Glancing Back Before We Gaze Forward

Hey, most beloved blog community! As I finished my quiet time this morning, God moved you sweet things on my heart so strongly. I felt like the Lord was impressing on me to invite you along into a time of reflection before our faithful God today. If you’re like me, you take new beginnings pretty seriously. I’ve always needed them so badly. January 1st rarely rolls around that I am not sober before God about the next year and, because of His unfathomable grace, also hopeful. But as I closed up my journal for 2011 this morning, I thought about the profound significance of the final day of any given year. I turned back to the beginning of it and read the letter I wrote Him last January 1st and reflected on my state of mind and circumstances on that day. I sat with Jesus this morning for the next little while and deliberately looked back over 2011 and recalled the ups and downs of it and, oh Lord in Heaven, the CHANGES. Saying goodbye to my church of nearly 30 years and hello to a brand new church plant. Saying goodbye to my home of 27 years and embracing a new life out on a country road 6 miles from a town (and I don’t mean a city). And those are just the big things. Those are just the things I can tell in public. Grin.

I thought about how He had led me to accept something this year that, for years, I’d just found totally unacceptable. And how some strange measure of peace had come as a result. I hate to admit that this sanguine has, in her heart of hearts, always thought earthly peace was a little overrated. I was an idiot. I sometimes get tempted to negativity over that area of acceptance again (in human terms, it is worthy of negativity) but I sense the Lord saying something like this to my heart: “Do you really want to go back there?? Do you really want to have that particular thing then all that goes with it?” And the answer is no. It’s odd to me how God can use something that is so contrary to our desires to supply a different desire of our heart that maybe – just maybe – we wanted or needed even more. His ways are so far beyond ours. He is always right, however. And always faithful.

If any of you would like to participate, spend a little while today with Jesus being very intentional about your last year. The changes. The ups. The downs. The hopes. The disappointments. The inconceivable grace of God. Something He brought you through that you were sure you couldn’t survive. Or something that has yet to come to resolution and what He has done even in the midst of the wait. Philippians 1:6 says that God will complete the work He started in us when He first saved us. That means for our whole lives long, change will be part of the agenda. Are we still changing? Are we still growing? Is there any evidence of growth over our last year? These are important questions to ask ourselves before we get up tomorrow morning, put 2011 behind us (which is appropriate!) and embrace God’s goodness and grace toward 2012.

If you’re game, after spending those moments with God in reflection, write a comment to this post today using 3 words that have characterized 2011 for you. Tell us something that happened in your heart this year. I know that some of you have had a grueling 12 months and I don’t want you to have to fake it for our sakes but please consider and express ways God has also shown His faithfulness to you. He’s good even when a season has been anything but. Let’s be honest and authentic but let’s also try not to put a pall over the comments. There is so much to be depressed about out there. Let’s not let this community become just another place to feel discouraged. Our God has blessed us all in one way or another if we were willing to receive.

SO, this is an invitation to reflection. I’m going to let you go a little longer this time around in your comments because expression can be so incredibly therapeutic but still try to limit your writing to, let’s say, a maximum of three average-length paragraphs. Since you’re choosing three words that describe your year, maybe a paragraph a word is the best way to approach it. And don’t get too distracted in offering your 3 words in order of importance. Just throw them out there. If you get too fastidious and analytical, you probably won’t end up writing it.

I’ve already expressed most of the reasons for these choices, but in summation, I’ll go ahead and give my three words:

1. CHANGE. (I’m convinced to some degree that change is necessary to keep us from growing old and brittle inside. Flexibility and adaptability are subtle elements of youthfulness – not to the body that ages day by day  but – to the soul that’s being transformed from glory to glory. 2 Corinthians 3)

2. Acceptance. (Just in one basic area but it was a big one to me. I have a long way to go in acceptance as a general life rule!)

3. Surprise. (I just flat-out can’t figure Him out. And, most of the time, I’m glad.)

And what about you, my beloved Sister? What are three words that have characterized your year?

As we close 2011, please allow me to tell you again how deeply grateful I am for your faithful companionship. I love Jesus more as a direct result of this community. I am more in touch with people – astonishingly so! – because of this blog. And there is no doubt that I memorize Scripture more. You, ladies, are a GOOD FORCE in my pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ. You bear fruit in my personal walk with Him and that is the highest measure of an earthly relationship. Thank you.

I love you dearly.

 

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364 Responses to “Glancing Back Before We Gaze Forward”

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  1. 51
    aussie monica says:

    GRIEF…my beloved mum passed away at the young age of 67

    HOPE…because Jesus lives, I know mum lives

    GRACE…His mercies are new every morning

  2. 52
    Tammy says:

    Oh Mama Beth, I love you so. You have taught me so much in the years I have been following this blog and doing your bible studies. Thank you. Ok on with my words.

    1. Gratitude~ God has shown me how much I have to be thankful for. He is amazing to me in how His blessing overflow in my life. Sometimes I just can’t believe He does that for me. thank you hardly seems enough to show Him my gratitude. But I do it daily.

    2. Acceptance~This has been hard. I had prayed over something for many months and God said no. I know in my heart of hearts His plan is better than mine. But it was hard letting go and just accepting it. But when I did accept it, I found His peace. While His answer was not what I was looking for, I have come to understand His way is better than mine.

    3. Faithfulness~God is faithful to me. He is teaching me to be disclipined in meeting with Him and memorizing His word in my heart. When I fail with my flaws, he is faithful in bringing me back. What a comfort that is and how humbled I am that He loves me that much. I continue to learn of His faithfulness daily. I am sure this is something that will go on into 2012 as I sense He is not done teaching me about this. So I follow and graciously ask Him to be patient.

