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One year ago, I sat with my bible open in my lap and a cup of coffee in my hand and I asked the Lord what he wanted to teach me in 2018. I kept hearing people talk about their word for the year and I just hadn’t come to think of one. As I prayed and thought about what all was on my agenda for 2018, I kept thinking about how busy it would be. I would finish my last semester of seminary with a full load of classes, I would complete my last semester serving with a ministry I loved more than I ever knew possible, I’d travel both for work and for fun. Just thinking about it all made my head spin.
There was still a lot of unknowns which made me a little weary on top of the busy schedule that was before me – what would I do after May? Would we leave Nashville? Would we try to expand our family via adoption or just the old fashioned way? I could feel the stress points across my shoulders to ache as I counted all the unknowns.
And then I was reminded to rest in him. And that’s when I knew my word for 2018. “REST. Of course, rest! If there’s a year in my life when I’ll need to rest, it’s this one!”
Around springtime, my husband and I were in a hard place as we prayerfully tried to figure out what would be next for us after my graduation from seminary. I had walked through a super long hiring process at a church out of state for a “dream job” and they passed. I wasn’t as much frustrated by the rejection as I was annoyed that we’d spent so much time in that process just to get a thumbs down. I was contacted by a ministry at a campus in another state but me and Micah were in disagreement about it so we said no – we need a unified yes or it’s a no.
Then the Lord reminded me of my word for 2018 – REST. We made a decision then to just wait and rest. That I’d take the summer to rest and work on some writing projects I’d felt the Lord leading me to write. I know it may sound funny but I was really looking forward to getting home from our New England vacation at the end of May because I was so ready to rest.
And then as we sat at the gate waiting for our flight home from Boston, my husband got a phone call. And a week later we felt confident that God was telling us both to say yes to a new job for him and a move for our family to a city we love. My summer of rest turned into nothing but moving boxes, spreadsheets (because I don’t function without them!), yard sales, and all that moving across Tennessee entails. Around the time we were starting to feel settled a couple months later, I woke up with a feeling that led to a surprisingly positive pregnancy test that led to loss the next week.
Alright 2018 – I’m not so sure about you!
When talking to my mentor about the anxiety I was feeling having experienced pregnancy loss and also feeling kind of lost in a new city. I was thankful that my husband loved his new job (seriously, he calls every day around lunch to remind me how much he loves it!) but I still felt – well, bored and lost. She lovingly (and sternly) reminded me that I did not take the summer of rest that I needed. And she was right. And there more than ever, I needed to experience the overwhelming peace that comes from resting in my heavenly father.
The problem with that is that I quickly learned that I don’t know how to rest. I know how to work. I know how to lay around and binge netflix but that is not the rest I needed. Over the last few months of 2018, that word REST was spoken by me at least 5 times a day to myself and to others. As the pain of loss would rise up in my heart, I would remind myself to rest in Jesus’ arms. As my mind would rush with anxiety of what I feel is not right in this season of our life, I would feel Holy Spirit surround me with a heaviness that forced my mind to rest.
I still don’t think I really know how to rest (still working on it!) but I’m thankful that the Lord in his kindness gave me that word a year ago because He knew the year I would walk in 2018.
Maybe you didn’t pick a word for the year and that’s fine. Maybe you’re not into all the New Years traditions and resolutions. You do you, friend. But I can tell you that I needed 2019 to come. I needed the newness that comes in January. I needed the peace that I find when I walk outside and see big white and grey clouds covering the sky just over the dead trees. And I have decided to wake up each morning and treat it like it’s January 1 because his mercies are new every morning, a clean slate every day that will feel like a new year if we’ll let it and if we’ll rest in it.