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

 

 

All from an Ember

IMG_2471

Sometimes it takes getting away to help us think; contemplate.  Where we are, what we want, what we may be missing, or what we are thankful for, and the memories we are making.  But whatever is on our minds, we certainly can think better if you get in a place where the noise of the world is far from us.

This last weekend, I was in such a place…our Cabins on Big River.  As my grandson was the fire attendant, he thought the embers were so low at one point that fire was out, so he spread the coals around a bit to allow it to go out.  Since we wanted to continue to use the fire, I used the bellows and gave wind to the embers and watched as the coals became flames, and the flames became a bigger fire once again. He was quite surprised!

IMG_2473I thought it was a good example of our life, and so with a teachable moment, I told Ethan a story… “Life is kind of like that Ethan.  It make look like there is no hope in sight.  Nothing is going right, there is a lot of stress, sometimes hurt feelings in the process.  We may have lost something important to us.  It can feel just like this fire that you thought was going out.  But when the bellows gave wind to the embers, they became coals of fire, and then became flames once again.  In my case, it is God who gives wind to the embers. He helps me see the good.  Encourages me to have faith.  It may also be a friend who calls or texts at the right time to encourage me.  Or, it can be someone who comes my way and for whatever reason, is led to help me.  It is kind of like your dad’s car situation. God worked out something for you both that you weren’t expecting.  That person gave wind to what seemed like a dead situation.  So when things look grim, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, let the winds around you give your heart a little firing up.  Fan the flame of hope for something better to come along.  God IS faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you.  He wants us to trust Him completely.”

It is always such a joy to me when God gives such profound wisdom over the simplest of things…but then He always does.  He WANTS us to understand.  It IS simple.  We just need to allow it to breathe life back into us.  I think Ethan got the message too.  At least that is my hope.

How about you?  Where do you need God to breathe wind into your life to fan the flame of your heart?  Ask Him.  He wants to do that; just as He breathed life in the beginning, He wants to do that again in you.  Will you let Him?  Will you close off the world’s noise to get quiet and lean in to Him?  Let that wash over you.  Just like a fresh stream of water you can sit by, let the trickle and rolling of the water refresh your soul.

Until next time,

~JoAnn