    I love each of you sweet sistas here and Mama Beth and your family. You are all the sisters I never had.

    Mama Beth I was wondering where you got that cute prayer journal. I just love it.

    Happy New Year to all of you sweet things.

  3. 53
    nlynch says:

    Expecting.First.Grandbaby!!!

    My youngest is on her way to Passion tomorrow….God Bless you all!

  4. 54
    Mary R says:

    Joy–Absolute delight of spending time with two granddaughters (3 and 1 years old). So much fun and laughter–nothing better!
    Beauty–I am finally (at age 61) taking up my grandmother’s love of gardening and this summer through that hard work we were blessed with a profusion of flowers along with some many other examples of nature’s beauty. As I am typing, a Cooper’s hawk just went after a downey woodpecker in the back yard.
    Helplessness/Fear-An adult son moved home to go back to school and he has a problem with alcohol. I feel helpless in helping him with drinking problem and fear that he will hurt himself or others. There is a battle in the heavenlies being waged over him and at times he is teetering on the edge. Divine intervention has pulled him back from the edge several times so my prayer is that he will seek the help he needs to overcome the drinking problem and God will continue to watch over him.
    Happy New Year and I will see you at the Reading, PA LP Live!

  5. 55
    Sharon says:

    *tweener* used for 9-12 yr. Olds but I realized I am a 59 yr old tweener. Between aging parents and adult children and grandchildren. They have needs that only a daughter, mother or granny can meet.
    *homesick* not really homesick, but that feeling of aloneness, the need to be close. I was looking at handwritten notes in my Bible and told my husband I am missing that in depth in person teaching that makes you so hungry. I told him I feel homesick. Is that weirld?
    *Awe* just knowing that God is bigger than any three words I could write. And that he loves me so much that my three words are important to him.

    • 55.1
      Cinthia says:

      I love your word to describe this age. It is such an odd age–some days I feel as though I’m needed everywhere at once by everyone. My mom, my father-in-law, my new Bonus Daughter or son, the teenager still at home. And, other days (sometimes very long stretches of time, in fact) I don’t feel needed by a soul. I now term it the “on-call” phase of life. I’m not physically needed everyday until I am needed and then I better run, quickly! Love this, thank you.

  6. 56
    Danielle says:

    Heartache. I lost two grandparents this year and had a turbulent relationship with my mother over the past twelve months.

    Despair. I struggled with pain and depression all year long.

    Hope. I began meeting with two wonderful doctors this year and feel much better both physically and mentally. I was also able to have an honest and open heart to heart conversation with my mother when I was home for her father’s funeral.

    My grandfather was a wonderful, Godly preacher and taught us all so much about faith and trust in God. I will miss him dearly, but I thank God for sharing this wonderful man with me.

  7. 57
    Patty says:

    1.Stressful, the enemy has attacked me so much this year. Every time I would start doing what God called me to do, I suffered greatly with my health and an onslaught of thoughts and vain imaginations. God always gave me the victory but it was a fight.

    2 Waiting, still waiting on a specific direction from God

    3. Blessings, I cannot tell you the blessings God has given me and my family and the blessings of abundance to help others was a gift from God. So many have helped our family in the past years that it was nice to be able to be in a position to help others.

    Happy New Year Beth and to all the Siestas!!!! May God astonish us in 2012, do more than we can imagine and all glory to Him!!

    Love,
    Patty

  8. 58
    Terry says:

    On January 5, 2011, I received a phone call around 1:00 in the afternoon with HEARTBREAKING news. It was my beautiful daughter-in-law, calling to tell me that her husband, my son, was having an affair. Over the next four months, I pressed into God on their behalf like never before. If I could have figured out how to press in even harder, I would have. Some of you will know what I mean when I say that I couldn’t pray hard enough, long enough, or sincerely enough.

    In early April, I received another unexpected phone call, this time from my in-laws’ physician. My mother-in-law was in the hospital and my father-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, was home alone. I was the only person available that day to deal with the situation, so I packed an overnight bag and made the 2-hour drive to my in-laws’ house. What I thought would be a temporary stay until my mother-in-law was released from the hospital, turned into 2 1/2 months of living with my in-laws, both in their 90’s. I have never been more DEPENDENT upon the Lord’s strength than I was during that season.

    The second week in April, when I realized I would be staying with my husband’s parents for an indeterminate length of time, I began to despair over the fact that I no longer had the luxury of time to spend praying for my son and daughter-in-law. Caring for my in-laws was a full-time, physically exhausting job. Dealing with my mother-in-law’s health issues meant getting up 2-3 times during the night, so I suffered from lack of sleep. Dealing with my father-in-law’s Alzheimer’s was nothing I was equipped for, and it left me emotionally exhausted. When I despaired over no longer having the time or energy to pray as I would have liked for my son and daughter-in-law, and when I began to feel hopeless over their situation, the Lord gave me Luke 18:1 for my April 15th memory verse: “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up!” For some reason, that verse renewed my HOPE in the Lord. And then, on Easter Sunday morning, as I was getting dressed in my in-laws’ basement, missing my husband and feeling a little sorry for myself that I would not be in church to celebrate Easter, my cell phone alerted me to a text. It was a message from my son that went something like this: “Mom, I wanted to tell you in person, but I met with [my counselor] earlier this week and she prayed with me to accept Christ.”

