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It’s the New Year. 

Everyone is posting their great notes and how-to’s for the new year.  All the great revelations for the upcoming year and reflections upon the past year are being posted.  I think that’s great.

But, for me it’s January 4. A normal day. Hump day.

Kids have started back to school. I am getting my house back in order after Christmas festivities and guests and chaos. nhhguo-2ypw-andy-fitzsimon

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I’ve got a wedding to plan.

They needed a wedding planner. My son is getting married to the love of his life in exactly 46 days. I’m calling caterers and bakers and paying florists and receiving wedding invitations in the mail and getting ready to shoot them off to guests in the mail.

And laundry is going and the dog is being walked and I’m helping my Honey roll out the many law group projects he envisions.

 You know how it all goes. We all wear a hundred different hats.

Life just keeps moving regardless of the calendar.   It doesn’t really matter that it is January 4 and great life wisdom for the year needs to be made and written down in a journal.

But, in the middle of it all, I am listening.  I am still listening.

I have no great big introspection to bust out as of yet. I’m working on slowly hearing what I need to hear for my life. You can’t rush great revelation!

I don’t make resolutions.  It only sets me up for failure.  Anybody relate with me on this one? I quit doing that a long time ago. That’s so 1990-something for me.

Probably pre-baby era.

But, I will tell you what I am doing.

I am taking time. 

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In the middle of all the crazy normal (and not so normal) life goings-on I am taking moments to turn on the worship music, make a hot drink, light some warm candles and read Scripture and devotionals and journal my thoughts.

Praying and listening with my spirit to hear what God is saying to me.  Right now I am trying to determine a word or words that might give direction for my year.

Listening for a word or words that would give me focus and that would infuse some faith into my spirit for the days of 2017.

So, I am being more focused, more intentional.  I am being more determined to make the time to listen. I am intent on hearing from God and finding direction.

photo-1447600514716-ca6f3974c346Last year was one for the books.  I really don’t ever need one like that again.  But, as I say that, my heart is quickly hastened to add there were blessings added I never saw coming. And blessings in the works that I didn’t realize I would need at the time I would need them, but God did and orchestrated their timing. So, even though, much rain came, God sent grace and provision.  He had people and resources waiting for just the right moment and season.

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And as I look into 2017, I hold in my hands all the beautiful grace Christ gave in 2016.

So, on January 4, I don’t have great proclamations of how to go about your year and what to give up and what to grab ahold of.  All I know is take time to see what God would say to you. He works personally for each one of us.

2017 is not 2016.

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I have two different Scriptures I am holding on to for my new upcoming year.  That is as far as I have gotten.   I’d say it is a pretty great start. I feel certain they are to guide my new year. Here they are:

Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands. (Isaiah 43:19, The Message)

Get up, my dear friend,
    fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over;
    the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
    The whole world’s a choir—and singing!
Spring warblers are filling the forest
    with sweet arpeggios.
Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,
    and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms.
Oh, get up, dear friend,
    my fair and beautiful lover—come to me!
Come, my shy and modest dove—
    leave your seclusion, come out in the open. (Songs 2: 10-14, The Message)

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I will let these Scriptures guide my thoughts. And let me tell you, they have already been challenged in this first week of the year! But, I am returning to them over and over.  Isaiah 40:8 reminds us , “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”

 I encourage you to take time to listen to what Christ would want to speak to you.  Maybe you haven’t had a whole lot of time to spend searching for a great revelation.  Just take a few moments to quiet your heart. Invest moments in yourself. Invest in your year– it will help chart the course for your year.

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I was feeling particularly low going into the new year’s eve weekend.  I was focused more on the challenges and hurt of 2016.  It was hard. There were deep disappointments—the most being from people.  And that was my focus. I was weary. My heart was heavy. It had become too much of my focus. And a year of reviewing the pain was getting burdensome. In an effort to relinquish the hurt, I prayed an honest, broken prayer laying in my bed.

cse3okq03oq-riley-briggsAs I have begun the new year, my attention has begun to shift. It is as if a literal shift has taken place on a physical calendar in my heart and mind. As in a turning of the page over to a new year on a new calendar, so is my attention.

