celebrating his love.
Rest – I need physical rest; I also need spiritual rest. While physical rest is easier to define and measure, I’m finding it is connected with spiritual rest. I practice spiritual rest as I take time to review the words God has spoken to me in the past and listening for how the speak to my now. I often ask myself questions like, How might today look if I believe these words? Shelly Miller reminds me in her book, Rhythms of Rest, quoting Jan Johnson, “When there is Sabbath rest in my life, I find ministry springs forth from a spiritual place rather than a frantic, flesh-driven place” (p. 85). This is my heart; rest is essential.
Quietness – Oh how I need this! I start my early-in-the-day habit in the quietness of my special room. My favorite chair facing the triple window and with coffee in hand I sit and stare at the beauty God created for that day. It’s a time of enjoying and just being.
At other times, our Golden Retriever, Lexie, is a good companion for me in this area. She looooooves her walks. And the paths through the woods behind our home offer daily life-giving doses of quiet. Inside or outside, quietness restores my soul.
Trust – Every time our kids planned outings for their littles, they invited me along. I so wanted to go and be with them! But sometimes my wise husband suggested not. Sue, take advantage of a few hours of quiet. His protection was right; it was what I needed. Trust – protected – the way I want to live.
As I contemplated these four nouns, for the first time I believe God chose a word for me for 2017 that encapsulates returning, rest, quietness, and trust. I’m not planning how to live this word; I’m trusting God to show me how to experience this word. I’m excited. My word is rest.
The kids are back to their homes; no more bed-time books and songs. The gallop they brought is history. But life still gallops – now my gallop travels a different landscape. I’m looking forward to learning to rest in the reality of this gallop.
As you look forward to this new year, what are you anticipating?
Have you made goals for 2017, or possibly heard a word from God?
Do you want to partner together by praying for each other as we experience God this year?
Answer in the comments, or email me at suetell.com. I’d love to journey with you.