Raw, real and possibly too much information, but that is how I will begin 2013.
Over the past several years it has become commonplace for bloggers and others to choose a word of the year. A word that each individual will focus on and allow God to work in them. Last year I became one of those bloggers and I chose 'Anew'. It was a perfect word for what God had intended to work in my heart in 2012. As I began to pray about this years 'word', the only thing that came to me was 'reach'. What an odd word I began to almost to complain to God. I wanted a real, cool word, but reach is all that would come.
As I began praying about why reach, the Lord opened my spirit to His.
At the end of 2011, nearly a year after losing Mark, I could feel the Lord saying it was time to begin to minister again, to begin giving back and reaching out. Unfortunately, those in authority over me, didn't like the way I had 'grieved out loud' during that first year after my loss and although they believed God was ready to use me and had actually called me to the ministry I was offering myself to, they felt it important to criticize and ridicule me by saying I was belittling, demeaning, hostile, ungodly.
Instead of being bold and moving forward with the calling God had placed on my life, I retreated, cocooned myself and stopped attending church. I allowed people's opinions of me to be more important than God's purpose and I closed myself off from nearly all forms of communication with church and church family. I internalized negative words spoken to me and began to believe I was worthless to God and this world. Yes, I believed man instead of God.
I did not reach out, I looked inward.
Over the past few months, as I have begun to allow God to speak to my broken and crushed spirit He has made it quite clear that reaching out is in fact what He has not only asked me to do but commanded of his daughter. He has spent time healing my heart and preparing me (again) for His purpose.
It's is sad for me to admit that my pride has kept me from serving God. Pride is an ugly word that the enemy can and does use to keep us from reaching out for fear of rejection or just plain old painful feelings. Pride kept me from forgiving the person who spoke those words to me, pride kept me from moving forward and reaching out.
In recent days I've had to forgive and accept God's forgiveness of me. As I lay pride at the foot of the cross I lay hurt and brokenness there as well. At the foot of the cross I find peace and grace!
Reach for 2013? Yes, that's the word, however, I have no idea how it will play out or what it will look like. How do you begin to reach for God's purpose when you are not a member of a church and have no ministry ties what so ever?
Yes, I have led women's ministry, I have written and taught Bible studies, I have spoken at retreats, yet what is past is past! I have NO picture of the future yet I have Faith, that God will fulfill what He has promised.
He has promised to be with me, to not leave me nor forsake me! He has promised that no matter what I face, He is strong enough to face it with me. He shall provide all my needs, His word will be a lamp on the darkened path, and He will calm the raging sea. When He has a plan and I desire with all my heart to be in the middle of that plan, He will fulfill it.
Reach for 2013? God only know.......
Thank you to Melanie at Only A Breath for creating my new one word button!