What does a person’s life say as a year draws to a close?  How have the 12 chapters played out?  Would yours be on a best-seller’s list?  Is it a “good read”; a mystery, a drama, a comedy, or an inspirational? How many stars would you give it?  Most importantly, are you ready for a sequel or a whole new series?

2011 has been full of all those genres; though I don’t know that it would be a “good read”!  I am preparing to flip the calendar from December 2011 to January 2012, and as I “sit at my desk” and ponder the next chapters, I think I have come up with some “New” ideas.

Definitely a new series, but with a string of impressions from 2011.  I’m not quite sure how I will even begin Chapter One, but I do have a plot in mind.  I spent a lot of time last year praying for God’s will, seeking His will, and testing His will.  I made some emotional decisions, pulled and pushed against Him, and kept praying for His will be done while hoping that “my will be done.”  This next year, I am taking from those experiences, giving Him room to redeem them, and resolving to BE WILLING.  So, the Prologue…

In a time and place that says 12 hours isn’t enough and that the grass is always greener somewhere else, how does one take Mr. Elliot’s advice to “where ever you are, be all there”?  How do I heed what Paul wrote to the Church in Colassae, “Set your hearts on things above..set your mind on things above not on earthly things…make the most of every opportunity”? How do I decrease so that He can increase? Perhaps it all begins with taking down the decorations.

On New Year’s Day or the day after, we always take down our Christmas decorations, box them up, toss what is falling apart or not working any longer, and put a “simple house” back together again.  (This year we did this a couple of days earlier.)  At first glance all seems rather bare…lacking…less.  Then I sit down in the comfort of my squishy couch and just revel in the riches of the decrease.  Now it’s not the multiple candles, figurines, seasonal scents and coffee mugs, twinkle lights, and colorful centerpieces that my eyes are drinking in.  Maybe for the first time in a long while I am truly seeing less of this world so that He might show me more His.  It’s a moment worth marking; a time when “all is stripped away and I simply come.”  A time He meets me in the quiet.  Maybe that’s one of our best times of worship – being quiet – since in that moment it’s not about our voices but His presence.

The thrills and hustles and bustles have silenced, and I am ready to start anew.  Where to begin?  I think of how my babies came into the world.  Weeping at leaving what was (warmth and comfort), but soon hushed by the nearness of my cheek against their own.  They came ready to be near me.  I will come ready to be near Him.  They came totally dependent on me, my nourishment, my nurturing, my care, and my protection.  I will come just the same.  Day after day, month after month, year after year each of my babies has grown at their own pace.  Each has a personality that makes them uniquely them.  Each has a purpose to glorify God, but the specifics of how are yet to be seen.  I, too, have been growing as He has cared for me, disciplined me, forgiven me, and stretched me.  My children have not sat down and declared their unwillingness to grow and mature, but I fear that some of my own actions have said this to my Father.  When I have refused what He has placed in my hand or when I have pitched a fit on the carpet over what He asked me to steward, have I really been stunting my growth by my unwillingness?

This year, I am still practicing the habit of opening my hands to receive and give whatever He desires.  This year is about His resolutions.  This year I will go out daily to gather the manna He has provided.  This year I will take the talent or talents He will give and instead of burying them, I will bring back an increase.  This year I will continue to give thanks for the moments and not just the past days.  This year I will stay open to being filled by Him, I will get ready to give an answer, I will ask to truly see, I will reach out a hand along with my prayers, and I will let go more than I will grab hold of.  I will partner with my husband and children to give more than we ever have.  If called upon by God, I will take courage and go and do and give whatever He asks.  I will live like the “New Testament” Church in a New Year.  I will stop talking about it and begin to do it…maybe even without a word.

At the end of each day, I hope I have the privilege to sit and look around the simplicity of a house without additions or extras and drink deep of His riches.  This year I resolve to live one more for eternity and one less for the temporary.  This is my chance to live for eternity…on earth, and it’s a chance I am WILLING to take.