Be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged . . .
We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us.
2 Chronicles 32:7,8
These verses encouraged me onward as my word for 2015 came into focus. I did not want this to be the word for me. In fact, just last night I told Steve that I wanted to change it to butterflies or rainbows or pray.
I’ve had years of healing and hope. There has been a year to embrace. There were a lot of dry, desert years that I look back on with amazement that I continued to keep going and am still here to tell about it.
This year it is time to return to those places in my story, continuing to more fully understand where I have been, where I am, where I am going.
Let each generation tell its children your mighty acts.
Let them proclaim your power.
I began counseling in the spring of ’07 and intentional story work in 2011. I turned 40 that year, and the change in me from January to December was vast. I credit that to my Journey work and the groundwork laid by people who loved me and events that shaped me that year.
That was the year I went to China, took a birthday cruise with my sisters, traveled to Texas to celebrate one of Steve’s friends, met Cynthia, attended the Journey for the first time, and began to view my story through a new lens.
All that I had been crying out to God about for so many years began to be more completely and fully answered.
Of course, I believe that God has been with me every step of my journey; there is no other explanation for why I continued to keep trying, but 2011 was the first year that I noticed a significant change in me from the beginning of the year to the end.
No longer was it my body, great with child, preparing to birth another person, but it was my heart, great with feeling, ready to birth my story.
No longer did the first page of my new journal cry out for something, ANYTHING, from God in the new year, only to remain stuck in the sameness.
No longer did my pen go silent, leaving gaping holes in the story I was so desperately trying to find.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness.
It’s my turn to share what has felt neither wonderful nor good but has brought me to a place of wonder at the goodness of God.
To do that, I must re-turn.
return: to come or go back to a place or person
There are places and people in my story to go back to. I need to revisit and rename them with integrity and kindness.
return: to turn one’s attention back to something
There are scenes in my story that are asking me to pay attention. It’s time to look at them more closely and to learn what they are trying to teach me.
return: give, put, or send (something) back to a place or person
There are memories swirling around that need to be held, understood, and sent back to their proper place in my story.
return: the action of giving, sending, or putting something back
Here is the practical piece where I involve the family. This house needs to work on putting things back where they belong. We need to return objects to their proper location, and if there is no proper location, we need to find one!
It’s not a glamorous word. It may not make sense to anyone else, and that’s okay. Does this word scare me? Absolutely! But it’s time. In case I was still on the fence about it, Monday’s reading confirmed what I knew deep down.
I am the Lord, and I do not change . . . now return to me,
and I will return to you.
How kind of God to affirm my choice in that way!
As I look ahead at what it means to return this year, I hope to do the following:
Did I just sneak six more words under the radar?
What about you, Friends? Where do sense God leading you or returning you to? Take courage!
You are not alone!