The sun is setting and the air is thick with a smokey haze. Probably from people burning who aren’t supposed to be. I’m sitting out here in the cool, watching my teenage sons and their neighborhood friends chase each other around in the yard. The daylight hours of 2018 fade quickly.
2017 ended with me beginning to do some things I want to continue doing, some things I want to stop doing, and some desires to do some things differently.
Things I plan To Continue Doing
Since James and I both purchased obstacle course races for each other as Christmas gifts (the first one is the Spartan race, Feb.11th), I started a training program to attempt to get in shape and not die doing these races. I plan to keep that up.
Spend Mondays With Grandma
When my Grandmother was diagnosed a few weeks before Thanksgiving with having cancer growing in her spinal fluid and her brain, I began spending time with her weekly. This has been a treasure to me. I started recording some of our conversations in hopes of writing a little biography on my grandmother to give to family members. Spending time listening to another person’s story is always a good thing to do. Spending time listening to the story of a person of an older generation is enriching! I wish our culture did this more. Spending Mondays listening to my 82 year old grandmother tell me her story is something I plan to continue to do as long as God gives her life.
I discovered Realistic Poetry on Twitter a week or go and began writing small poems. I also began writing poetry again on my blog. I even submitted a couple poems to Realistic Poetry for a contest they had running in 2017. I used to write poetry quite often as a teenager, and I’ve written some occasionally through the years. I want to continue developing skill in writing, and writing poems is one way I want to do that. I also plan to continue writing here consistently as well as submitting articles to various publications this year. Last year I submitted a couple articles to Desiring God. And I plan to submit to them again this year. But I also plan to submit to a nursing publication, a poetry publication and some other online and print Christian publications.
Pray With My Neighbor
I’ve been getting together with my neighbor in 2017 to pray. It’s become a treasured time for us both. We pray for our families, our pastor, our newly forming local church, confess our sins, cry for help, pour out complaints and fears and praise… it’s wonderful!
Things I Want To Stop Doing- And What I Want To Do Instead
Reading my Bible on my phone
I’m really thankful for the Bible apps on my phone. I’ve developed a habit in the past couple years of reading my Bible on my phone every morning. I get up early, make coffee and curl up on the couch in the silence, my iPhone 6 plus glowing with scripture in hand. The reason I want to stop doing this is mostly because of my kids. When they see me on my phone in the morning they don’t know what I’m doing. As far as they know I’m on Facebook. And that’s the other reason I want to stop using my phone to read my Bible in the mornings: social media and the relentless notifications. I confess I’m WAY too in tune with Facebook and Twitter. Especially Twitter. I scroll it like a news paper article and use it as my go-to information source. Not good. Especially when I’m trying to read my Bible and Twitter is notifying me that someone liked my tweet. So, starting this morning actually, I pulled out my paper and leather ESV Bible and sat down with printed reading plan in hand and put my phone away. It was good.
Buying Groceries When I Wake Up On Payday
I get paid every couple weeks via automatic deposit. Getting paid has just become a transfer of numbers for me. I don’t manage my income. I just spend it. I don’t plan. I don’t budget. I know it’s bad. I don’t use credit cards very often and when I do I pay them off quickly. It’s not that I’m out spending my income on frivolous things either. My problem is I just don’t manage what God has provided me very well and that’s the truth of it. I’ve heard it from the preacher, I’ve heard it in my readings, I’ve heard it in my heart when I come to the end of my numbers in the account on my screen and realize I need to change the way I deal with what God has provided me in the form of an income. I’ve tried doing budgets before and really what happens is I write it out and then I don’t stick to it. So I’m not saying I’m going to write a budget, but I am saying I want to stop the habit of spending anything out my account before stopping to plan out how I’m going to use that paycheck. Instead of going to the grocery store on payday morning, I want to spend some time looking at the amount I have, giving first to my local church, then other ministries and charities I’ve been giving to, and then plan how I’m going to use what’s left.
Some Desires, Maybe Dreams
Unlike what I’ve already written about exercise, writing, Bible reading and money management goals and changes I plan to implement this year, these are some dreams and desires I’m thinking about, committing to the Lord and looking to take steps in the direction of those desires and dreams.
Minister in my community… and maybe beyond as a nurse. I don’t know where this will lead, but I’m planning to finish my BSN this year in the fall. After that, I’m not sure. But I’m prayerful asking God to lead me as I feel pulled to the marginalized in our society. Especially the elderly, the foreigner and the disabled. I’m dreaming of what God might do for his glory and the building of his kingdom if I humble myself and open my life up like a conduit of grace as a nurse. In a profession where the oppressive system based on fear, liability and even greed is weighing on the nurse’s shoulders heavily, I pray God would help me to see that I am free of all that. I’m free to serve him and others no matter what the government, insurance companies, hospitals and attorneys do.
Start A Bible Study
I’ve been dreaming about starting a Bible study using the simple guide my old pastor gave me. He taught me to ask questions when studying the scriptures that help keep the study God-centered, not me-centered. The Bible is practically helpful, no doubt. But the Bible is practically helpful because it takes your eyes off yourself and puts them on the One who made and saved us. That changes everything. I’ve been trying to remember what those questions were specifically that he taught me. I’m probably wording this wrong but what I recall is something like this:
- What does the passage tell you about God?
- What does it tell you about the person or situation?
- How can you apply the passage in your life?
Write A Book?
I’m not sure exactly what about. And maybe a book shouldn’t be my goal. But I want to develop my skill in writing and take steps to develop a book if God wills. I’m dreaming about it.
Light For My Path in 2018
However things go this year, I have two sections of scripture in mind:
- 1 Kings 19:4-15. Elijah was scared and tired of being opposed. He felt like the only one. He hid and prayed that God would just end his life. But God didn’t. Instead, he comforted and strengthened Elijah and told him to get going. I need to remember that this year. I get depressed. I get tired of being resisted. I feel sometimes like I’m the only one and I pout. And hide under stupid things like broom trees and beg God to make things different. But instead of pulling me out of the situations I’m weary of he strengthens me with his word and tells me to get up and get going.
- Psalm 33:18-22. My hope this year is not in my ability to endure, not in my marriage getting better, not in my kids doing what I hope they’ll do, not in my job or my plans or my country. My hope is in the steadfast love of the Lord. 2018 is his. His eye is on me. He is daily bearing me up and has delivered my soul from death. His love will keep me through 2018. He’s a good place to put all my hope.