Happy New Year from Missional Motherhood!
As we enter this new year, many thoughts flood my mind about the one that has come to an end. Friends have lost children this year. Others have experienced the pain cancer brings. A few have fought for their marriages through circumstances that seem impossible. Others have experienced loneliness, depression and anxiety.
On the other hand, some have had a year full of joy with the addition of new babies, adventures, jobs, homes, and relationships.
As I sit and ponder, I find myself pressing pause.
Asking the Lord to bring the refreshment only He can bring.
I’m reminded of the time, as the end of His earthly life drew near, Jesus confidently and faithfully proclaimed to the Father in prayer,
“I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:4
I’ve always loved that statement. It challenges me to choose wisely. It shows me I cannot do everything that needs to be done, meet every need I see around me, or be the person everyone wants me to be. Even Jesus, God made flesh, did not do everything others thought He needed to do. They were looking for Him to build an earthly kingdom that would be greater than all of the rest. But that was not the plan He had in mind. Instead, He lived a life of sacrifice for those around Him and those who were not yet born. He lived in light of eternity, because He is the Eternal God. He only cared to please the Father and do the work He had been given.
“Anyone who builds…may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
This passage of scripture causes me to stop and consider if my work will last or be burned up as hay, wood and straw. Scripture tells us of three main things that will last into eternity—the souls of men, the Word of God, and the prayers of the Saints.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8
“And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8
So as we enter into this new year, I would like to challenge each of us to evaluate our plans, goals and priorities by the standards set by God. It might be helpful to start with questions like these:
- Will (fill in the blank) burn up or last when I stand before the Lord?
- How am I intentionally investing in the people around me? (family members, neighbors, friends, the church body…)
- How am I planning to go deeper into the Word of God this year? How am I passing God’s Word on to others?
- What steps do I plan to take this year to become more intentional in my prayer life?
Along those same lines, I am challenging myself to use these measures to help me evaluate my life within the framework of my current season. With three children—ages 1, 3 and 5—I’m realizing these years are slipping through my hands like sand. I know my friends who have experienced great loss this year would have a new perspective on choosing what is best in each season.
It has been a blessing for me to see this play out in my own mother’s life. She gracefully walked through each season of parenting paying close attention to the times she needed to forgo things that were good in order to invest in the areas that were best at the time. Now that she has more freedom during the empty nest years, the Lord seems to be blowing open doors for her ministry and the passions He placed in her heart years ago. But I know the years of denying herself and seeking what God had for her at that particular moment, during that particular year, have prepared her and launched her into God’s plan for her today.
Each season was important.
Each season had purpose.
But it was God who determined what was best through the years, and she was faithful to obey His leading.
For you this may be a year to slow down, simplify, and refocus on what is truly important.
Maybe this is a year to sew seeds, dig trenches, do the hard work, and plow ahead even when you don’t see immediate results, trusting God with the rest.
This may be your year of harvest; the time you will reap blessings and the benefit of years of hard work and intentional efforts.
Or it may be your time to serve; to find a need and meet it. To open your eyes to the ones God put around you and pour yourself out on behalf of others. Though this is something we all should be doing, you may be in a season of life that allows you to go above and beyond the norm.
May this be our prayer and heart’s desire as we enter 2017:
Lord, your Word says, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Prov. 16:9) We lay our plans, goals, lists and desires down at your feet. We are asking you to show us what you have for us this year, in this season. We pray that we would have the discernment we need to know when to say no and when to say yes. Guard our minds against the distractions that so easily entangle us. Lead us in the pathway of life. We humble ourselves now and submit to your plans for us this year. We desire to listen and faithfully obey your calling.
If you are interested in going deeper in your relationship with the Lord this year through the study of His Word and building an intentional prayer life, see below for a list of recommended resources. May God bless each of you this New Year!
Recommended Resources for the New Year:
*This post contains affiliate links to resources that can be purchased on Amazon, but the opinions are our own. The limited commissions made through affiliate links are used to keep this blog running. Currently no individual is paid for their work on this blog.
Lindsey Wingo is the founder and editor of the Missional Motherhood blog. She is the wife of Worship Pastor, Ryan Wingo, and stay-at-home mother of four sweet kiddos—Ivey, Ruthie, Charlie, and Henry. It is her prayer and vision that Missional Motherhood would unite mothers from around the globe with the common purpose of raising up a mighty generation of Christ-followers in an increasingly dark world. Lindsey loves to connect with other women and to study and teach God’s Word. She also enjoys coffee and chocolate (YUM), sewing, game nights with her family, days on the lake or at the beach, and her current idea of the perfect date night is cuddling in the bed with her hubby while watching one of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover DVDs! (That is, if a night at the Cinebistro is out of the question…) She is an imperfect mother who has to continually remind herself of the hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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