What’s In Store for You In 2020?

Are you ready for 2020? When you think about the new year, what thoughts come to mind? Are you thinking, “THIS year HAS to be a better year!” Or maybe you are thinking, “I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!” It may even bring sadness to think of a new year because of what you have lost this year, and that feels like if you are happy for a new year, then you are leaving that behind and you relive the lost all over again. You might also find that thinking of the new year also means that you have made it through this season and feel proud that you have hung in there!

From this…
to this in 10 weeks

For me, I can say that this year has been fantastic in so many ways! I have seen God provide, answer BIG prayers, settle us, and guide us on some rocky roads. But you know what? I have also had some real hard times. I have lost life time friends, I have lost relatives, and have watched several leave this world for heaven because of cancer and other health problems. I have dealt with skin cancer myself at the beginning of October, and still dealing with the aftermath of three total surgeries to my face. I didn’t have much time to process that, it was like one step after another and then here I am with scars to my face. My scars can be seen by everyone. But many of you have scars that can’t be seen from the outside, but you carry them with you every day. I have the emotional ones of looking at myself in the mirror everyday, but I also see how God is slowly healing my face. I can see Him working. I have learned that God is with me during these times. Just because I am going through something tough, doesn’t mean God has changed and isn’t still there for me. It may be hard, I may have some strong feelings about my situation, but God is there none the less, and He hasn’t changed because of my circumtances. He is there no matter what we are going through! He never leaves us. That should give us great comfort. I may hurt, but God loves me and He is there to comfort me and bring healing to my mind, body and soul.

Here’s my take…I could have had the surgery (and yes my surgeon was great), but I could have just gone about my daily life and washed my face, put some moisturizer on it and called it done. I know what he told me to do, but hey, its a hassle and I don’t feel like it. And I’m kind of mad that I even have to do this because God let cancer come to my body. Here’s the point: He didn’t make it come to me. My body, my genetics, my life style, and many other factors played into getting skin cancer. Difficult things happen in our lives. That doesn’t mean that He isn’t there with us IN the hard times. So yes, I could have just done the minimum of daily care because I didn’t FEEL like doing the rest.  Would my outcome be as good as it has been? Would I see the healing that is taking place because I take care of the regime every day two times a day and sometimes in between?  I don’t think so. I can even cover a lot of it up with make up that makes it easier to go out and not have people stare or wonder…but it is still there in the mirror when I wash me face at night. You see, we will live with our scars every day if we don’t allow God to do the healing. God helped me to see that I have to trust it Him with it all. I can’t give him part of me. I have to surrender it all; even the most difficult parts of my life. Every time I look in the mirror, I tell myself what God has kept me from, and what He is bringing into my life.

It is like that in our walk with the Lord. We can believe there is a God and go about our life, but we don’t allow Him in because we are really upset about the fact that things didn’t go how we wanted them to go according to what we thought God should do.  I don’t feel like reading the Bible. I can’t seem to get myself to pray. Even going to church seems difficult.  Because really, I may be upset with my plans not going as I thought my life would.  Here is the kicker…God has His plans for our life. He knows what will happen in your life from the beginning to the end. It is what we choose to do with what happens in our life that makes it all worth while. We can go on in our life living in black and white, but there sure is a lot more joy when we begin seeing in color again as we allow God to direct us in His plan for our lives. We have to learn again to be in the present moment. That is one of my goals for the new year. I am still working on my list. I can’t believe how many of my goals God has graciously allowed to come to fruition this year. Live in gratitude my friends…it changes everything.

I’m looking forward to a new year with great expectation. But…I’m taking some scars I didn’t previously have, into the new year. What?!?!?? Are you thinking we should leave them behind because its a new year? We can’t. Not without Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us. If we try to heal on our own, we will be frustrated to no end. It doesn’t work. Instead, I asked Him,  “What is Your purpose in this, and what are You trying to teach me through it?” If I can turn it over to Him, THEN He can begin to work. I have seen Him answer so many prayers in my life since October! He has given me support in ways I would never have expected. Do I get discouraged and sick of not breathing correctly and getting colds on top of everything else going on with my nose? Of course! But then the Holy Spirit reminds me of what God HAS DONE, and I can’t help but thank Him. It took a year and a half of asking doctors about my concern for my nose to finally get someone to listen. And listen she did, and so did the next one and the next one, and the next one. God ordered the steps and just in time to catch it all. It meant a big changes, dealing with the shock of it, but I got clear margins. And…it may not be done. I may have to have a scraping done on the other side yet. I will know in January. I will trust Him in that also because again, it is about what He is possibly keeping me from.

You too, can step into the New Year with clear margins. Surrender. Less of a busy life. Quiet time. Relationship with God. Family time. Less social media. Ask Him to help with that. My word for the year 2020 is wisdom. I got this as I went into my third surgery. I believe because God knew I would need it to walk this out. I wanted to be an example of how to walk a tough road. I have had many, many of them, but this one was way different. It was going show up on the outside. No hiding this one. And…it was a bit scary. So when He gave me this word, I knew that it was right for me. I pray for wisdom, but I know I am to seek it on a deeper level than ever before.  We make the mistake of trying to operate with our own wisdom. God tells us our ways are not His ways. We need to accept that as truth if we believe God’s Word is truth. Just to remind me, for my birthday I was in a Scandinavian Shop and saw a necklace that I really liked. It’s name? It meant Wisdom. I have a great reminder. I have the word in scrabble letters as I do each year and put it in my studio.  Here is a scripture to go with the word:

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without critizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting.” James 1:5

Our lives may have broken places like broken pottery, but it can be made beautiful by the experience, which is the gold that gives it new beauty.

