Shelagh’s One Word 2011: Fulfillment


I found myself storming back to the Father with my little girl pout: “But Daddy, you said …”

By Shelagh Hardern

I said it first about six months ago: partially fulfilled is still unfulfilled. Now, at the beginning of another year, I have had to come face to face with that reality.

Every year has a word, at least, for me. I spend time in prayer leading up to the new year seeking God and His word for me for that year. I find that it helps, through the year, to keep me focused when I have a title for where I’m going. In 2011, my word was “fulfillment.” And if that wasn’t exciting enough, it was a word that came with a promise. This is how it came to me that first night:

This is the year of fulfillment. Fulfillment of all my promises. So, start believing for

them. Start believing for the things you’ve been afraid to believe for. I will fulfill all

of them. Yes, even that one.

Needless to say, I hit the ground in twenty-eleven running. I was going to go and do and be all that God had called me to be. I was going to take Him at his word and start living all of the things He had promised. Just having that word over me increased my faith and my boldness. Even as the months passed I would go back to it again and again and reaffirm that this was the year when it was all going to happen (whatever it was).

A lot has happened in 2011. A lot. I started a business, quit a job, stepped fully back into ministry, fallen in love with a country. (Hey, I’m even back to writing) I have grown more personally and spiritually this past year than in probably the last ten years put together.

So why is it then, that coming up to the end of 2011, I was feeling so ripped off? Because I was. So many things–so many of those promises I dared to let myself believe for–were still unfulfilled. I found myself storming back to the Father with my little girl pout on “But Daddy, you said …”

It was way to easy to grumble about how I’m still not married (or pregnant for that matter), my family still wasn’t saved, my aunt still wasn’t clear of cancer, and I was still carrying the debt of a degree I have yet to use. Sure, God had done great things but those big things, those go-out-on-a-limb and make-your-heart-vulnerable things–those things–were seemingly unchanged. So many things, so many of the promises I had dared to let my self believe for, were still unfulfilled.

Had my God really let me down? Impossible.

Had I messed something up somewhere? Likely. But where? What had I done wrong?

I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day and she reminded me of something I had told her over a year ago, about how for many of the heroes of faith contained in Hebrews 11 – the so-called “Hall of Faith”–how none of them received all that God had promised (verse 39). And I understand that these are all Old Testament guys who were waiting and believing on the arrival of Jesus, but I can’t help but feel somehow connected to them. How am I any different? I am waiting and believing on God in much the same way. For healing, for salvation, for all that has been promised.

So what of these things that I am believing for – these things that are covered by the fulfillment promises of 2011? The answer is in Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Perseverance. Now that is a scary word.

According to our friends at dictionary dot com:

1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state etc. Especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement

2. Theology: continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

That’s a tall order.

The Father gathers up the pouting six-year-old who went stomping back to him and reassures her: “I am still that God.” He hasn’t changed. More than that, He has not given me a reason to stop believing. He hasn’t failed. So here I am, staring down a new year with a new mandate: to persevere through the testing of my faith. To let perseverence finish its work so I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, (James 1:3)

So that I may be fulfilled. The promise of 2011 remains fully intact.

So, how do I persevere?

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

Be sure that your faith is in God alone (James 1:6)

I think that’s the hardest part. Cause when things aren’t coming to pass it’s easy to take matters into my own hands. And when well-meaning people in your life see that things aren’t coming to pass, they even start to suggest that you take matters into your own hands. That’s when keeping my eyes on Jesus becomes most critical. That’s when I must be steady and persistent especially in spite of discouragement.

So, look out 2012, we aren’t finished yet.


About Shelagh:

I live my life at something close to ludicrous speed. I am currently serving as the Children’s Ministry Director for World Harvest Church, I work two jobs and have a renovation business with my good friend. I’m busy all the time, doing things I love, with people I love for the God I love. It is a full and abundant life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.