    I apologize for a fourth paragraph, but even if no one else reads this, I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to God for His perfect, intimate love for each of His children. When I read my son’s text on Easter morning, I was OVERWHELMED at the evidence of God’s goodness and mercy and grace. I was unspeakably grateful for the Christian counselor who led my son to Christ. And if that wasn’t enough, the intimacy of God’s love struck me like a lightning bolt and brought me to my knees! It was just like our Abba Father to give me news of my older son’s salvation on Easter Sunday, of all the 365 days in a year. My husband had been baptized the second year of our marriage on an Easter Sunday morning, and our younger son was born on April 19, 1987, also an Easter Sunday. I know there are skeptics in this world that would call it all a coincidence, but I know better. It was God, showing off His love for my son, for me, for my family.

    Thank You, Father, for those treasured moments when Your love is so real, so tangible, so overwhelmingly beautiful. You ARE the Lord, and there is no other. Apart from You, there is no god.

    Thank you, Beth, for being a faithful servant. You inspire me to seek Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. May 2012 bring you much peace and joy and blessings beyond measure, for all that you do to serve others, in the name of Jesus, to the glory of God our Father.

  9. 59
    Erin says:

    HOPE: I picked this as my theme word for 2011 last New Year’s Eve. We were hoping for a baby and a job for my dad (who’d been unemployed since July 2008). That hope was certainly challenged through the year, but as we close the books on 2011, my husband and I are preparing for the birth of our first child (due in June), and my dad is about to start a new job on Tuesday! Praise God!

    CHANGE: We were surprised when, in June, we felt the Lord leading us to become a part of a new church plant. It meant leaving our comfort zone for sure, but I can’t believe the blessings that have come since we took that step.

    DISTANCE: Through all the good things in 2011, I’ve felt myself becoming distant from God. I’m still crazy about Him, but I haven’t been devoting as much time as I should to my relationship with Him. This is definitely something I plan to work on in 2012.

  10. 60
    Joy says:

    His – as I’ve walked through 2011, I have discovered in new ways that He is mine and I am His. Never did He leave me or forsake me.

    Healing – diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization, chemotherapy, ovarian cancer – words that all marked the past year, but greater than the physical healing desired, the Lord brought healing to diseases of the heart. He touched, forgave and brought new life to me.

    Joy – yes, despite the road traveled, the tears, the immune system that was so weak that I’ve been housebound for 6 months, the many no’s that God answered, there has been an inner joy…a joy that can only be found in Him. As my name is Joy, God fulfilled this part of the fruit of the Spirit in me and breathed His joy back in His Joy. *smile*

    I can honestly say, it’s been a good year because God was with me, and God is good. (Beth, I spent all my months at home studying His Word and doing your DVD studies. Thanks for helping my thoughts focus on the Lord during this past year and being my “friend” at home when I had to remain in seclusion because my health was so compromised.)
    Blessings to you for 2012,
    Joy

  11. 61
    Maryellen says:

    This year has been challenging in many ways.

    Loss – I don’t have children and my doggie was my “baby”. Sadly this year on July 3rd I had to make the decision to end his pain. My sweet Solomon, my westie. I’ve never felt grief this deeply. I miss him everyday. Life is not the same without him. But the treasure the Lord has taught me through this pain is a real understanding for those who have suffered loss. To really feel a place in your heart that will never heal without those you loved. To understand how you go on and have joy again while still having that tiny space inside.

    Fear – for whatever reason my anixety attacks returned this year. It was quite a struggle over the summer months but by the grace of God I am making it to the other side. Thankful for the experience as I have been able to witness and help so many folks who experience anixety including my own Mom.

    Waiting in Hope – my husband and I are waiting on the Lord to move us from NJ. We have wanted to relocate for some time but want to be sure we are following Gods will and not just our desires.

    I am very thankful for 2011 and all the Lord has taught me. I look forward in hope for 2012 because I know He who began a good work in me is able to complete it !

    Happy New Year Beth – doing your study on Esther in a few weeks – really looking forward to it.

    • 61.1
      Beth says:

      Oh, Maryellen, I’m so sorry about sweet Solomon. I could still cry over losing our two several years ago.

    • 61.2
      Janet says:

      Maryellen, I have tears about your sweet Westie, because I too, have a sweet Westie who is over 15 years old and I know I won’t have much more time with him. He was my first baby and the best companion ever. I cry at the thought of losing him someday.

  12. 62
    Anne says:

    Stagnant – This is a year when I felt stuck in a number of ways. I can praise the Lord, though, for second chances to get out of devastating rut. I’m looking forward to some great possibilities next year.

    Weariness – Provided transportation for a loved one going through an extended period of illness, and the doctors have worn me out (unintentionally, of course).

    Faithfulness – I have been reminded of the faithfulness of God in so many ways, both as Provider and Sustainer. Praise the Lord for a sure hope in Christ!

  13. 63
    Kim says:

    On December 31st of 2010 I wrote a letter to the Lord and told Him how absolutely desperate I was for Him to be with me to face the challenges awaiting me in 2011. I knew I had some hard decisions to make and while in my heart of hearts I already knew what needed to be done sometimes knowing the right thing to do and actually doing it are two entirely different matters. He has been ever so faithful to love and provide for me through every change I knew was coming and even the ones that caught me by surprise. He has flat out blown my mind with more than I ever could have imagined on my own. HE DELIGHTS IN BLESSING US SIESTAS! My three words are:

    1. TRUST – “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.” Psalm 91:1-2, NLT

    2. JOY – “The LORD has done great things for me and I am filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3, NIV

    3. PEACE – “Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:26-27, NIV

    I love you all and pray the LORD rains down blessing upon blessing on all of you in 2012!

  14. 64
    Diana A. says:

    Just this morning in my quiet time, God asked me to look over my year, and we talked. (before I came here)

    In my devotions He gave me “the fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of rightousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isa.32:17-18

    My plan for 2012 is to claim these verses.

