Reflections on a New Year

We are now a few days into 2014. Honestly, it’s been a bit of a rough start for our family. We’ve had a couple of different viruses that we’ve passed around, Josh broke his arm, sleep has been hard to come by (for various reasons), we had a minor carbon monoxide scare, we’ve gotten a LOT of snow, and temperatures outside have been super-low. That said, I think Josh and I are still pretty excited about 2014!

We’ve got new things brewing in our heads and in our hearts. We’ve felt compelled to listen a little harder to the still, small voice and to make more room in our spirits for a Word or a leading. We’ve committed together to spend some time praying and listening together in the evenings.

You see, there’s something stirring for us, but we’re not quite sure what it all is or what it all means, yet. We’ve been here, at Reba, growing up and learning and just getting by as a young family for over FIVE YEARS now. We had an earthquake of activity nearly two years ago, when we felt excited about a move to New Mexico. Yet, it became clear that the particular community we were considering was not the place for us. We felt thankful to be on the same page as husband and wife, but we felt disappointed and confused, too. We are exploring a different, quieter option now…and we both feel compelled to listen as we have an inkling God’s voice may come in a whisper this time…

There is also a flurry of excitement within me as I consider my vocation in a new way. My head is filled with possibilities and hopes. I have never felt so excited about my career before. I have been a stay-at-home mom with pure passion and commitment for seven and a half years. This new desire to work feels like calling and like a practical venture all at the same time. I have so many thoughts and questions and dreams, but I want to walk carefully, with faith and balance and full presence in my life now.

All of that to say, it’s easy to think about the future or to want to make a plan. Thinking up New Years Resolutions has not felt like a helpful construct for me in navigating these swirling thoughts and questions. Instead, the idea of choosing a word seems more fitting for me this year: http://oneword365.com/. Yeah, it seemed a little cheesy to me at first, but then I decided to give it a try – to pray for a word or a focus for the year. Well, I’ve had a pretty clear word come up to me over and over. So, I’m gonna give this a try!

The word for me for 2014 is : One. With all the new ideas and possibilities beginning to overwhelm me, I want to be able to breathe deeply and focus on ONE thing at a time. I have three kids, a community, hundreds of small tasks to do in a day, many friends and family I want to keep in touch with, a plethora of small goals that I hope to attain this year…how can I possibly make that work with the word one???!!!  I don’t know, but somehow it’s working its magic already. When all three kids need something at the same moment, I can think “just take them one at a time.” When I am tired at the end of the day, and I’m trying to be present to three kids and my husband and my mind drifts to things I need to get done, I can think “Just focus on this one moment.” When I think about our future, I can pray about one thing or work on one small task that helps me to feel like I’m moving forward. One thing. That’s it. If I’m honest, I do things better one at a time anyway.

Of course, the Mary and Martha passage came into my head not long after the word did. Jesus says to Martha (who has been working hard while her sister has been sitting and listening to Jesus), “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” I have always wondered what that one thing is. Is the answer as simple as “Jesus”? Somehow, it seems like there’s more to it than that. Well, I’m not going to go into a Bible study here, but today it struck me that the “one thing” that is necessary may not always be the same thing in every moment. BUT, it is necessary to focus on the one important thing at hand, rather than worrying about the many things that may be going on around or inside us. Jesus talks frequently about not worrying, and focusing on only one thing seems like a great way to combat worry.

This year, I hope that using the word “one” like a simple breath prayer will remind me to turn to the One who is faithful and to ask in my spirit what the “one” thing is that I need to focus on for that moment. Sometimes, the answer may be shallow – the one thing may be just washing the dishes or making a phone call that needs to be made, and sometimes I may hear a voice that calls me deeper – to really see the person in front of me, to choose love over making a point, or to drop my list altogether and be present in a time of need. I hope I notice things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I hope that I can let go of the stress that comes with a long list of undone to-dos. And, I hope that, hardly without realizing it, God will bring us to some new exciting places in our journey as we take things one step at a time…

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