The new year, like any passage, has always held a special meaning to me. As a poet, its important for me to mark the passing of the days, and especially the significant ones. But greeting the new year with a sense of celebration as I would have liked was difficult, as confined to my bed by unexpected illness it was hard to not feel uncertainty and trepidation around my health; hard to completely trust that I would be equal to the unfolding challenges of a new year.
However opening my journal to September 16, I found I had been in this place before:
Journal Entry: September 2016
What can I control? I thought as I struggled with recovery from illness Struggled with the list of jobs not being done, teenagers on their own paths, a thousand “should have’s”, “if only’s”, “should do’s”. What can I really control?
I opened to:
‘For unto us a son is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder…”
The ‘government’ (the control of everything) is not with me, it is with him!
“..his ever expanding, peaceful government shall never end.”
I felt God say to me, ‘you are finding out who you are’.
“You are worried about being small and few but Abraham was only one when I called him.”
Forget the rules I told myself. This is not Christ’s way of salvation. His path is convoluted, winding. Sometimes it turns back upon itself. We have to go back to go forward. We need to withdraw to heal. We need to find places of quiet to hear His voice and receive His ministry, we cannot always push forward into the fray.
“They are trying to make themselves good enough to gain God’s favour by keeping the laws and customs, but that is not Christ’s way of salvation. They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him. Everything that they are trying to get by keeping his laws. He ends all that.”
I realised He will lead me along the way He has for me.
“…. He became their saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted and he personally saved them. In his love and pity he redeemed them and lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”
I prayed to God:
You are my refuge.
My place to go.
You asking nothing of me, that takes away from my already depleted resources.
You give to me. Shelter, safety, warmth, comfort, counsel.
You speak to me in those complex corners of my heart where even I cannot understand myself.
You soothe. You reassure. You lead me to trust and strengthen my weakness, by asking nothing of me but love and trust.
My faith, in you my Lord can remain strong, when I’m embattled by the world, because you are not in the world.
You understand, you’re not another expectation, upon a expectation.
You ask only that I come to you as I am so that you can restore and heal me to who I am to be in you.
Safety. Safety. Safety.
God keep me safe and secure.
Held close, embraced and carried.
Enveloped in grace, peace and comfort.
There is only you, only you, only you in this place.
“…who have I in heaven but you and I desire no-one on earth as much as you. My health fails, my spirits droop yet God remains. He is the strength of my heart. He is mine forever.”
Today I pray for us all, as we enter this new year, and especially as we tell ourselves that we should be running and jumping and scrambling to the fray, with new year’s resolutions set and goals ready and waiting to be achieved. I pray ‘stop’. Stop still and listen. If He is not telling you to move, stay still. There is no hurry. Its day by day, moment by moment. It always has been.
On the road to recovery now, I understand anew the verse He gave me to hold on to over the last few days.
“Go out and stand before him on the mountain,” the Lord God told him. And as Elijah stood there the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain; it was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his scarf and went out…”
1 Kings 19:11-13