    My words over 2011; Know GOD, Trust GOD, Praise GOD!!!
    He gave me time and called me to a deeper level on all 3 areas/words and I look forward to 2012 for His challenges.

  15. 65
    Debbie says:

    Grieving… the loss of my mother as I knew her, as she retreats into simpler routines and assisted living, the consequences of dementia.

    Intentional… time spent daily with God in prayer and the reading of His Word.

    Gratitude… for the sweetness of life with my husband and four children. Day to day, it’s up and down, but I am so very thankful for all that it is.

  16. 66
    emi says:

    Courage: Taking 2 college classes to return to workplace after being a stay at home mom for 9 years.
    Trust: my son’s health issues & my husband’s job challenges/struggles
    Peace: from some disappointments I have been struggling with.

    The SSMT verses were so much my anchor/reminders of God’s work before me, with me, and around me. Thank you for this ministry. Happy New Year!

  17. 67
    Lisa Curtis says:

    Surprised, Healing and Thankful

    Surprised: I decided to join the SSMT and go to Houston in 2010, ordered 5 spirals. Why 5, I have no clue but God did. I knew I could memorize the scriptures and was a bit arrogant about it but man, has it been a challenge. One challenge that I can today say I have accomplished and I get to come to HOUSTON!!!!!!!! Why 5 spirals, 1 was for me, 2 for my girls (they didn’t follow through. I’m blaming it on their age) and as it turned out one for my Sister in law and we are coming to Houston together with husbands. And, one, for a broken woman who just needed encouragement. She began too late to be a part but the spiral has given her a focus when she felt she didn’t have one. Surprise doesn’t seem like the right word since I should not be surprised at anything when God is the center. I guess the surprise is that with just little ol’ me deciding to memorize scripture with thousands of women I don’t know God has worked miracles. I am too wordy but God has surprised me over and over this year.

    Healing: Still very deep in the pit of grief but trying to heal and believe that the tragedy that brought the grief is for God’s glory.

    Thankful: I could write pages on my thankfulness. God has spoken through His Word, our friends, family, and His most amazing creation just to name a few. Honestly and with the most sincere respect my most spiritual moment was when our choir sang “Thanks Be to Our God” with Travis Cottrell. The whole experience was remarkable but we all felt as though we were in God’s hands during that song. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket and my family is waiting for me to get the reject letter from our choir director but God prompted me to join when I heard Travis was coming to our church. Ah, it gives me goosebumps and tears of thankfulness everytime I think of it.

    Thanks be to our God for my life in 2011 in Jackson, MO, USA!!!!!!!!!!! He could have put me anywhere!

    See you in 20 days!.

    Much love,
    Lisa

  18. 68
    Nicole says:

    deeply loved sinner

    🙂 After believing for many years that God loved me out of his duty to love everyone, He showed me this year that his love for me is despite my failures, because I am His, and absolutely unstoppable.

    through scripture and prayer, he revealed to me in the tenderest way that I have nothing to offer and He is just fine with that:) After being a Christian for many years, he’s brought me joy like never before.

    i don’t usually comment, but am putting this in words in case some other precious heart needs to understand this amazing truth. It’s changed me forever:)

    • 68.1
      Heather says:

      Thank you so much. I needed to hear that. I have struggled for so long with the same lie. Thank you for writing. May the Lord bless you.

  19. 69
    Lisa Curtis says:

    P.S. My one and only resolution is to maintain my quiet time and a PRAYER JOURNAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. 70
    Julie says:

    2011 has been a year filled with
    New Beginnings: My husband & I had been unhappy with the continuous travel his job required for several years. He was missing out on being involved with our daughters lives as much as he wanted and I could see they were missing their Dad as much as I was missing him. God gave my husband an idea to start his own business that would mean far less travel and leave the security of his regular paycheck. God gave me the trust to encourage my husbandto go for his new dream when He lead me to my first scripture memory verse for Jan 1st 2011…Isaiah 43:18-19.

    Answered Prayer:
    I accepted Jesus as my Saviour many decades ago, but I have always struggled with having a daily time reading the Bible and praying. One of my New Years Resolutions for the past several years was to read the entire Bible and start everyday in prayer. Normally by March I let the other priorities of life get in the way and would stop trying. Last January I dutifully began again with Genisus 1:1…..by the end of Frebruary I was starting my regular struggle when out of the blue my husband told me he wanted to get up with me in the mornings and read the bible together and pray together. This morning we finished Revelations and will begin again tomorrow. It has been a prayer of mine for a long time that my husband and I would be able to pray together and read God’s word together. God faithfully answered this desire of my heart.

    Being Still:
    As 2011 raced by with the normal committments and events and busyness, I found God providing me with times of nothing on my calendar. Instead of looking for a way to fill in the space, I sat still and listened for His voice. It has been amazing the encouragement He has given me when I stop talking. 🙂

    Happy 2012 to all of you.

  21. 71
    PopTart says:

    2011: My verse for the year was Isa. 43:19 little did I realize that 3 months later my word would be 1)CHANGE/NEW- husband’s new job, new house, new city, new schools, new neighbors, etc. 2)REST – after a 5 year season of living close to my family and being a caregiver I was moved away and allowed to rest some 3)ACCEPTANCE – I am truly making strides in learning to be content where He has me.
    *Note – please pray for my new neighbor Mindy who just got the report that her cancer has returned for the 4th time.. and for me to minister to her at His leading. God moved me here for a reason…

  22. 72
    Texas in the Mountains says:

    1. NEW! Went on a mission trip for the very first time. Rocked. My. World. Changed my life, in a good way. In a forever way.

