Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My One Word for 2013

My word for 2012:  TRUST
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I went through a Lord-directed process to get to this word, and I am thankful He led me there. 

My family and I are no strangers to trials, and I have found in recent months that my faith waivers in hard times when it didn't used to.

I have felt angry at God, I have doubted, I have questioned, I have complained....and then I asked for forgiveness at my lack of trust while I continued to cry with an angry heart over our circumstances.

You see, I know all the promises. 

I know all the comforting verses.

The trouble is that they started to feel like hollow words, perhaps in part, because I have recited them so often for so long, only for trials and hardship to continue.

It came to a head for me this past month.  It came down to one question:

Do I trust that I all profess as truth is actually truth?

Then more questions started to flow:

Do I trust that God is who He says He is?

Do I trust that God is doing what He says He will do?

Do I trust Him to care for us in ways that don't involve my ideas of what caring for us should look like?

Oh...do I?

Ugh.

It was hard to answer those questions, and because it was so difficult to give an honest heart-felt answer, I cried.

I have been living my life with the Lord, for the Lord, for 17 years, and I found myself struggling with the answer.  Struggling with the fact that God doesn't always say yes.  Grappling, because sometimes, God says no.

2 Corinthians 12 talks about a "thorn" that Paul had in his flesh--one that tormented him--one that God would not take away.  Paul asked 3 times, and all 3 times, God said "No."  I have always read it in the NIV, NLT, or NLV versions, and always knew the purpose of the thorn was to keep him from becoming proud--to keep him relying on the Lord for HIS strength in his constant state of weakness. 

But then, I read it in the Message version. I often do that when I want more insight on the verse.  I was astounded at what I read:

"So I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.  Satan's angels did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.  No danger then of walking around high and mighty!  At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.  Three times I did that, and then He told me,"My grace is enough; it's all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness.  Once I heard that I was glad to let it happen.  I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.  It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.  Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size....I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 

I emphasized what is in bold and underlined because it struck me into a place of awe.

He calls his handicap a gift. 

He takes his limitations with good cheer
(read: He Chooses JOY!)

He doesn't question whether or not God will make him strong, he simply trusts that God will infuse His strength into his weak body to accomplish what God wants him to accomplish.

I want that.

I need that.

And God wants that for me.

He has made the clearly known.

As the trials keep stacking up, as God says "No" to removing them; as I grapple with my own thorn in my own flesh that God won't remove; even as I wonder how I can care for everyone else in my family
when I myself am so weak, God tells me to trust HIM.

He tells me to rely on Him.  He tells me to have faith in Him.

He tells me to allow myself to be a vessel for His strength in my weakness because His grace is sufficient for me.

He wants mt to TRUST Him.

Trust that all He wants accomplished will get accomplished.

So trust is my word for 2013. 
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May I trust in His good and perfect will.
May I stop focusing on the handicap. 
May I appreciate the handicap, this gift from God. 
May I take every hard step in stride, Choosing JOY as I walk. 
May I trust Him to make me strong in my weakness to accomplish what HE wants me to accomplish.

And may His will be done in my life through it!

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