It's the dawn of a new day, and a new year, my sweet Glam Fam,
Welcome to a new chapter in the greatest of stories.
Today we take our place anew in the timeless tale of the one true God trading His place in the heavens for one of weakness and frailty exactly like our own, confined by the human experience in a world of pain and sin, to be the light in the darkness, the star in the sky, the hope for every generation.
In 2016, as a community, we're reading Shauna Niequist's devotional Savor together. If you're just joining us, please jump in and start where you are. Don't let the date on the calendar, or my less than timely post, stop you from jumping in and joining this community of women learning to love God and love the lives He gave us.
Here's the "house rules" we're brainstormed together for our year learning live and love well together.
1. A post (i.e. topic, thread) for each day day. (i.e. January 1st - Our Stories, January 2nd - Start Where You Are, and so on).
2. Everyone is welcome to start the daily reflection post. It's the first girlfriend to the forum inclined to share!
On the right is a format for Bible study the brilliant Susan Spritzer created for our study. Remember this is a tool, which means if it's helpful, use it, otherwise just share from your heart. I personally do my best with less structure.
3. While some of us like to read ahead, we'll keep the daily posts no more than a day ahead.
4. On social media (twitter, facebook, instagram), the hashtag is #godandglam so we can easily find each other's posts.
5. For prayer requests and miscellaneous conversations on creating a God-centered life, join our God & Glam group on Facebook.
6. Keep the ideas coming! This is a starting point, not the last word.
So here we go, together, hearts and Bibles laid open before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Before we start, let's leave the weight of our lives and our expectations for them at the foot of the cross and allow the peace of God's presence to wash over us.
This morning, candidly for the first time since moving in August, I sat still in the quiet of morning at a table bare with the exception of Bible, flowers, candle, coffee and pen. Today, I invite you to do the same. Sit with me, our community, and our Heavenly Father, with as little in front of you as practical. Make both physical and spiritual space for God to enter and sit with you. Mysteriously, I've found that creating space at my table also creates space in my heart.
Since my personal pursuit of our Lord began, I've found it challenging to sit and pray. My mind wanders and my focus drifts away to the day ahead so I began to write my prayers in letter form. As an aspiring writer, the sound of ink scratching rhythmically on paper or the simple sight of a blinking cursor frees me from the tyranny of trying and failing to quiet my mind. And, as "You Won't Relent" by Jesus Culture says, "I don't want to talk about You like You're not in the room. I want to look right at You and I want to (pray) right to You."
Here is my first letter of 2016.
January 1st - Our Stories
This year, teach me to pay attention, to seek expectantly the thousands of glittering miracles you leave scattered for those with eyes to see. Help me stop striving to make the vision you've given me come alive today, or this week, or this year. Teach me to see this life as a grand adventure we're on together, hand in hand, lived out moment by moment and recorded day by day. We only have the present, but unless we take it wholly and savor it, we lose the only space in time we truly possess.
As Shauna so eloquently said in her introduction to Savor, "What I want to do is savor this life...to be aware of holy fingerprints everywhere, to walk through the day expecting and noticing those glints and shimmers of the divine right in the daily," or as we say here the on Paper & Glam, the sacred in the ordinary. "Let's clear away space together, trusting that even small moments of prayer and silence will transform us."
This year, help me tell your story, right in the middle of my own messy one. Help me let go of all the things I hold on to, and trade my incessant striving for basking in your ocean of grace.
Thank you for a love that is so big and vast and mighty, it covers every moment of weakness, every regret, every sore spot in the past and makes it new like this day, and this year. Thank you for your Word that says, "Behold, I am making all things new" (Revelation 21:5). Not some worthy things, but all things, that means you and me, and every page of our stories. Let's walk out tomorrow onto a fresh page of an old story, and watch God renew it and us along with it.
There are some of you reading who haven't experienced the love of God, the inalienable gift of His presence, I pray you make this the day of the year you take your place in the greatest story of all.
It's in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, I pray for you, for your year, for the future you are building today and everyday, for God's hand of protection that dwells over this community and the safe place we can all visit together to become new every day. If we're very lucky we get about 30,000 days to show by our life and love that Jesus is real, and there's not a moment to waste.
Thank you for your love and your grace, and the opportunity each new day brings to encounter You.