You see, if I am asking God for something, I need to ask in faith and believe! No room for doubt. When I feel weak, God is Who I turn to and I ask the Holy Spirit to bring the scripture to mind or a person to encourage me. He answers when we give it to Him first. God is just waiting for us to ask. Surrender is a beautiful thing and it certainly takes away the weight of the world off our shoulders. Don’t carry it with you. Turn it over this next year. In fact, just start again and hit the Reset Button in your life. Make the change with God’s help. Don’t try it on your own. Don’t just know about it, go to church on Sunday, hear a pastor speak, and then not seek relationship the rest of the week. Don’t just put it out there on social media, begin living it out! Take action!

I and my scars on going into 2020 with Jesus healing me like gold holding pottery together to make something beautiful from something that has been broken. You don’t know how God wants to use that in your life or in the life of others. I’m leading an online study on Hitting the Reset Button that will start in January and that is just what we are going to do. We are going back to the basics of what God tells us to do and live by, and then by the grace of God, we live it out. It’s online and you can come in at any time. Join me if you would like. Just leave your interest in the comments below. If we aren’t Facebook friends, you would have to request that in order for me to invite you because its a closed group.

May God give you the desires of your heart this next year. But be willing to go where He asks you to go, deal with what He asks you to deal with, and be obedient to His calling. You won’t believe the difference it can make in your life! That is the best testimony you can share with anyone…a life with joy and well-lived for the Lord. That is my prayer for each of you in 2020! Blessings…

Until next time,

~JoAnn

 

 

Don’t Miss Out

Dad's Harmonica

I know I have talked about his before, but this blog is about the journeys of my heart.  So, I will once again share today’s heart journey with you.

You know, as we get older, there are people we begin to lose from our lives, and the older we get the more of them we lose. I don’t have too many in the generation above me left now.  I have become the last generation, except for just a few.  I just recently received a photo of my grandfather in his element, working as a contractor/builder.  I loved seeing this for the first time!  As I was putting my grandpa’s picture in the picture frame to hang in my bedroom, I realized that this is yet another reminder to me of another time.  While enjoying the memory of the photo,  I received a phone call about another cousin who passed away.  There are have been many cousins who have left this earthly realm just recently.  So much of my childhood memories were spent with our family and extended family. We did holidays together, potlucks, reunions, overnight stays on weekends, and camp outs at the beach or lake.  We would ride bicycles in the summer time to meet up and play together.  When one family needed something and the other had it, we shared.  If one family was a bit short on groceries, they would be invited to dinner, or a package would appear on their door step.  Many of us might remember hearing our parents or grandparents talk about the “old days.”  I sometimes feel like I am now living the “old days”.  I have also come to understand why they said the things they used to say.  It enriches our lives when we understand more.  Ask questions if they are still with you or ask people who may have known them, to share a story or memory or two.  You can get to know them all over again!

IMG_4167
Grandma and little feet sharing life.

This particular man, my cousin, was happy all the time. Always had a smile on his face, and would always find something to tease me about. He enjoyed making me blush.  He was a ski instructor. I remember seeing him always wearing sweaters. I always thought that being a ski instructor was such a cool job to have. Kind of a status symbol to me since most men I knew as a child were blue-collar workers.  He was a ski instructor!  I mean, if you loved skiing, what better job could you have than to teach it, and be out doing what you love all the time!  He also loved music and he could play a one and half-inch harmonica like it was a full size one. In later years, he carried it around his neck on a chain and would entertain anyone around, that wanted to listen to him, with a tune or two.  Then he would ask, “How about that?”

My dad had three harmonicas.  One of them was mini harmonica.  He could also play that like it was his big harmonica.  I was always amazed that such a sound could come from something so small!  My older brother now keeps company with that little harmonica, and younger brother has his medium harmonica.  Thinking these thoughts, reminds me that life is very short, and spending time with each other and sharing memories is so important. Time goes so fast!  In the end, the memories we have and make, are what we have to share with OUR families.  My cousin’s music and story will live on in the lives of his wife and family.

A harmonica is rather special instrument to me because my dad played. I have his harmonica and I take it out and play it as best I can. I wish I could truly play because it is something that reaches deep in my soul every time I take it out. I can remember times when dad played with this cousin, and other relatives, and oh what fun it was to listen and watch.  You can see by the pictures that my dad taped and re-taped the box so that it would stay together to protectIMG_1500 his harmonica.  I treasure the box almost as much as I do the instrument because it just shows a little of my dad’s personality.  I have shown this box to my grandson many times as a part of his treasure box of memories that we go through when he comes to see me.  I try to add things all the time to that box so he has different stories to hear.  Someday, that box will be his, and possibly the harmonica as well.

So…today I remind you to consider choosing a legacy for yourself that can be told in years to come by your family.  Make memories today that will last a life time. Don’t let the music stop because loved ones are gone. Keep their song of life going.  I think when we do, THAT is when we truly understand them and the life they lived.  I think I know more of the heart of my parents and family now then I ever did!  If this hasn’t been your experience to have a family unit like this, then my wish for you is that you will decide today to be a generation changer.  You can always begin anew to set a legacy for yourself and your future.  I pray you do.

My song of life still has some verses to add, how about you?

Walking the journey with you…