Happy New Year friends! I feel like we’re starting the New Year a week behind because my family has been trying to get over this cold/cough/plague thing that just won’t go away.
Anyway, I wanted to pop in here and say hello! And also wanted to continue with the tradition of sharing my word of the year, which I have been doing the last several years.
My word and focus for 2018 is
The word actually found me a few months ago. Back in October I kept coming across verses on light. There’s a long story behind it but suffice it to say that last year was hard. And I struggled mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I felt overwhelmed and at times hopeless.
And I knew something had to give. I needed to get away.
So I asked my husband if it would be OK if I just had a personal retreat and went off by myself for an overnight. He said yes of course, so I checked myself into a little hotel determined to pray, get right with Jesus and figure out how to get back to myself.
But of course I was exhausted so the very first thing I did was take a nap. Now, I’m not one to normally put a whole lot of meaning into dreams but that day I had a dream that changed everything.
While I napped I had a dream about my grandmother who passed away 5 years ago. I LOVED my grandmother deeply; she was one of the most important people in my life. Anyway, in my dream I first heard weeping, like gut wrenching sobs and I couldn’t see where it was coming from but then I walked into a different room and I saw my grandma sitting in a chair in front of a window and she was crying.
I asked her what was wrong and she said (in Spanish so I will have to do my best to translate),
“I have to grieve for and unburden myself from all that was and all that will never be”.
And then I woke up crying and sobbing myself. I thought about the weight of all that my grandma must have carried over her 96 years of life and I thought about her words of wisdom and how they applied to me as well.
I too needed grieve so that I could release all the burdens that I was carrying; that I was not meant to carry. I had been carrying too heavy a load.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Let me confess something now, part of why I was overwhelmed is because I felt that the darkness in the world was winning. I am particularly sensitive to conflict and last year perhaps more than ever before I started to lose hope. I stopped believing the words in John 1-
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I’ll share more about my “retreat” another time but that weekend, I brought my doubt and brokenness to the Lord and He restored my faith and my hope, reminding me that the darkness will never overcome.
But I need to be intentional about finding the light in the darkness. I can’t get allow myself to get discouraged by the news or the brokenness of the world.
And so 2018 for me is year to both feel light(er) by releasing and unburdening from that which has weighed me down in the past and also to be a light and try to shine His light in the dark places.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-15
How about you friends, do you have a word to focus on for the year?
Want to join me in shining His light this year?