Hello, friends. Long time, no see. The past two weeks have been a lovely blur of family, celebration, carrying on of traditions, and planning for the unknown. In the last crazy days of preparing for Christmas and squeezing every last drop out of this precious time, I didn’t finish my Advent series, and that’s okay. We wanted to be gentle with our expectations when we planned the book and I have to be gentle with myself as well. I will probably never have a Christmas break like this one again. I needed to savor the moments and be present for my family.
The New Year is upon us and all of my writing friends have been busy churning out amazing posts about resolutions, and goals, and words for the year. I, on the other hand, have been paralyzed. It’s not that I don’t have things to say — I probably have too much to say. I have written a dozen posts in my head and even in my journal that would not be wise or beneficial to share now. Perhaps their day will come, but for now they must remain silent.
As I have been pondering a New Years post this week, the Father brought me back to a verse He first gave me in 2010. That spring my marriage was just starting to fall to pieces around me and I was writing and leading a Bible study for women at the base chapel about the Armor of God. When I began working through the beginning of that passage in Ephesians, I was struck by this command:
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
I was interested in the fact that the passage simply instructs us to put on the armor in obedience and then stand our ground. I began to look into other passages of scripture with the command to stand firm and I found in Exodus a promise that I have carried with me every since. The Israelites were literally following God, in the form of a pillar of cloud, across the desert when they found themselves trapped between an army and the Red Sea. So they panicked, as humans do. But Moses said to them,
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Then the Israelites stood still and witnessed one of the most amazing miracles in the history of the world — the pillar of cloud moved behind them to block them from the Egyptians while God parted the Red Sea and they walked across on dry land. In 2010 I was standing on the edge of a great unknown sea and I was terrified. I felt like I should be doing something. Surely I should be fixing something! But in these verses I found my plan of action or perhaps inaction, and the promise that He fights for me.
Over the past seven years He has proven faithful in this time and time again. As I have been looking into 2017 over the past month, I have been gazing at a lot of unknowns again and He has patiently brought me back to His promise. A few days ago I was listening The Hope*Writers Podcast and they were interviewing Logan Wolfram (You can find the episode here – I highly recommend it!) and she started talking about this same passage in Exodus. Her words on this subject were so perfect that I have to share them with you:
If you are following The Cloud, be willing to end up at the edge of a sea that doesn’t make sense to you — and be willing to cross it into a place that you hadn’t thought you were going.
So as I stand here on the edge of 2017 with The Cloud guarding my back and the Father leading the way, I have finally chosen a word for my year:
This year I will be willing to cross the sea. This year I will be fearless. This year I will fear less because I know Who goes before me and Who stands behind.