    2. old. Came back from the trip, fell into deep depression, then fell into an old sin. That nasty old pit.

    3. Same. God’s grace is the same. His redemption is the same. His mercy is the same. And PRAISE the LORD, His love for me is the same as it was before I went on my trip, after I fell into the pit, and today. HE picked my up, dusted me off, lifted my chin and said
    “I love you so very much”.
    Where would I be without my Savior? I pray I never will know the answer, for His love is an everlasting love.

  23. 73

    thanksgiving: learning to really be thankful for all things, that He is the giver of good gifts though sometimes I have to see it from the backside to discover it!

    freedom: God was so faithful to open my eyes to underlying people pleasing. Though it rears it’s ugly head, I see/catch it better now and am stumbling along in victory. Jesus, thank you so much!!!

    maturity: many painful events in the lives of family and friends has reminded how much I need to continue walking humbling with Him. (Col. 2:6-7) I thought my 30s would be so much fun. Now, I realize there’s a lot of “adult” problems and I can’t act like a child and refuse to deal with them/cut people out of my life. God has humbled me many times for thinking I’m better than others, when really it’s only by the grace of God I’m not in one pit or another. Two weeks ago, I just was in tears the whole weekend, marveling at His goodness toward me. I never want to forget that precious encounter.

    Much love to you Siesta mama! I am “attending” Passion at home in So. Cal. and praying for my sweet LPM girls. God is up to a mighty work and I’m so grateful to have this little part of it. See you in a few weeks in Houston!

    Happy New Year!
    rachel

  24. 74
    Kristen says:

    Faithful – Over & over again this last year He has proven faithful to us. We would not have made it if not….

    Hard- This. year. was. rough. Coming out of 9 months unemployed, this was a year of seroius catch- up & some really strong let-down. But we. made. it!

    Goodness- He is good. And not a day has gone by in the last half of this year that He has not shown off a little to me… He has come through even if not the way we had envisioned at the start…

  25. 75

    My three words for 2011 would have to be …

    Overwhelmed ~ He just stuns me! Continually! With His goodness and His faithfulness. I love Him so much!

    Stillness ~ Psalm 46 is one of my favorite passages of scripture and verse 10 begins “Be still and know that I am God”. Earlier this year, the Lord impressed upon my heart to look at the first part of that verse backward. Yep, like this … “Know that I am God and be still.” Kind of puts all things in perspective for me, in the ups and the downs … He. Is. God.

    Expectant ~ He has a plan and purpose for each one of us; something that only I (or you) can accomplish. And, I feel so giddy at times with great expectation at how He will open doors and use us for His great fame and great glory. I look forward to walking more fully in His plan for my life during 2012. I’m all Yours, Lord, lead on!

    Happy New Year!
    Cindy K.

  26. 76
    Betty M says:

    Dear Beth,
    I too am closing my 2011 journal eager for 2012!
    My words and thoughts!
    GROWTH: I am no longer walking fearfully but by His Grace am changed! On a dark night when fear comes lurking, I just reach out, grasp His hand and He lifts me up with His strong right arm! I no longer need meds for depression. I no longer am dependant on a therapist to help me find the light. I no longer and popping pills to level me out! I have the Wonderful Counselor, it has taken me so many years to realize HE is ALL I NEED! I mean that with all my heart and soul!!! He can deliver anyone from devastating lows and stand them on a solid rock of love.
    ACCEPTANCE: With His help, I have totally forgiven my only sister who stole my earthly inheritance, saw to it that I served jail time ( a long rediculous story for another time), Kept me from seeing my earthly father until he died, and gave me a check from the estate to the total of $10.00!!! She has developed cancer and has asked for my prayers. I message her daily and have promised to be right beside her however this disease plays out in her life.Everytime I pray the Lord’s prayer and say “forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us” I am aware that I really am asking Him to forgive me the same way I forgive her! Wow! Cannot say the Lord’s prayer any more with out thinking about that!
    CHALLENGE; I keep pestering Him evry day! I want to do more for Him and it is frustrating becuz I don’t know what else He wants me to do!!!! I have been told to write a book. Somehow, I feel I have nothing new to add that has not already been said by others even though I know there are fresh ears. I don’t know if that is my calling and where to start!!!I think I would love to do public speaking! I have done alittle and know how He gives me the words and the power to deliver them but how do you start and where??? So far I am teaching SS to some adorable preschoolers and a girl with LD problems and I love it. I facilitate other groups too and love doing it. But I am eager to do more and don’t know where to start I need prayers in that area.
    I am eager for 2012 and I hope this next year will be one of continued growth, acceptance and challenge cuz I know Who is gona be righ there beside me.
    Best wishes to y’all in 2012! Hugs from the Heartland, Betty M

  27. 77
    Marissa says:

    STRETCHED THIN – This has been a year where many things have felt stretched thin: time, patience, sleep, finances, personal space, all of it – and much of the stretching has been as a result of good things: small children, church planting, writing, family, people, faith. But it’s been a very different way to live each day, and going into 2012 I pray that the thin places will give us a new glimpse of the Lord.

    CHALLENGING – Many of the ares where I feel like I need to be “in control” have been challenged this year. Previously unknown anxieties, losses, fears have cropped up in unexpected ways, and I look with hope that all of this will ultimately grow faith and courage, but, boy has it been a challenge!

    AWAKENING – Having many small children close together leaves little time for reflection: the sleep deprivation alone will do it – a tough thing for an introvert. I finally feel like I’m coming up for air – that there’s space to reflect and listen and order things rightly. It’s so welcome!

    May the nearness of the Lord be our good this New Year!

