Taking a look back is good for the soul. We are so forward focused that we’re prone to forget how far we’ve traveled. But, if we slow down and look in the rear-view mirror, we just might see evidence of God’s fingerprints on every page.
Let’s rewind 2016:
January: Let’s Choose Rest
I choose rest.
- I will linger long and be fully present for my loved ones.
- I will treat my body with tender care.
- I will set aside time to remember God’s goodness.
- I will cultivate a heart of gratitude.
May I purpose to choose His rest, rather than feeling frazzled and fatigued.
Rather than live a weary life, I want to worship.
Rather than being overworked, I want to be overwhelmed by His presence.
I choose rest.
February: Avoid Blind Spots
If you neglect to pay attention to your blind spot, a total wreck is inevitable.
I don’t want to miss out on the journey that God has laid out for me. I pray for God to teach me to exercise wise judgment, rather than running roughshod over others on the road.
A wise traveler follows the rules of the road to avoid a washout:
- Focus on the road ahead and turn off distractions: On the road of life, we need to create a quiet space and turn off the noise.
- Drive defensively with a watchful eye: Pray for protection as you move forward. Ask God to help you heed His signposts.
- Look in the mirror: God’s Word will point out obstacles in your path.
- Glance over your shoulder: Look back at the terrain behind you and avoid colliding with someone who is not traveling in the same lane as you.
- Leave space between yourself and careless drivers: A little distance creates space for you to respond wisely, rather than react out of fear.
The best way to avoid a crash is to stay in your lane and move forward on the path that God has lovingly laid out for you.
March: He Holds My Hand
One day, the rain poured down hard and heavy. Nothing on the horizon had prepared her for this onslaught. The wind blew so fiercely that she could not stand.
On the ground in the midst of the mud and mire, she looked up and cried out for help.
Quietly, she felt a Presence beside her. He reached for her hand, and she surrendered her will to His. Her Champion picked her up and carried her through an overwhelming wall of opposition.
Hand in hand, they pierced through the darkness and despair to the other side.
A song of praise now fills her frame.
April: Head Home
Sabbath is a returning home. God is my dwelling place — a refuge from the war that threatens to swallow me whole. Rather than rushing on in the wrong direction, I must choose rest and allow Him to renew me.
Sabbath is a surrender. I don’t know which way to go without Him. To avoid the road to nowhere, I must head home and allow Him to help me relocate my True North.
Have you lost your way? Get off the road for a bit.
Head home. A cozy spot close to His heart has your name on it.
May: Break Every Chain
How are things going with [insert name of my tough cookie here]? she asked.
“The same,” I responded. Nothing has changed. Her spiritual eyes are still darkened. She is seemingly deaf to the voice of the Lord. Her pace is steadily progressing on the road to destruction with no U-turn in view.
So, I sit in my office and cry out to the One who came to set captives free.
And He tenderly reminds me:
My love breaks every chain.
June: Take it Easy
As I gathered up my belongings to head back home, my dad leaned in to give me the traditional Cuban kiss on the cheek and smiled.
“Cojelo suave,” he said. Take it easy, kid.
Suave is not my style. My style is harried and hurried. I want to stuff more into my day, and I stretch out the week by staying up way too late. I am the proverbial 5-year-old in pig tails refusing to rest when her eyes are obviously heavy with sleep.
I drove home with my dad’s words on my heart. Cojelo suave
My spirit hears the tender voice of my Savior inviting me to lay down my load, sit down at His feet, and take it easy for a spell.
What would happen if I did?
July: Be Blessing Counter
I know I need to surrender my expectations. I know I need to walk in grace.
My unhappiness is not someone else’s problem. I can adopt a different perspective.
Rather than complain about what is not, I can choose to be thankful for what is.
I can determine to count my many blessings, and by naming them one by one, I will fight the ugly.
August: How to Fight the Worry Monster
“I have the worry gene,” I confessed. Left alone with my thoughts for more than 90 seconds, I will construct an imaginary apocalypse.
The Worry Monster is lurking around in the corners of my mind seeking to squelch my joy and steal my serenity.
Have you met the Worry Monster? His ability to magnify your fears knows no bounds if you give him free rein.
Just a few days ago, I received a series of frantic texts from a friend who was facing the bully head on. My response was simple:
Stop, Breathe, and Pray.
It’s like stop, drop and roll when your mind is on fire. You must turn your worries into prayers.
September: How to Host a Pity Party
Pobrecita literally means “poor little thing.” When Barby says it, it’s a term of endearment and deep understanding.
Pobrecita is quite similar to the Southern girl’s “Bless her heart.” And, because I speak Spanglish and had a close friend from Macon, Georgia in college, sometimes I will use these two phrases in conjunction for double the emphasis.
Pobrecita. Pray for her. Bless her heart.
The problem is that unlike Barby, I do not always have the gift of mercy. Sometimes, I think I have the spiritual gift of complaining (Yes, I know that this is not actually a fruit of the Spirit. I am working on that.)
So, I like to think: “Pobrecita Me!”
…My Pobrecita Persona can really rob me of my joy if I let it sit in the driver’s seat of my heart.
Pobrecita Me loves to throw a good pity party.
October: Just Breathe for 31 Days
I’m tired of running ragged. I want to be still and know that He is God.
I want to press in to know Him and spend my time investing in moments that have eternal significance.
I’ve forgotten how to “just breathe” and be.
Are you tried of the endless, crazy hamster wheel of life? We’ve raced along on an adrenaline-infused rhythm for so long that taking a break seems boring, barren, and baseless.
The enemy loves to get us busy.
When was the last time you “just breathed,” friend?
Let’s slow down together and remember that inhaling is a gift of His mercy.
November: Being Politically Right is Not About Me
Why can’t we just learn to listen to one another and realize that no one in the White House is going to make things right?
We live in a broken world, and only God can redeem and restore us. He alone can uproot the seeds of sin and death that our willful, disobedient choices have planted. Only God can unite and heal what seems completely broken and divided.
As we look toward the next four years, what exactly is my role as a Daughter of the King in the midst of a disruptive, captive land? My job is not to prove how right I am. I am not here to be the Holy Spirit and convict the hearts of men….
December: Christmas Heart
I don’t want Christmas to be about the perfectly decorated tree or the number of beautifully wrapped presents.
If I don’t have Christmas in my heart, I will never find it under the tree.
This year, I want my heart to be the only present under the tree. I want to offer my weary, ready for nap heart to Jesus.
It’s a good thing He loves broken and needy people. Because I really need Him.
Instead of running ragged on the Christmas treadmill this year, I am going to jump off the crazy train and plop down at His feet in my jammies.
There will be no stockings hung by the chimney with care, but I will be hanging on to Jesus.
I’m going to wrap up my heart in the wonder of Him this Christmas.
Q4U: If you were to rewind your 2016, where would you note God’s fingerprints of grace all over your story?
“Rewind: The Year in Review 2016.”