There and Back…

2013 is over.

2013 wasn’t exactly my year.  It downright stank at certain junctures. To be fair, it had many wonderful and delightful moments that I will always treasure. But I am determined about one thing this year: I am not going to make any new year’s resolutions. 

I really don’t have a problem with New Year’s Resolutions. I think it’s great that people use January 1st as a spring-board to start drinking more water, or taking vitamins, or using the stairs instead of the escalator, or spending less time on their smart phone. The problem with some of those plans, though, are that there are always January 2nd’s that come and muck everything up.

I have had way too many expectations in the past. I don’t have a problem with people having vision for their life. The problem is how enamored and possessive we become with those visions and plans. Suddenly, when life doesn’t meet our expectations, we find ourselves depressed and even lost. I sometimes think that New Year’s Resolutions are symptomatic of living as slaves to such specified expectations.

We make a plan because we want to meet some end goal because we believe that things are going to be better once we do. Only we come to find out that the task is more arduous than we had previously thought, or that when we meet our goals, things aren’t just magically rosier than they were before, i.e. January 2nd and 3rd. That’s when stuff gets real.

So yea, no resolutions this year. Though, that might kind of be a resolution in and of itself, right?

For her birthday last year, my mother gave Clara a string of alphabet letters that spell her name. On the bottom of each letter is a set of wheels. All of the letters attach together with magnets to form a train. Jerry has been eyeballing these letters for months, wishing and hoping that his old fart of a mom would agree to let him play with them. I gave in the other day, with Clara’s permission of course, and let him enjoy them. I ending up feeling not entirely sure as to why I hadn’t agreed to let him use them in the first place.

As he played, he was cheerfully telling his sister that these letters were HER name. Unfortunately, he was more excited about that than she was.

And it got me thinking: just what is it about the simplicity of their own name leaves children so beholden?

At his young age, Jerry easily recognizes his name. When he sees it written on the front of a birthday card, or typed on the screen of my phone, or on the front of a handwritten note he becomes giddy with delight. He sees his name on some little old thing and realizes that there is something there for him. Of course, one day he will probably see his name written at the top of a speeding ticket, or on the front of an envelope that also is inscribed with the words”Jury Summons,” and all that shimmers now will quickly fade.

I caused me to question myself: Do I look at the Word that way? Do I comb through scripture and see all that God has for me? Does we see it as having our name on it? Of course it doesn’t implicitly say our names in scripture, but how much more work is it for you or I to see the scriptures as,

“And I am sure of this, Ashley,

that he who began a good work in you

will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.”

?

Do we see what He has for those who love Him? This isn’t the prosperity gospel, people, it is sheer truth. Do we see such bold and life-giving words as being solely reserved for His prophets? His high priests? The apostles? But we can’t fathom that they could be for us, too?

We’re the stinky stable that Christ came to be born in. We’re the hometown that rejects the words of the Messiah. We’re Peter that denies the Christ three times. We’re Moses who killed the Egyptian and buried our secrets in the sand. We’re Sarah who laughs when the promises are spoken plainly to us.

We are unworthy. Constantly unworthy. But because of HIS great goodness, we have more. And His words remind us of just that.

I don’t want to be weighted down with the guilt of failures and shortcomings from 2013, or 2014 for that matter. Cus heaven knows, there are gonna be plenty.

I don’t want to wait and live within the parameters of expectation and hope that MY plans will be fulfilled. I want to live with anticipation to see God’s plans fulfilled.

So while I would really love to get myself in shape, become more organized, make an iron clad routine with my children, spend less time on my smart phone…the truth is that those are things that I want to do anyway. I’ll work on some of that behavior modification later. For now, I’m gonna go eat a cookie. 

Happy 2014, people. Sally forth! 

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