  28. 78
    Barb Churchill says:

    Thank you so much Beth for your honesty & sharing revelations into your soul!! Your walk with Jesus is so inspiring to me!!
    1. RECONNECTION: my estranged daughter’s husband of 2 yrs left her & she has reached out to me for comfort AND she is open to keeping a copy of “Jesus Calling” in her home – I pray He calls her so loudly, she cannot refuse to listen!!
    2. RENEWAL: memorizing verses has renewed my faith & so has doing several LPM Bible studies plus reading “Jesus Calling”
    3. GRIEF: both my children are hurting from bad marriages & I have to face whatever I did or lived that has led them to these relationships, Praise the Lord for His Mercy & praying for His healing touch on their lives – I know He is waiting for them to lean on Him.

    May you all be blessed with a closer walk with our Lord this new year!

    love, Barb

  29. 79
    Teri says:

    I have so much to be grateful and thankful for that the Lord has blessed me with this year that I am so excited to love Him more this year than last…

    2011 summed up in three words:

    Committed, Aware, Ready

  30. 80
    Stehanie Jo says:

    Waiting ~ I am waiting on the Lord in a huge area of my life, waiting for His Hand to guide. I praise Him for His patience with me as I ask for more patience. 🙂

    Cultivating ~ He has been so faithful to keep cultivating in me a need, desire, and more passion for Him and His Word. I want it so bad but boy oh boy have I acted like a brat at times when He was trying to give me these blessings.

    Awed ~ That He desires to use me after all my past failures, awed that He still speaks to me after I have stormed off and thrown a fit, awed of the peace He’s given in the midst of all the turbulance, greif and unknowns this life is throwing at me and my family. Awed that He desires me. Awed.

    Blessings to Seista Mama, thankyou for serving us, my walk with Him is so much richer because of this community!

  31. 81
    Sarah Longing says:

    I’ve spent the last few weeks really digging into what God wants from 2012 and how I’ve lived in 2011. He gave me 3 words for the past and 3 words for the future a few weeks ago. I rarely post on this blog, but it seemed like something He’d been preparing my heart to do, so here goes. My three words for 2011 are:
    1. conviction-He has been so faithful to point out sin that is almost invisible to the naked eye. I love that He gets pickier and pickier with my heart as we walk together.
    2. freedom-He has begun a work that I could have never seen coming by releasing me from a deep desire to have the approval of man (men and women) and from feeling that I always had to perform to what people expected of me. He also showed my that people expected so much from me because I had been so dishonest with who I really was. Freedom!
    3. service-He has taught me to serve and love others. This is a huge struggle for a self-idulgent woman and I have giggled with Him about how incredible this change has been.

    Here are the 3 words He’s given me for 2012. I’ve already printed them out and taped them in my 2012 journal. I plan on spending my Quiet Time with each word, one on one, until He gives me the go ahead to pursue the next word. I can’t wait to see what these words mean in my life!

    2012 Words-Faithful, Excellence, Compassion.

    • 81.1
      Ann says:

      WOW – the service part you stated is exactly how I feel – I do giggle at how opposite this is of me. 🙂 Thanks for making me giggle!!

  32. 82
    Cindy from Ohio says:

    All – every good and perfect gift is from above, all, what we might think as a bad experience is allowed by my
    heavenly Father who sends good to me, every time, all the time.
    IS – He is and was and is to come, HE came in my nights of no sleep and ministered as only HE can, He showered me with strength and peace and guidance and love and
    faithfuliness. I stand only because of HIS grace.
    GRACE – His amazing,overflowing,uncontainable,GRACE. Grace that cleansed and pardons, GRACE that is beyond my comprehension. GRACE that is greater, that causes me to stand firm and strong, HE supplies all and my all is what I desire to give my REDEEMER in 2012.

  33. 83
    Victoria says:

    Change, Submission, Faith

    I think these three words go together or at least work hand in hand. I too recently moved into a new home and fought long and hard all the way there. I vowed to never become attached to a house again. Another change just around the corner is starting a new bible study at my church( I am moving to a new time slot with new people after 6 years of studying with a large group of women) We will begin “James” mid-January. As I reflect on this year of change I am convinced that unless I am willing to be submissive to change, God can’t complete his work in and through me. I have also learned to embrace each season as it comes.

    Even when I think I know what is best for me I am quickly reminded that only he knows what is best for all of us. His ways are higher than ours and I trust him completely.

    I look forward to this new year ahead and want to be used by God to bring him glory. Beth, I hope that you enjoy your new home and this new season of your life. I thank God for you, your ministry and your willingness to share and encourage so many of us. God Bless You!

  34. 84
    Lisa says:

    Frustrating Unfathomable Goobyes

  35. 85
    CJ says:

    Survivor – not because of anything that I did but because God made it so. Diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 2010, I can now say I am cancer free and the worst is over.

    Saved – by His grace. After denying him for he majority of my life, he finally exposed me for what I was and it wasn’t pretty. Letting go and trusting him has been the hardest part of my life, especially because I put my trust in men rather than Him.

    Change – God has so changed my direction in life. I got out of a relationship that I knew was not good for me. I still struggle with the loss but God is helping me through it. I started college for the first time in my life and I found a wonderful church family who is helping me grow each and every day. I’m praying that God will provide me with a better paying job this next year to help provide for my family.

    I so look forward to the challenges and all the things I have yet to learn with the Lord. Happy New Year, Beth and thank you for this blog.

  36. 86
    Chrissy Myal says:

    I love time to reflect and have renewed hope once more because of His great faithfulness over every yesterday.

    My three words are…

    Repentance.
    Gratititude.
    Surrender.

    And if I had to choose a fourth it would be AMEN! Blessed 2012 to this wonderful siesta community!

