Last January, I shared this as I wrote about my word for 2018.
“I find myself standing at the beginning of 2018 full of hope. Expecting Him to move, yes. Expecting Him to keep His promises, yes. But faithful to wait for Him. His ways, His time. Arms wide, hands open, face upward, eyes fixed on Jesus.”
It’s funny how I find myself at the beginning of 2019 feeling the exact same way.
I think that’s the thing with surrender, my word for last year. It doesn’t ever stop. Starting the morning with my hands open to what He wants to do has been my daily act, my reminder that I am nothing and can do nothing apart from Him.
Surrender will be my word for life. Learning what it means to lay down my life will be my lifelong quest.
When 2018 started, I still had my own ideas of what I thought God would do. And when we finally launched into full-time travel, we still had a lot of unanswered questions. We still had a lot of uncertainties.
We still do.
2019 is starting off very uncertain. I look ahead and I can see that hard things are coming. And already feeling weary and burdened and battle-scarred, it’s easy to want to quit fighting. The questions that I thought would be answered by surrendering myself more to the Lord are still lingering. It’s so easy to feel that level of expectancy at the beginning of the year when things feel fresh and new. It’s not so easy when you find another hard year has passed and what you thought you would know, you still don’t. It’s not so easy when the waiting feels unbearable.
I feel like I’m in chains. In a prison.
A prison of hope.
No matter what continues to come against us, no matter how many uncertain things happen, no matter how many arrows the enemy seems to send our way, I cannot seem to lose my grip on the iron bars of hope that I cling to.
I hold on to Jesus more than ever before. Surrender will do that to you.
Letting go of all my own expectations and all my own pride issues and realizing how much I need Him and cannot do a darn single thing on my own is breaking me.
Recognizing how much this broken world needs Jesus is breaking me.
Recognizing that God is asking hard things of us is breaking me.
But what gives me hope? Is that He’s not asking us to do these things without Him. He’s slowly building us, preparing us, making us into what He needs us to be. Preparing us for what I’m still not sure. But I’m so full of hope for whatever it is.
I took a break from writing in this space for awhile. Not because I wanted to. While there were several factors, it was mainly because I was praying a lot of dangerous prayers and I wasn’t ready to share them publicly. And when I say dangerous, I mean, the prayers that when you really think about what you are asking the Lord, you have to realize that it means you’re not asking for an easy path.
I think my word for the year came as a result of these prayers.
I’ve been asking the Lord for some time to break my heart for this world. To see people the way He does. And it doesn’t happen overnight. I feel like I’m only at the cusp.
About a week ago, I was looking for some used bookstores in the area so the kids had some books to read. I only had a small amount of time so I was hurriedly following my GPS to several places. I stopped at a local library with a bookstore inside. As I was walking in, it was impossible not to notice the man sitting outside the library. 60ish, hunched over on the bench, with his entire life packed in 3 bags around his feet. I walked past him and into the library to find out the bookstore was closed. As I was pulling my car out of the parking spot, I turned towards the library and looked at the man again.
It was his eyes that had me.
He was in the same position as when I had entered the library a few minutes before. Staring. Just staring to the side. He didn’t move. He just stared with empty eyes at nothing.
I starting wondering what his story was. Did he have a family? What was he like as a little boy? What had brought him to this place in time? How long had he been on the street?
Out of nowhere, I started weeping. Sobbing. Shaking. Filled with headache-inducing tears.
I was broken. Truly broken.
I should have pulled my car over and gave him money I didn’t have. I should have looked into those empty eyes and told him that he was seen and known and loved. I should have done something.
Instead, I came home and wrote out my desperation in my journal:
I want to be in awe of You.
I want to see You do impossible things.
I want to see Your creativity.
I want to marvel at Your creation.
I want to know what it truly means to walk in Your power.
I want to love others.
I want to see Your beauty.
I want to know You like never before.
I want to wonder at who You are.
I think what I learned most in my year of surrender is that I limit Him. I still view Him from the box I’ve created of what He can do and what He will do. I am so close to fully, fully trusting Him but I’m not quite there yet.
I find myself asking, how I can love a hurting and dying world if I’m not broken? How can I have the eyes of Jesus if I don’t know really know who He is? How can I expect to see miracles if I still keep Him in a box? How will I expect him to do impossible things through us if we’re not in an impossible situation?
How can I keep clinging to hope unless I really, really know who I’m clinging to?
So this year, I am choosing to live in wonder of who He is.
I will remind myself not only of what He’s done, but more so, who He is. So that I can see Him everywhere: from a drop of dew to a snow-capped mountain, from my child’s laugh to the empty eyes of a stranger on a bench.
It is from my prison of hope, from my place of brokenness and longing for more of Him, that I long to marvel at who God really is. My prayer is that He would make Himself known to me every day in a new way. And that I would never lose my wonder at who He truly is.
Fill me with wonder, Lord.
Do you have a word for the year? I’d love to hear it! Feel free to share below.