A hungry, eager anticipation as I embrace a brandnew year filled with possibilities, potential and purpose. I feel it waiting for me like a book begging to be written—there is a story that must be lived and must be told.
I sense the call to rise up, to be brave, willing and vulnerable enough to step out into new arenas and engage a future that God has planned for me. There are moments, however, that I question myself:
“Am I smart enough? Am I equipped enough? Am I too old to start something new? Do I have enough time in my full life?”
I am so aware that if I spend too much time dwelling on those thoughts, I will live paralyzed and un-engaged, wasting precious moments I can never get back. (That is the gift of being 57—you know time will not wait for you!)
You and I have a Heaven-sent, God-kissed invitation awaiting us. I love how Eugene Peterson expresses Paul’s words in The Message, in Ephesians 3:14-20:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (The Message)
The future belongs to the brave—to those who have heart-strength and a resilient faith in a miracle-working God.
Allow me to share with you just a few moments of daring courage that have shaped my world:
• The moment I said yes to a tall, handsome 18-year-old boy when he asked me to skip class and go for a ride in his dad’s pick-up truck. We drove for a while when he turned off the engine and faced me to ask me a life-altering question as he stuttered, “Tell me why Larry told me that when I talk to you that I shouldn’t mention God, because if I do, you will talk my ear off?” I married that boy and haven’t shut up since.
• The moment, 27 years ago, when John and I said yes to planting a new church. It meant saying good-bye to the comfort and security that his profession as a dentist brought us. I will never forget the day that John hung up his dental drills for good and we, along with our three young daughters, ventured out into an uncertain but waiting future. (I haven’t had one moment of regret.)
• The moment I said yes to leading the charge to bring Mercy Ministries to Canada. I had no idea what I was saying yes to, but I knew that God was asking me to do this. What an amazing adventure it has been.
• The moment in 2006, at a breakfast with the Mayor of Kigali, Rwanda and her team, when I felt the Holy Spirit beckon me to put up my hand and say yes for my city and nation, as I sobbed in a bathroom stall in the hotel that day. I had personally witnessed what God had done in that nation after the devastation of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. He brought beauty out of the ashes of unimaginable pain, sorrow and suffering, and I wondered, “What can God do in Canada, a nation who needs to know and experience the love of a Saviour?”
On the other side of every yes, my life has been forever changed. I have watched a miracle of God’s grace and undeserved favour unfold.
It has never been because of me. My age, my wisdom or abilities do not qualify me for my God-given assignments. On the contrary, I have discovered the truth that His strength is truly made perfect in my weakness.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
- I pray as you launch into 2013, that you sense the urgency of this moment awaiting you.
- I pray you have the courage to rise above the limitations and expectations imposed upon you by yourself or others.
- I pray you will write a beautiful story with your one life, and that you will be brave enough to live this year with a beautiful authenticity and daring vulnerability that will take your breath away!
Heaven’s smile is upon you and God’s promise is over you. He has crowned this year with His favour and goodness, so embrace it bravely and engage every moment as it waits for you. Let us lean into it: like a roller coaster ride, it’s so much more fun when we lean into it and let the momentum carry us off to great and daring adventures!
Have you chosen your ONE WORD?
Mine is STEADFAST.
It expresses my need to take a stance, with urgency, and to keep on pushing through with strong determination.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]. -1 Corinthians 15:58 (AMP)
1. fixed in direction
2. firm in purpose
Photo credit: namestartswithj89