  37. 87
    Paula says:

    Testing is my first word. I feel like I have been put to the test in certain areas of my life and come up short.
    Eucharisteo is number two. This is the word for giving of thanks I learned from Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” which taught the principal of giving thanks in everything.
    Grace is last but not least. There are times I felt covered in grace and at others I believed it to be afar off. Nevertheless , my thoughts and feelings never negate His Grace.

    • 87.1
      Paula says:

      I just read through all the posts. Honestly I was so encouraged as I realized once again that I am not alone in the trials and tests. It ‘s as though a ray of sunshine broke through upon me today as I read. I have been sitting here coughing with the flu and feeling sorry for myself. No more. Thank you Siestas!

  38. 88
    Nancy says:

    Blessed – I just finished my first year of being a homemaker. I have worked for 30 years and my husband decided it was time for me to be home (which is where I have always wanted to be).

    Thankful – As it turns out my Mom has macular degeneration and has become legally blind in one eye but still has sight in the other. My Mom took care of my Dad several years ago when he had alzeheimers. She spent her days totally making sure his needs were met and not thinking of hers. But I still say thankful because I have asked the Lord to stop the blindness. The last visit to the doctor he said we didn’t have to come back for 6 months there had been no change. I did tell him who was responsible for that. And yes I am thankful for the time she and I have had we talk a lot more now than we ever did.

    Hopeful – My friends say I have a Pollyana way of thinking but I know where my hope comes from. Hope was born in a stable, died on a cross and rose from the grave. There is always hope!

    • 88.1
      Tammy Bellinger says:

      Just to give you some more hope, my mother is 84 and has had macular degeneration in one eye for close to 20 years now, and a macular hole in the other eye. She was declared legally blind in both eyes a long time back. Thanks to the Lord’s touch, her macular degeneration has not progressed in many years. The doctor just raves about her coping skills. Many people don’t even recognize that she is visually handicapped unless they spend a great deal of time with her. She still sews better than I ever have. I just have to thread the needle for her! The Lord will see her through this. Take hope!

  39. 89
    Amanda says:

    1. Blessings: I became a Mother of 3 beautiful boys and I affirmed my faith in Jesus by making the decision to become baptized
    2. Heartbreaking. Our oldest son went to be with Jesus in July unexpectedly. It was a big test of my faith and I am so glad I can say Ive never felt closer to Him.
    3. Safe. God has given me so many outlets and so many people to cry, scream, vent, and smile with.

    • 89.1
      Beth says:

      Amanda, I’m nearly slack jawed. I am so sorry about the lost of your oldest son. Oh, gracious, may Jesus be blatant in His ministry to you and bring full redemption.

    • 89.2
      Sally Denton says:

      Oh Amanda, I have three boys as well and I can’t imagine but I went through an unimaginable pain with one of mine but not death but he wanted to take his life….There was one day where Jesus gave me a peace that I could not describe when the pain became something I confessed was too much for me to handle and a friend said “That’s ok, Jesus can handle it” I will pray for that peace for you.

  40. 90
    Leslie Olson says:

    1. HolySpirit (which I have now changed into one word). It was a year where I am beginning, very very beginning to grasp the presence and power of the One that Jesus left for us. So excited to go deeper with Him and explore the relationship.

    2. Empty (Nest-wise) Our last unemployed daughter got a teaching job – YEAH! Praise Him! But boo hoo it is in the SW corner of Kansas and we are in Minneapolis. 13 hours drive time is 12 hours too far for me and my other two beautiful daughters are in CT which is too far of a drive and a Round Trip Air Fare from me. I’m thankful for the provision God has given them in this economy and praying that independence will bring them closer to the Lord.

    3. Turbulence – there’s been some turbulence in our future which has been very painful…but yet He is here, I know it, I need to walk my talk through tough times and good times, I need to love those who are not as easy to love, those who have hurt, those who are indifferent “for even the tax collectors can love those who love them” (Gospel of Matthew). I have to keep believing that peace and rest are mine in Christ – I just need to claim them.

  41. 91
    Tack says:

    Surrender- God called me to retire from coaching sports after 20 years. While wrestling with the decision I would hear the song “All of Me” by Matt Hammitt. I would think how many times I have promised God all of me but continued to hold onto so much of me. Now when that song comes on I make up my own lyrics. I sing to God, “You have more of me and I’m on the road to giving you all of me.” Looking back on the years I can see where He is faithful to me even when it takes me time to surrender to Him.

    Transparent- I am more transparent to people about my flaws and feelings and as a result God has used those things to help others and myself.

    Blessed- Even in the most difficult circumstances I can now see the blessings that I used to overlook. I’m also more apt to see God’s hand in the good times too. Come to think of it I recognize His blessings in the mundane too.

    Happy New Year
    Lisa

  42. 92
    Dawn says:

    2011 – repentance, restoration, prayer

    This year a relationship I cherish was restored. God has shown me areas of sin that He is helping me turn from. A medical condition that brings daily pain and being the parent to four children (3 teens!) has brought me to my knees daily!

  43. 93
    Melissa says:

    My three words might sound a little strange but here they are
    1. uneventful-which means my family had a quiet year no major ups and downs and for this I am grateful. Maybe the word I should have used was peaceful.
    2. self-discipline- This was my one word for this year and on some things I did pretty good on. I started an excercise program and stuck with it. ( I hate to excercise) I have been eating more healthy this year. And I also completed the scripture memorization challenge and that took some discipline.
    3. self-indulgence- seems lke as I look back over this year that I spent a lot of time and money on things I wanted. This I am not proud of, just being honest. This is something I will work on for next year.
    Thank you God for new starts!! I love a new begining!
    Happy New year Beth and everyone at Living Proof.

