Last year, I chose the word “Abundance” as my word for the year. I actually chose that word because of the way that the Lord has abundantly blessed my life. Through many trials heartaches and heartbreaks, every single time I look back over my life, I see His faithfulness, His hand and His timing in my life. I was so grateful that I wanted to live out my year focusing on how good He has been and still is to me.
I had no idea at the time that I chose that word just how abundantly God would pour out on our family: Our oldest son and his wife had a baby in May; our youngest son married his bride… in May and our daughter and her husband gave us our 2nd grandchild in October. It was a stunning year ~ overflowing with all things beautiful straight from God’s heart to ours.
As I was trying to honor Him and focus on His goodness in my life, He was still “doing His thing” and pouring out amazing blessings. He is SO good, He longs to shower us with His kindness and I am forever grateful to Him.
As I was contemplating what I wanted to focus on this year, I kept drawing back around to the words simplicity, breathe and joy. I posted the following on my fib page on January 5, 2017: I am learning to take one day at a time, to NOT be so overstretched that I can hardly think straight, to trust in His perfect sovereignty for my life and to choose joy everyday!
Psalm 16:11 says: You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever. (NLT)
This verse means so much to me. If we are seeking Him, He shows us the way of life through His word, the beauty of nature around us that He created and through other people that He puts in our lives. He grants us the joy of His presence when we take the time to study Him through His word and slow down enough to enjoy the beautiful things He has blessed us with.
Some of those beautiful things for me are taking a long walk on the beach; there is nothing so powerful and peaceful to me than having my toes at the edge of the ocean and breathing Him in. I love walking ~ by myself, with friends and my daughter and daughters in law. I enjoy cleaning my home and rearranging furniture ~ just “piddling.” Being with family and good friends are at the top of the list of those beautiful things. Just recently our nephew was diagnosed with Leukemia. He has been through so much already and has quite a road ahead of him. Do you know what simplicity is in this situation? Making space in my schedule to have the availability to spend time with him and his wonderful wife. Laughing, crying, praying together, and being there for each other. Sometimes giving up what is good to be available for what is best for my family and friends. John D. Rockefeller once said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” This hits home in my heart. I don’t want my schedule to be so busy that I cannot make time for my family and friends when they need me.
I have a very dear friend who has told me that she stopped overbooking herself. She told me “I used to live my life like you do, running all over the place, being involved in so much, not having time to breathe. I stopped living like that a long time ago. I want time to be available if my neighbor needs me to babysit or bring a meal. I want to be available to KNOW my neighbors.” My daughter has been saying those same things to me for a very long time. Their encouraging words and quite frankly, feeling so discouraged at how busy my schedule was all the time finally broke me and I found sweet release in making a conscious decision to not live my life that way anymore. My life has become even richer ~ I have time for family and dear friends. I finally have time to enjoy being in the moment of what I am doing and who I am with instead of feeling irritation because I need to “get onto the next thing” on my schedule.
One of my dreams has been to go back to school to get my degree in Religious Studies. I took three semesters of school and loved every single minute of being a student and studying the bible. The one thing that I did not enjoy was that I ALWAYS had on my mind: I need to get to my schoolwork. I was losing out on seeing my adult children, seeing good friends and being able to enjoy them. I was losing time with my husband ~ instead of snuggling up on the couch with him or going for a walk or out to dinner, I found myself saying: “I have a paper or a test that I need to prepare for” After much soul searching and prayer, I finally decided that I wanted to be writing for my speaking ministry ~ not for a professor. I wanted to spend my time coming alongside of women who needed/wanted to hear the word of God. I love leading the women in my bible studies; I love the MOPS groups and retreats that I have had the privilege to speak at. Those are the things that I want to pour my time into. So I gave up my dream of having a degree, for my dream of writing, studying, speaking and being present for women who are hurting, for my kids and grandchildren, for my husband, for my family and friends.
So often we are involved in many good things, but I finally decided I was going to reach for the best of the good that is out there!
The second part of the verse I quoted earlier says: “…. And the pleasures of living with You forever”
This is where I can chose joy every day. Life can be hard, hurtful, heartbreaking. But in the midst of all of that, I want to remember that I have a God who is before me, ahead of me and right here in the present with me. I want to choose joy so that others get to know my sweet, loving, faithful, good God by seeing a life that is poured out to serve Him alone.
When you think of the word SIMPLICITY, what image does it conjure up in your mind? How is your soul stirred? Do you need to think through some things in your life and make some decisions about how you are managing your life? Do you feel that your life is managing you instead?
I pray that you will find peace and room to breathe in your life. That you will choose the best of all the good that God gives us in abundance and I pray that you will experience joy every single day.
Until next time, I pray simplicity in all facets of your life.