It’s hard to adequately encompass all my thoughts about 2015 into one single blog post, but I wanted to take the time to share, reflect, remember, and praise. And for me, the best way to do so is just to write or type it out.
2015 has been the most challenging yet.
This year I lost my first grandparents, one very special Nana and one gentle and quiet Pa. They were extraordinary people who lived extraordinary lives and were extraordinarily loved by those around them. Their legacies live on in each of us, and the lessons that they left behind about the importance of family, faith, courage, hospitality, and standing for what is right even when it’s unpopular will be an honor to live out that example in my life, and the lives of my other family members.
Work is as busy as it has ever been. Not that I am complaining, because I am most certainly not, but this year has stretched me in ways I never expected, presented opportunities I never imagined, and developed areas of myself that needed to be developed and polished. My work family continues to be the most supportive, amazing, encouraging, and personally challenging bunch there is and they make me better every single day.
In my personal life, much has changed there as well. He has brought me through some storms of self-doubt, moments of tear-stained loneliness, times where I felt inadequate, not enough, and undesirable. And He has placed me on a journey that has me filling up journals and having deeply emotional and meaningful conversations with those in my life that I trust the most; my spiritual mentors, if you will.
He has validated me. Reminded me of His good gifts and reignited some long-forgotten passions within me. He has showed me all too vividly my worth and value to Him. I am worthy! It’s simply a matter of the heart like scripture says in John 15:9-11. I cannot rest my heart, my soul, my worth in any hands other than His. In any unrealistic hope that others, that people, that flawed people just like me could make my joy complete. I rest my heart in Jesus only.
I have learned that my labels come from Him, and Him only. This world will try to “figure you out”, try to label you- Single. Married. Divorced. Unemployed. Under-employed. Size 4. Size 14. 4 Facebook Likes. 40,000 Instagram followers. Beautiful. Undesirable. Everything in this temporal world is measured, is labeled, is a comparison, is designed in this grand competition we call life.
I am loved by Him.
You are loved by Him.
He doesn’t see me as Jamie, the 28 year old, incredibly flawed, single, incorrectly perceived Corporate America paper-pusher, but as His daughter. And He wants only what is for my good. His very best for me.
Now, this God-nature doesn’t automatically rend my human nature ineffective, but it is shrinking the need of those other labels that I covet.
With that notion of erasing my labels, He then has taken me on a journey of surrender, and of sacrifice.
We find ourselves in the season of Advent, and I have been doing 2 Bible studies simultaneously for the last several weeks- She Reads Truth Advent Study & The Covenant Study by Precept Ministries. In it, we draw parallels from the Old Covenant in the Old Testament between God & Abraham and how Jesus Christ in the New Testament, coming as a baby is the fulfillment of all He promised back in Genesis. Jesus is the true and better Abraham, the true and better Jacob, the true and better Moses, and is our Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!
I am struck each time anew as I read the story of Abraham taking Isaac, his long-awaited son, the fulfillment of God’s covenant to he and his offspring, and offering his son on the altar as an act of incredibly obedience and faith in God. Abraham believed so deeply and so fully that He knew if Isaac was the answer, if He was the seed, that the Lord would resurrect Him. That is how much He trusted the Lord.
And that is the key in all that He has brought me through this year. Trust.
Jamie, trust in me. Abide in me. I want only good for you, nothing to harm you. You just have to trust & obey.
What is it that we need to sacrifice on the altar of God this year?
What is it that we need to trust Him with?
What aspect of ourselves needs to be slain on that altar for Him to resurrect into something even greater?
Would I be willing to sacrifice the things that I hold the most dear if the Lord asked me to?
I don’t know about you, but I feel like this time of year as we end one year and turn the page for the next, is just about the perfect time to make these sorts of decisions, determine these priorities, and to reset ourselves.
Just as Isaac, Jesus too could have preserved His life and not lay it down willingly, but He surrendered and prayed that the will of the Father would be done. God spared Isaac, but because of His great love for us, He did not spare His own son; a sacrifice abounding in love and mercy.
No sacrifice we can ever make will ever trump the sacrifice Christ made on the cross.
But, daily, we must come to that cross, to that crossroads of trust. Over and over. In the midst of the known and the unknown. In good times and in bad. We can safely surrender and find complete rest in God’s great and unfailing love.
May we all choose that in 2016, and every single day, week, month, and year moving forward.
Blessings to you and yours!
“God Himself will provide the lamb…” – Genesis 22:8