Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on 2011 and Looking to 2012

Another year is coming to an end, and with it comes the inevitable reflections. Did I accomplish all I wanted to accomplish? Am I content with my actions? Where did I fail? What can I do about that? In what ways did God use me last year? Am I closer to Him today than I was on this date in 2010?

My words for 2011 were Ponder and Treasure. I have enjoyed the journey they led. I have found myself, out of character, recognizing and treasuring moments that I would easily have overlooked. I have intentionally made memories that could have easily been forgotten. I have marveled more at what Jewel and Flower are capable of doing and relished their joy a little more. As we moved (again) I chose to treasure the time we had been given rather than grieve the losses. It made my transition easier. I am treasuring the new friends that God is given us in our new home. I have treasured watching our previous church celebrate as they break ground on the new church building we were part of praying for and I have treasured celebrating with our new church as they dedicated the new church extension that we get to benefit from using. Most of all, we have treasured the blessing of Tree and how he is such a joy to our family. We have pondered what some of the changes mean for us and for our future. We have celebrated as God has shown glimpses of how he is restoring things that broke our hearts into ministry and understanding. In that, we ponder just how far some of that ministry will lead.

God has led me in a way through the year that I have not experienced before. The depth of peace that he has provided is something that I can never comprehend and will always treasure. Yet, to experience that peace I had to travel the rough paths that developed and proved it.

So, I had a little trepidation to consider what word God would lead me to this year. Words from the epistle of James drew me in:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25
I believe, again this year I am being led to two words: INTENT and ACTION.

As you look around many Christian blogs, you will see calls to live intentionally in 2012. And although that is part of what I am seeing in these words, it actually runs along a different vein than many are using the word. I believe that I am being called to look INTENTLY at motivation, at the things I study, at the blessings I receive and the ministry opportunities that open to me. It is more than making decisions to be intentional. It is about looking at the intent (the motivation) behind my decisions. It is a heart issue. I want at the end of 2012 to be more aware of why I make the decisions I make and that the motivation behind my actions to be more and more based on what I see in scripture.

I don't know how it will look at the end of the year. I just know that it should look different than it does now. I look forward to seeing what God lays in my path as I seek him, intently.

Reading Plans

I always plan to do more reading, but with kids I find that more and more difficult. However, the classics draw me in and make me wish I had time to read. My friend Vee posted about a Reading the Classics challenge, and I took the bait. It allows for "reading" using audio books and I should be able to do that whilst nursing if nothing else. So without further adieu...

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at Sarah Reads Too Much


19th Century Classic: Bleak House (Dickens)
20th Century Classic: For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway)
Reread a Classic: Jane Eyre (Bronte)
Classic Play: tbd
Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction: Dracula (Stoker)
Classic Romance: Mansfield Park (Austen)
Classic Translated into your Native Language: Les Miserables (Hugo)
Classic Award Winner: The Optimist's Daughter (Welty)--Pulizter Prize 1973
Classic Set in country you are not likely to visit: tbd (difficult to come up with a country not planning to visit but will probably end up being a Russian novel)

Another of my quests this year is to read more books set in Ireland in an attempt to understand the culture better. So that plays well into the:
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at Books and Movies

The categories are as follows and I will fill in titles as books are completed. I want to at least reach Shamrock level of four books read.
Contemporary fiction
Historical fiction
Science fiction or fantasy
Young Adult fiction
Romance
Horror
Children’s fiction
Non-fiction – history
Non-fiction – memoir or biography
Non-fiction – essays
Poetry

There you have it, reading plans. What do you hope to read in 2012?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Other Words---Mission

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“It’s not so much that God has a mission for his church in the world
as that God has a church for His Mission in the world.”
Christopher J.H. Wright
The Mission of God

"I wonder what God's will is for my life?"

It's a question that we often ask.  Especially as we near a year's end, we begin to think about the things that we feel we should be doing or that we dream of doing.  We put a lot of pressure on determining God's will in our goals and our plans.  We search for His mission, and often become frustrated when there is not a clear blueprint. 

I'm coming to understand more and more that there is not a clear 1-2-3 plan that I must follow as my mission in life.  More, I see that God has plans to have himself made known in the world and that we as members of his universal church are the conduits of that message.  In our daily lives, with the people we meet and see at work and play, we are presenting him.  Even when we don't feel like it and are not planning it, we are representing him. The church (as in the people not the building) are the ones who demonstrate his mission.  We don't have to search for what our individual mission is because we have the same mission.  We just have different people with whom we are to share it.

As you prepare to say good-bye to 2011 and hello to 2012, I urge you to reflect on the group of people with whom you have been placed to learn and worship and live. They are the ones you are to join with and live out the Mission of God.  May you find new and old ways to demonstrate his love for his world with that group of people.

The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Psalm 33:10-11

Thank you for joining me for In Other Words today.  If you are able, I would love to read your reflections on the above quote. Just add your link below.  If you are unable to join in this week, I pray you are blessed by what you read. Enjoy these closing days of 2011 and I look forward to joining together with you as we live out His Mission in 2012.  God Bless you!




Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hosting In Other Words

I am hosting In Other Words on Tuesday.  The quote I have chosen is:
“It’s not so much that God has a mission for his church in the world as that God has a church for His Mission in the world.”
Christopher J.H. Wright
The Mission of God
Please join me on Tuesday to reflect on the church and mission.


Praying you are having a joyful Christmas Day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Introducing

"Tree"
born 26 Nov 2011
8 pounds 2 ounces of pure love


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We've been enjoying a visit from the grandparents and treasuring these early baby days.  He had his two week check today and has gained back the little weight he lost and then some.  We are settling well and will return to regular blogging in the New Year.  Check back with me on 27 December as I host In Other Words.  Until then, may you and your family experience peace and joy this holiday season.