I encourage you to do the same. Look ahead to what God has for you in 2017.

I press on to what is ahead.

I honestly have no idea what this year holds or what is on the horizon. I can’t even begin to imagine what God has planned. The slate has pretty much been wiped clean over the past year. So, I think I will buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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Change your focus.  It just may change your heart.

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Withering Cherry Trees!

 

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Sometimes I look around and become, well, unhappy.  Dissatisfied.  Discontented.  Ungrateful.

Do you ever do this?

I see the laundry still hanging out long after its dry.  I see the messy rooms just begging for me to put some order back to them.  I look at my vehicle.  It’s not the newest or shiniest—it has driven my family a lot of miles.  It has some scuffs and little scratches and even a dent someone put in it and didn’t bother to leave a note.  I have some drawers that are sticking and not closing right.  And, gosh, the to do list.  It could use some whittling down.  Due to all of those many miles I taxi, and my own responsibilities, I can’t seem to figure out how to cook healthful meals as much as I want.  And let’s not mention, a few pounds may have been added.  I have a pile, or maybe a couple, that house several “to handle later” items.  I hate those.

You get the picture.  Life.  It is going mighty fast. Some days stuff just falls through the cracks.  Maybe it’s just us.  But, I’m not thinking so.  My husband has a favorite saying.  I have to admit, it can drive me crazy.  God love the man.  He’s right.  We don’t always want to hear it.  But, he’s right.

Here it is.  “You are going to have to reframe.” 

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God bless this man of mine.  Yes, sometimes, I think if I have to hear that again, I may fall over dead. Right there, right then.  One time I told him I already knew that.  I knew all of his tips and tricks, but I just needed a good cry. Dr. Husband let me have that good cry.  All of that minutia and wounded-ness from self-criticism had taken its toll.  I had hit the tipping point and had NO interest in reframing ANYTHING!! (It may not have been said in an inside voice.)

Well, he’s right.  In life, we are faced with stuff.  The detritus of this crazy life.  In the natural life, too much stuff, too many cracks for things to fall through, it all piles up.  In the emotional life, we are faced with the constant refrain of “not good enough.”  And it all seems to add up to “NEVER good enough.”

I have a passage of Scripture that I love.  I think you will, too.  Habakkuk 3:17-19:

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted.  Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty.  I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.  Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.  I run like a deer.  I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

I know this passage is talking about seasons of life when provision is low and they are depending on God to save the day.  But, it sure seems to fit life when things are not as we would like them and we just desperately need His help to reframe.

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So, look at the line where the focus changes.

It says, “I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.“  And from there to the end of the passage, the writer has done some major reframing.  Dr. Husband is right.  Imagine that!  It’s true, you know.

Reframing is the key to taking the ugly and untidy, worn and used and shining them up to beauty. 

I can look at any given situation—whether it’s the ginormous mess or the task overlooked, again and again or the critics who are unkind and careless—and look at it in ugly, harsh tones.  Or, I can do some editing and enhancing, shifting the shading, perhaps zoom in or zoom out.  It’s my choice.  I can put the frame around it in a new and pardigm-shifting perspective.

We can look at the mess OR we can look at the blessing that caused the mess.

Our choice.

I’m choosing to look at the blessing that caused the inconvenience or mess or extra work or busy-ness.  It’s amazing how my heart takes strength and God gives me just what I need to keep going.  Many people don’t have the blessings I do and would appreciate a little inconvenience.  I’m afraid the things I complain about, someone else may be praying for.  Reframe.

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We are going into the beautiful holiday season.  My very favorites of the year!  Many are clued into the “30 days of Thanksgiving”.  I’m all for it.  It’s important.  But, honestly, gratitude and joy are the gifts of reframing any time of the year.  God has these beautiful gifts waiting for us and we bypass them every time we choose the lifeless, flat perspective of not reframing.

I’ll repeat Dr. Husband, “You are going to have to reframe.”

Ugly shifts.  Hard softens.  And gratitude and joy slip in and sidle up next to you.

It really is all in the reframing.

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