My mother spent Christmas with Dennis and me. On Christmas Eve I drove to her cute little southern town to help her to my car, my hand on her elbow to steady her, with her little quilted overnight bag, purse and coat safely resting in the back seat. After locking up her house and securing her seat belt we made the return trip arriving just before dark.
Six weeks ago, on her 91st birthday, my mother fell in her tiled bathroom. She hit her head on the descent, and needed stitches just above her eyebrow. Though now mended, her sweet face was left covered with dark purple bruises for almost a month. Gratefully, she didn’t break any bones and is recovering well.
But she is feeling insecure. My father died in 2012, and she lives alone in their home. Understandably, she’s afraid she might fall again.
While her body is weakening, her mind is sharp. We talk about the weather, politics, family members, books she’s reading, and the Andy Griffith show that she watches with regularity. She works in her church’s food pantry, handing out bags of food for the homeless and poor on Monday mornings. On Tuesdays, she sits behind a desk in the church office and answers the phone.
Watching her age, reminds me of unchanging truths. Death is unavoidable. No matter how much we exercise, control our diet, use hand sanitizer, or lather on essential oils, death is certain.
I feel a growing sadness as I watch her losses accumulate. I also feel my own anxiety, knowing I’m a few decades behind on that same path.
Happily, however, I’m reminded of another unchanging truth. God delights in new beginnings. Restoration is and always has been His specialty. My mother’s constant pain in her back, her arthritis, her bad knee, and a multitude of other maladies I don’t know about because she rarely complains, will all be changed. Her failing, earthly body will be made new one day soon.
So it is with each of us as we face a new year. We each walk simultaneously toward death and new beginnings.
God has already gone ahead of us into both heaven and 2017. What looks like a great unknown, a blank slate, a fresh start is known by Him. He is there. Jeremiah told us God knows the plans that He has for us (29:11).
Even more wonderful is God’s never-ending creativity in all He does. He doesn’t simply restore. He upgrades. All things become new. He didn’t stop being creative when He rested on the seventh day in Eden. No, He’s endlessly, giving us new life, new ideas, new dreams for our souls.
As our team at Ever Thine Home looks ahead to 2017, we are asking God to call us forward down the path He wants us to walk. We want to be led by His Spirit to learn, create, and grow for His glory and His pleasure.
He certainly is growing me and I’m so very grateful! In September, I joined Dannah Gresh in a live Facebook discussion on prayer. Many of you watched and said you’d love more conversations on prayer. With that encouragement we decided to make prayer a new focus. Each Wednesday’s Ever His prayer post will be on how to pray.
Before you feel too excited to hear teaching from a valiant prayer warrior, my first reaction when my editor and friend, Tracy, suggested this was to explain that prayer isn’t my forte. In fact, I’ve felt like a failure in prayer, more than just about anything else in the Christian life.
Don’t worry. I’ll share many of these failures from my forty-five plus years of walking with Jesus, as will Janel who will continue to author Ever His prayers twice a month. As we talked about this idea together as a team we reminded ourselves God doesn’t expect perfection of us before we can be of help to others.
We are praying God will stretch and teach all of us, you our faithful readers and us, in the stunning relationship we have with the eternal Creator God through prayer.
One truth I know is that growth in relationship with God always starts on the inside, with getting our own hearts right. So in January, we’ll start with you: the woman, wife, mom, sister, daughter, aunt, grandma. I’ll share lessons learned on how to pray for yourself and offer a sample prayer for you to practice. From there, we will move to prayers for our marriages, children, homes, neighborhoods and communities, and then to our world.
In July, we will move our focus from talking to God to listening to God. For several years I have been learning about the Holy Spirit—who He is and what He does. It seems that we believers are mostly ignorant of this person in the trinity. Sadly, we are missing the joy and delight of hearing His voice and knowing His intimate leading of us. Let’s learn together to hear and follow Him in the coming year.
Twice in the Bible God tells His chosen ones to eat the pages of a scroll on which was written His eternal Words of truth. Both times, these godly men experienced a sweet taste in their mouths. God’s Word isn’t just good for us like medicine, which often tastes bitter. It’s good for us like a tasty treat because the results of following God are pleasant and satisfying.
So in January we’ll offer a new feature called “A Spoonful of Sugar.” Watch for one single verse posted each Saturday. It will be God’s word beautifully designed, by our very own Kristi, with a very short commentary. We’d like to offer you a bite-sized treat of God’s unchanging truth to nourish your soul at the end of each week.
As you begin the following new week, this verse can become a snack you share with your family. Post it in your kitchen to meditate on its sweetness all week. We will share some ideas for how to each sweet bite of scripture to your children too.
Remember my 91-year-old mother? She’s nervous to continue aging, but her hope is founded on the promise that God will one day restore her body. He will welcome her to a new home with Him forever.
I echo this same hope. God’s Word gives me the same sweet assurance. I’d love for you to hold to this hope too. Will you join me in 2017?
We’ll learn more about Him, discover a deeper relationship, and know a greater joy and fulfillment in following Him.
Welcome, 2017. We will step through this new threshold with hope because we know Jesus is beckoning us into the days He’s already prepared.