Standing on the cusp of a new year is . . . all the feelings, right?
Part surprise. What? Another year is here already?
Part excitement. Think of all that will happen in 2017!
Part sorrow. Well, 2016 threw a few curveballs that hurt. A lot.
Part more of the same. Even with new opportunities comes regular life. The kids still need to be educated, the language still needs to be learned, the laundry still needs to be done.
Regardless of whether 2017 holds big changes or not, we know this is true for each one of us: God is in the business of preparing us for what is next. Even if this looks like a “normal” year before you, know that you are not forgotten by God; He is preparing you for what this year holds.
It may be a new role or location. God may be preparing you to learning a new skill or develop part of your character. The preparation may involve your family whether through birth, illness, or death of a loved one. Let’s review and marvel in the variety of means God used to prepare the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.
- With Mary, He sent an angel to talk with her in person—she had someone physically show up, sit down and talk with her, answer questions, and reassure her.
- With Daniel, He used formal education and relationships.
- Esther was prepared through physical attributes and relationships with her uncle and Hegai.
- Paul was prepared through the family and connections he was born into, the training he received, the positions he held, and then through a time of obscurity.
- With Joseph, the son of Jacob, God prepared him through dreams, family betrayal, being lied about, imprisoned for years, forgotten, and an ability to hear from God about dreams.
- David was prepared through mundane, ordinary tasks (tending and protecting sheep), obscurity, time alone, and musical training.
- Moses was prepared by being given up at birth, being bilingual and bicultural, having a speech impediment, and through connections.
- And with Joseph (betrothed to Mary), he was prepared through his strong character and a clear dream.
This is a brief list of eight people, can you imagine how long the list would be if we went chapter by chapter through the Bible and spent time studying the ways in which God prepared people? Four things stand out to me:
- He prepares each of us in unique ways.
- God often uses multiple streams of preparation.
- Some of the preparation only make sense looking back; some—like the training and education—made sense beforehand.
- And not all of the preparation will be, shall we say, fun or positive.
As we stand on the cusp of a new year may you hear God whisper over and over to your soul, “Fear not, for I have called you. I’ll go before you, beside you, and behind you.” Right now as you prepare for some of the knowns this year holds … know yourself. Does information help you? Are lists your friend? Or is winging it more your style?
It’s not only the known you’ve been prepared for, you have also been prepared by The Sovereign One for journeys you didn’t know are before you. Trust that God knows where you are going and what you need and will meet you at the time.
That’s what we are doing too with Continue the Story. We’ll share where we are in Have You Seen and then come next week, we will trust that what has been provided is what is needed to prepare us for 2017.
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For some, 2017 is the year you will go to the field, expand your family, see exciting progress in projects. For others, you will look back at 2017 as the year where your story changed dramatically. I’m thinking of my dear friend Anne a year ago at the beginning of 2016. Some of what 2016 would hold was known: her second child graduating from high school, her oldest continuing at college, her younger two active in high school. But much was unknown. Her husband diagnosis in April with cancer and dying too soon in September. So much life. So much sorrow. Some years feel hard to hold the weight of. Others are so light, oozing with goodness.
Here is the promise of the new year: whatever the year holds, it is not willy-nilly. You have a God who loves you, sees you, and is even now preparing you for 2017. May you sense the Lord blessing you, and keeping you. Both now, in 2017, and forever more. Amen.
What do you sense God may be preparing you for this year? As reflect on 2016, how did God prepare you for what the year held?
SAVE THE DATE
As we walk into the new year here at Velvet Ashes, we’re preparing for the highlight of our year, our online retreat! We’re letting you know the dates now, so you can mark your calendars and guard this time. If you’ve been part of our retreat before, you know you want this to be part of the rhythm of your year, a time to get away with Jesus. It’s the retreat that comes to you, right where you are. You just set aside a day and find a quiet place. We’ll provide you with all you need for a deep and intimate time with Jesus. Experience the retreat in solitude or gather a group of ladies and experience the retreat together. We’ll give you a Host Guide that will plan it out for you!
We can hardly wait to reveal what this year’s retreat will hold. Details and registration coming in March. For now, save the date and spread the word to ladies you know!
This is The Grove. It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art. So join us in the comments. Link up your own blog posts related to “Gift” so we can visit your blog. Click here for details and instructions.
Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesPrepare. You can add yours!