every year on the first of the year, i take some time to get quiet and listen, to read the Word and pray over my coming year, and ask God what He wants to do in it. i try not to have an agenda - not to spend too much time telling Him what i want out of the year - tho we do talk about that, too - but to really listen. and then i journal about it, so i will remember.
today i was reading through that journal and found this, for 2011:
"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."
- Ecclesiastes 3:1
as i read through the verses following this one today, i found myself picking out the times and seasons I'm hoping for this year:
a time to be born. a time to plant. a time to heal. a time to build. a time to laugh. a time to dance. (i'm not so sure about the whole stones thing...) a time to embrace. a time to search. a time to keep. a time to mend. a time to speak. a time to love. a time for peace.
i know we can't pick our seasons. they come to us as God wills them, and we learn and we grow through all of them. but so much of the past two years have been so hard, even in their goodness, and i would so just love a year of Jubilee. a year when debts are cancelled and work is less intense and joy and celebration abound. it would be such a gift.
there are so many things in this chapter that resonate with my spirit and give me hope.
the Year of the Lord's favor brings: healing for broken hearts, freedom, release from darkness, vengeance we don't have to take (because God handles it), God's favor, comfort, beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. we go on display, showing God's splendor. things long ruined are repaired. devastation is reversed. we see and experience His faithfulness. we are saved. good things grow.
it is a beautiful season. and i think it is what You are promising me this year.
and so my word for this year is HOPE.
God, You know all the things I am hoping for.
it hasn't been QUITE the Year of Jubilee i'd hoped for thus far - but there have been amazing moments in it. new friendships. amazing conversations with some awesome women of God. bursts of sunshine every now and again between cloudy days. today i am counting my blessings - because sometimes we just need to. it's that whole "remembering the deeds of the Lord" thing from Psalm 77 again. the Israelites rehearsed the story of God's faithfulness SO many times - it's told over and over in the Scriptures, especially in the Psalms. "He came and rescued us. we walked across the sea on dry land, but Pharoah's army drowned beneath the waves. the Lord saved us!"
if God can part the sea and make the sun stand still and raise His Son (and a handful of other people too!) from the dead - then He can do anything. everything broken in this world can be set right, in time, somehow.
remembering that today gives me new hope, and makes me happy. :)