    • 93.1
      Karen says:

      Your post is similar to mine. I too started exercise and usually won’t stick with it. Don’t beat yourself up on self indulgent, people work hard and deserve some incentive. When I do this I go through the house and purge things to donate. I figure my old is new to somebody. be blessed,

  44. 94
    GJ says:

    Sweet Beth:

    2011 will go down as a year of much needed spiritual growth for me. I’ve grown more the past year than I have my entire Christian life. The growth came about out of some hard times, but I wouldn’t take ANYTHING for this season. As 2011 ends tonight, we are rejoicing as our church’s new pastor preaches for the first time in the morning, 1-1-12!

    My 3 Words:
    RELEASE – I’ve always known I wasn’t really in control…but as the first-born daughter of a career Marine, I haven’t always lived like I believed it. 2011 gave me many opportunities to see God’s blessed controlling first hard. I can truthfully say I turned in my “badge” 🙂 this year and gained much freedom. GOD IS IN CONTROL – HE IS THE BLESSED CONTROLLER. I can trust Him and He is faithful and He knows best.

    QUIETNESS – As a result of a difficult season in ministry the first half of 2011, I really learned (and LOVED my scriptures) that in quietness and confidence is my strength. Exodus 14:14 – I am to remain silent and He will fight my battles. I don’t have to speak to or weigh in on every subject. There’s an old hymn I’ve sung to myself often that says, “Tell it to Jesus alone. There’s no other such a friend or brother – tell it to Jesus alone.” He can handle it because HE IS THE BLESSED CONTROLLER! 🙂

    SIMPLICITY – There is great joy in slowing down and keeping things simple. When the hard season of ministry came, I withdrew from “stuff.” I needed that quietness I mentioned above and so I filtered requests for my time (I also have a full time day job) through my family and the women’s ministry I love so much. I spent more time in my garden, enjoyed my grandchildren at every opportunity, and took up quilting! I just finished my 9th quilt and I love what that discipline has brought to my heart. I’ve learned to delegate more too and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun and good.

    Beth – I’m so happy about your new home and I pray it will be such a blessing to you and your family as you begin making new memories there. Praying for Passion and all that your schedule will take you to this next year!

    Excited about 2012 with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!

    Your Friend,
    GJ

  45. 95
    God's not-so-little Dutch girl says:

    Blessed-God has blessed me abundantly this year as He does every year. I love when He puts the song “Blessings” by Laura Story on the radio multiple times on days I need it!

    Change-Started a new job this Spring. Said good-bye to a 2nd sibling of my husband’s this year. Glad they both are in heaven celebrating together this year.

    Awed-That God is in the little details of my life. He takes my breath away constantly.

  46. 96
    Kelly Morris says:

    I am humbled to add three words that characterize me for 2011. As I have read through some of the posts prior to mine, I am reminded of how fragile life is and just how good our God is. I love you, sisters, and I don’t even know you. Thank you for sharing.

    Joyful – I remind myself daily of God’s provision (even to the most minute detail). I don’t always get what I want, what I think I need – but I am blessed by exactly what I do need. I am learning to trust everything to Him, and to be joyful about not being the one in control of my life.

    Prayerful – I have spent much time in prayer for others in 2011. I would like to say I have a completely filled prayer journal, but most of my prayers do not make it down on paper. Journaling is one habit I would desperately like to change, and will see if 2012 will produce a written record.

    Thankful – I have daily reminders of how blessed I am. I see hurting people, angry people and lost people. I have hurts, struggles and get angry, too – but I am not lost. Not only am I not lost, but I have a wonderful relationship with my heavenly Father that fills me to overflowing, how could I be anything but thankful.
    I have adopted 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 as one of my life verses, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

  47. 97
    Amanda says:

    1. Child – my daughter, Mallory Anne was born on May 21, 2011 and we have loved every minute with her.

    2. Secure – I did the So Long, Insecurities Bible Study with some girls in my Sunday School class and have come out a new, more secure woman. Thank you!

    3. Blessed – 2011 had it’s ups and downs but in the end, God was, is and will always in control. We are blessed to have food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over our head and the most wonderful family and friends anyone could ask for.

    Happy New Year!

  48. 98
    Kim says:

    2011 began with the only word I can think of…HARD. I was finally beginning to deal with issues and hurts in my life with the help of a friend and counselor. That process lead to another word…HEALING. God slowly and beautifully began to show His love for me in a real and intimate way! Now this year ends with the word…HOPE! I love new beginnings and look forward to what God has in store for me this year!
    HARD…HEALING…HOPE!

  49. 99
    christina says:

    1.Delight – I thought this was my “one word” for 2011, but primarily I’ve learned the poverty of my delight for God, His Word, His people, my weaknesses. Much of my Christian life is driven by duty instead, so I have far to grow here.

    2.Endurance – Health trials have continued and multiplied, but based on God’s Word in James 1:2-4 I trust He is working endurance in me through these things I cannot escape. 🙂

    3.Strength – (See #2.) God has given strength to do and endure what I thought I could not.

    I haven’t done a very good job of stilling to reflect on 2011, but this is a good, accessible tool to do so. Thanks, Beth. May God bless you beyond your imaginings in your new home and changes.

  50. 100
    Cheryl, Ohi says:

    1) Transition – From nearly empty nest to first time grandmother!
    2) Renewal – After a season of too many losses God has blessed us with new life. I am reminded again of the miracle of birth and the new possibilities of each day. I also found renewal in my walk with Jesus.
    3)Blessings – too many to count and so much more than I deserve! God is so good.

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