January 1. New year. Goals. Inspiration.
It was January 7th and I was feeling anything but ‘fresh.’
I write this with our 5 month old asleep upstairs, after the first full week of a new life stage: stay at home mom. When my husband and I made this decision back before Christmas, he was very kind to suggest I take time in January to refresh and reset, both mentally and spiritually, as I unplugged from my job at church and fully plugged in to stay-at-home momhood.
Little did I know just how valuable and life-giving it would be for me. But my Father did, and I’m grateful. I knew a night away by myself was a gift, an opportunity to set down the wonderful new expectations (a beautiful but needy baby) and give all my attention to the Lord. I went expectant and excited, asking for vision for not only this year but this new season.
Like everything else in the life of a growing child, each day feels like uncharted territory because they are changing, growing and developing. But as I thought about my desire to stay at home with Anna, one conviction glared at me: I don’t want to merely survive motherhood, I want to be fruitful in it.
I went armed with my journal, Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide, my Bible, iced coffee and colorful pens. For 24 hours I spent time with close friends, exercised, wrote, worshipped, read the Bible, conversed with God and did my best to listen.
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4-5 MSG
One big thing I came away with was this: God gave my family to me and me to my family. Uniquely. On purpose. And the person I am and the person I’m becoming will impact them positively or negatively.
Perfectionism isn’t the goal, but flourishing is.
I planted myself in Jeremiah 17 and marveled at the contrast God gives. There is the person who relies on themselves to do life:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.”
Who reads that and thinks, Yep, that’s what I want. To be a shrub in the desert. To not see anything good. To live alone in the dry wilderness. Errr, no one. Especially after you read what life is like for the person who sticks close to God:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
If God sees everything, and He does, then all my choices matter. And if my soul is defeated and dry, I won’t fully enjoy the life He has given me. But if my soul is rooted in Truth, abiding and occupied with the Lord, abundance is real.
“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden and are under his personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green. This honors the Lord and exhibits his faithful care. He is my shelter. There is nothing but goodness in him!” (Psalm 92:12-15, TLB)
The fruit of my life has never only been for me.
And when I stare down this adventure God put before me, I make this honest confession: I want there to be orchards. I’m asking God for something big, that He would produce with my soul and life orchards of spiritual fruit to be enjoyed by my children and their children and their children.
Won’t He do it.
What is a prayer of yours for 2020?