2015 was a challenging year for our little family, and deep down I think we knew it would be—we just didn’t know all the reasons why. So when I was challenged to come up with a guiding word or phrase for 2016, I really wanted to pick something like “joy,” but after prayerful consideration God led me to “patient endurance.” Sigh. I hope that instead of another challenging year that means we’re being prepared for whatever God has called our family to do next. Looking back I think last year was that too. It’s really all about perspective.
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2-3 NLT
For the past six months, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a huddle led by Sally Breen, one of the co-founders of 3D Movements, an international Christian thought-leader that aims to change the world by helping put discipleship and mission back in the hands of everyday people. This huddle—which I’ve enjoyed sharing with other women leaders at Oikos Church—led to a part-time, work-from-home position as Mike and Sally Breen’s executive assistant. I wasn’t looking for anything new and never thought that my choose-your-own-adventure career would land me here, but I believe God called me to help the Breens as well as the staff at Oikos. This fall I started volunteering for Oikos, which started with creating a communication plan and continues with my crafting our church’s weekly emails. I always secretly thought it would be fun to work for a church someday, and now I get to, while still getting to stay at home with my kids. I wouldn’t have had the capacity for either opportunity if I wouldn’t have quit my job back in the spring of 2014 (read more about that here). Funny how God works like that. As we sing in “Good, Good Father”: “You know just what we need before we say a word. You’re a good, good Father.”
Now back to the topic at hand, after challenging us to select a word or phrase to guide us and our families in 2016, Sally asked us to come up with related physical, emotional and spiritual goals to make our words of 2016 more tangible. So in an effort to keep myself fully accountable, I’m sharing mine with all of you:
Physical: Establish a weekly routine that allows time for rest individually and as a family, exercise and abide time with God.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them, but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:8-11NLT
Emotional: Pray fervently whenever I experience negative emotions, so I better train myself to go to God first and not fall into the trap of believing the devil’s lies.
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.” Psalms 4:4-5 NLT
Spiritual: Pray before interacting with others, so I can better reflect God’s character and offer grace even when it’s hard.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:16-17 NLT
Last Sunday our Pastor Aaron Lytle just happened to preach about patient endurance. I took that as confirmation that God really does want our family to focus on patient endurance in 2016. If you’re interested, you can watch Pastor Aaron’s sermon on patient endurance below.
So here’s to a year of patient endurance and all the lessons it may bring!
God, thank you for loving me enough to break into my life. Please continue the good work that You started in me and my husband and transform our hearts to seek satisfaction in God first, so our love and joy overflows from that relationship into our marriage and into the interactions of all those we encounter. May God’s Kingdom break through in me, change the way I perceive the world around me because I find joy in Your approval and not that of others. In Your name I pray, amen.