Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015: "Open"

1) Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up.

2) To move (as a door) from a closed position.

I will open my hands, will open my heart! I will open my hands, will open my heart! I am nodding my head an emphatic yes to all that You have for me! - Sara Groves, "Open My Hands"

Hello, 2015.

As I picture the word "open," I see green fields stretching out in every direction, tall grass, and sunlight pouring down in the special glimmering way that you view through a camera as it catches the sun's rays.  The temperature is warm with the most perfect of breezes.

And I see a girl in a white, flowing summer dress walking through that field, sometimes running, and then just twirling around, enjoying the sun with her arms outstretched and her hands wide open.

And I want that girl to be me...someone who doesn't hold back and is:
-open with what she's been given
-open to all the adventures God leads her in
-open with her career
-open to God's timing
-open to giving of her time and talents
-open to saying "no" to her selfish desires

My words for 2014 were “Come Along” from Song of Solomon 2:10 – “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.”  (In prior years, I chose “Blessed” and “Trust,” all of them stories for another time, and all of this because of Joanna Wang’s inspiration).  I didn’t know that as 2014 unfolded, God would call us to so many new things, nor did I expect my heart to be so resistant at times.  God said, “Come Along” to a move to NorCal, a season of joblessness, that thing called ‘fundraising,’ and a new group of students and staff to interact with.  I won’t deny that there were times of frustration and doubt and tears.  There were also periods of excitement for change and new adventures.  Looking back at all of this, I am reminded that God is faithful; He hears prayers and answers them.  As God said “Come Along,” I saw Him provide funding, housing, and a job, among many other things.

As 2015 starts and I sit here on the couch typing away, I LOVE my life.  I love where we live, I love our home, I love being married to Cavin, I love my job, and I love the weather in NorCal.

In fact, I think I love it all a little too much.  I hold most of these things with closed hands, as if I could protect things from changing or as if I had control over them.  I know I’m not in charge of any of it, and it hurts to realize that after all these years of walking with Jesus, I still try to control things and doubt His good sovereignty.

Even though it was clearly God who gave me this job in September, my heart really wants to work here until I retire, and I’m resistant to thoughts about moving.  I know we’re in full-time ministry, and that involves change.  But guys, I really love this job; it’s my dream job here in NorCal.  Yet I know God has always provided and led me in paths that prove to be more fruitful than where I came from, even though the journey has uncomfortable moments.  And I love being in ministry; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But honestly there are times where I just want to be settled for good.  In these times, I remind myself of truth and the path God is leading us on.  I want to hold my job with open hands.

I love my husband a lot too.  Sometimes I ask myself whether I love him more than God, and I am often convicted that I do.  He is so good to me, takes care of me so tenderly, and serves me daily.  I don’t actively worry about it, but sometimes the thought crosses my mind that I don’t ever want anything bad to happen to him, and I get worried because the future is unknown.  I don’t know what paths God has for us to walk down, but in every step I want to say, “Jesus, You are my first love,” as I walk hand-in-hand with my husband, learning how to respect him and love him more deeply.  I want to hold my husband with open hands.

I love where we live.  Davis is the most adorable small town, and I’ve always wanted to live in a small town (maybe I’ve been too influenced by Gilmore Girls).  Really though, where else can you see toddlers bike riding?  Babies bike out of the womb here.  I love our home and how cozy we’ve made it with our thrift store and Craigslist finds and the twinkle lights strung around the living room.  I could see raising kids here; I’d want to raise kids here.  Life just seems so good, and I don’t want to let go of it.  I want to hold my life with open hands.

Lastly, ever since getting married, I have learned more every day how selfish I am, whether it’s with my time, talents, gifts, or possessions.  When I have time off of work, I want to do things that make me happy.  Sometimes I don’t feel like investing my time in college ministry.  I’m not very generous with money.  I don’t like going to the gym.  In all of these things I see my selfishness, and I don’t want to live this way anymore.  This year I choose to be open and to grow in selflessness in each of these areas.  Praise the Lord that I have such a generous husband, so that I can learn to be more giving!  I want to hold my time, talents, gifts, and possessions with open hands.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 2014 that I want to apply in this new year, it’s saying yes when God says, “Come along with open hands, daughter.”  His ways are always good and His love is unending.  I have experienced it time and again.  I have so many testimonies of His greatness and provision.  I’m sure 2015 will unfold with many more opportunities to sing the praises of the Lord.

I want this to be a year that I am poured out for others.  I want this to be a year in which I look confidently to the future because God has always been faithful.  So today I say, “God, here I am.  I’m open for You to use me however You see fit, and I am convinced that Your guidance is best for me.  I will open my hands and my heart to all that You have for me.”