This time of year I ask God to reveal a special word for me to hold onto, to ponder, welcome, write about, and live. This past year the word was "embrace."
I embraced change --not eagerly. I selfishly didn't want my daughter to move to Florida, but she has been thriving there in the area of trusting God.
Thanks to my sons who pastor their parents sometimes, and for my daughters who intercede, I embraced forgiveness and freedom from strongholds which meant first repenting of unbelief (that of thinking some things would never change for the good, no matter what).
I embraced a new job that I love, tutoring Chinese kids I've come to love and who now understand something about Jesus, starting with how his name is pronounced!
Rather than resist, I embraced turning 50, and the grey hairs that began multiplying with each sunrise. I turned my back on my pride that would cause me to do things the "safe way," the familiar way, where I would operate in my strengths rather than embracing my weaknesses and working to strengthen them.
I embraced a ministry that requires several hours a month to feed homeless and/or needy people, and I look forward to creating many more tasty meals with my ministry partner Debbie who is also a "theme girl".
I embraced the reality that we will all face death, and some of us the death of a spouse, so I got serious about my marriage as never before, embracing my husband as my best friend and not trying to change him any more but to love him more than ever before. ( I'm a slow study--took me 28.5 years to accept us both as we are.)
I embraced the signing of a will-- which I'd dreaded, but which ended up being a huge relief and a gift to us and our children and future grandchildren.
Most importantly, I have embraced the love of God and the firm belief that He is not angry with me any more, and that I can't "do more and be better" in order to please Him. He delights in me because I'm His. I never got that before. Bits and pieces, yes, but my past was always tripping me up. I used fall asleep under a blanket of guilt, of having not measured up. Now I fall asleep telling God I love Him and Asking Him to sing me to sleep, or by praying for others till I can't anymore because I'm asleep. I've embraced a love for Him, for my family, for my friends, for strangers, that was lacking before this year. It was there but I wasn't embracing full-on love because I was afraid of being hurt, or criticized. I feel like I'd been in a cocoon, self-protective, barely growing. But in 2016 there's been a personal metamorphosis in my life-- I broke out of that cocoon and grew wings. This metamorphosis can be summed up in the word "embrace." Praise to the One who has created this miraculous change!
Jesus loves me, this I know!