Looking to 2020 and the shalom beyond

double rainbow sunflowers 2018

My family is making fun of me tonight because I’m watching, for maybe the hundreded-and-eleventieth time, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  When people ask me what my favorite of anything is I usually have a hard time picking one thing, but when it comes to movies, hands down, The Lord of the Rings series is my favorite!

Ending 2019 watching the Fellowship of the Ring seems fitting to me. In my heart I feel i’m living an epic tale of unlikely victory and bravery, uncommon grace and endurance, and unmatched friendship and fellowship.

I usually spend time reflecting on the year past, and praying for wisdom and help in the coming year. But tonight I spent a bit of time combing through a decade of photos on Facebook. Looking through all those images I see so much growth in the past 10 years. My sons have grown taller and more independent. Soon they’ll be out on their own. I miss the days of Legos on the floor and nap times. But tonight, while one son is with his friends, and the other has a friend over to stay the night, I realize a shift is happening.

In 2019 I was called into ministry to children and parents. I began to learn how to lead others. I started helping patients and their families as a case manager. My oldest son began driving, was in his first car accident, proclaimed his faith in Christ and was baptized, had his heart broken, and is trying to navigate the stormy waters of that transition from boy to man. My youngest grew taller and stronger and has been testing out the flex of his own strength. My husband began teaching and made our home’s curb appeal amazing. I wrote more articles this year than I thought I would, and I was a guest on a podcast about marriage. A lot of growth and stretch for all of us.

Part of me wants to shrink back from all this growth and change. I just want to pack up and go back to the shire. Adventures await me as I follow Jesus, and so does danger. There is no going back. My heart aches for a comfort and wholeness that won’t be found in the temporary comforts and deep joys I’ve experienced in life. But the times of safety and peace I have known give me glimpses of that shalom I’ll one day enter. One day I’ll reach the shire, but first I must press on in this adventure of following Jesus.

O Lord, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!

Psalm 90:13-17 NLT

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