This has been one difficult year. I remember reflecting on 2011 and for the first time in my life thinking, “I just can’t wait until this year is over. 2012 has to be better than this!” Today as I was out and about, finishing up the grocery shopping for Christmas, I got tears in my eyes as I thought, “ 2011 was horrible, but 2012 topped it! I’m declaring 2013 the year of redemption for me and my family.”
That little baby that was born this time of year, the baby I wrote about the other day, his purpose in being born was so massive and if I spend my whole life trying to receive all that his birth gave, I will never get it all!
So much has been taken away from us in the past 2 years – what would have been our 4th baby, a dear mentor and friend who went to be with Jesus, one of our favorite families who moved way too far away, my husband 4 days a week as he worked the grave yard shift, a beautiful Christmas dinner with friends and family, and this year, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, so much more was taken away. Through my debilitating anxiety, a lot was taken away from me. Several speaking engagements were offered to me, something I’ve prayed for and dreamed of, but I was unable to accept them. The opportunity to help in my daughters’ classroom was an impossibility for me. Birthday parties, dinner dates, trips that required air travel, helping out in Sunday School, precious moments with my children – I couldn’t participate in any of them. But more than moments or events, my confidence was taken away from me.
I’ve always been very capable, and this last year I’ve been completely incapable of so much. Feeling weak, powerless, sick and fearful left my foundation totally broken apart. A precious friend told me that God gave her a verse for me,
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:1,2
A few foundations in my life were broken in 2012 and this verse taught me that I can try to rebuild and reclaim what has been broken and taken away, but I will be building on a faulty foundation. God must heal and restore the broken foundations in my life and then He can rebuild a life that is stronger and better and will stand.
I’ve had to totally surrender all my everything. Surrender my confidence. Surrender my capability. Surrender my ideas of the best ways to rebuild. Surrender my dreams of a wonderful marriage. Surrender my plans for my life. Surrender.
As Christmas day rapidly approaches, like tomorrow! I’ve been a little apprehensive as I’ve reflected on last Christmas when my nightmare with anxiety really got started. I’ve been nervous and fearful that it’s going to happen again. The mere memory haunts me.
But I’ve thought once again of that baby. He came to break into time and reroute history. His birth took the past and totally redirected the future. He broke the pattern of what had always been to create a whole new beginning. He stopped the waiting, longing and striving. He stopped the fear and anxious wondering. He stopped the world and started a life of freedom and fulfillment.
The prophet Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3
That little baby born in the barn, grew up to stand in the synagogue where he grew up and read from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that one would come to give good news to the poor, give sight to the blind, release the oppressed and give FREEDOM to the prisoners. He proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor. This is what I am receiving this Christmas. I will not be afraid of tomorrow. I will no longer be captive to fear. I will not be oppressed by the evil one. I’m trading despair for a garment of praise! I’m trading the ashes of 2012 for the beauty of 2012! I’m trading grief and mourning for the oil of gladness.
(I noticed that my reflection last year over 2011 included the same passage of scripture! I guess I keep receiving and claiming the promises that Jesus came to give as each year the enemy tries to bring devastation, grief, pain and death.
Little does he know that we keep trading his junk for the joy of Christ!!)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I will be back here in the new year!
I hope you’ll join me in receiving all that this little baby came to give us.