As is common around this time of year, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection over the past week or so. 2017 was a hard year for me. In fact, it was probably especially hard because it came after a very hard season in 2016, which was about a year and a half of trial after trial.
Then came 2017. It started out well, but in the early spring I got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and never really recovered. My daily chronic illness symptoms worsened exponentially with this and never really evened back out. I have been stuck in bed a lot this past year weak and in pain, unable to do even basic chores. Throughout the year, my MCS also continued to get increasingly worse which aggravates my other symptoms and is very frustrating. In the midst of this, I have dealt with overwhelming guilt of not being able to do the things I need to do to care for my family.
I’ve said over and over that moms set the tones for the home. And a mom who is laid up and not able to work (+one who is battling self-pity) is not good for the overall state of the home and family.
One of the first parts of the goal setting workbook I’ve been working through as I start the new year is to take stock of where you’re at by rating your satisfaction in 8 key areas of life: health, friends, spouse, family, finances, spiritual & personal growth, work, recreation.
Except I didn’t need the ratings to tell me that things were a hot mess.
In the midst of all of this, I began leading a group of women to read the Bible in 2018 using my Big Picture reading plan. [psst–it’s not to late to join in!]. I may have mentioned before how I have fallen completely in love with God’s word, and how He has been so faithful to minister to me through it every single day.
On January 1st, right when I was thinking about what a mess my life seemed to be, I opened up my Bible and read these words in Gen 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Immediately the Lord began speaking to me. And this is one of the amazing things of God’s word. It is alive. I have read these verses many, many times before. I know this stuff. But, still the Lord spoke to me through it in a different way.
The Bible tells us that the earth was without form. It was void. Darkness was everywhere. My study Bible compares it to chaos.
The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And out of darkness, God brought forth light. Out of the nothingness (void), he created the heavens. The earth. The sun + moon + stars. He created the trees, the birds, animals, and man. We know this stuff, but sometimes I think we know it so well, and we’ve said it so many times that we forget just how amazing it really is. A few months ago as I was reading through The Paleo Approach, the author went into great detail about all of our body’s systems, and how they work together, and all the little, bitty, teeny tiny parts that are required to make our bodies do all the truly amazing things that our bodies can do.
God created all of that out of nothing. Out of the darkness.
And just as His Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters, His word promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is right there beside me, sustaining me.
Right there in the midst of reading this verse I’ve read so many times before, the Lord reminded me that He who brought order out of the void and created all things…He has my situation well in hand. He can bring order in the midst of my chaos, and He can bring light in the midst of my darkness.
And He can do that for you as well.
So, I’m still here loosely planning some goals for 2018, trying to hold on to them loosely at the same time. I’m focusing on my health this year (no matter who tells me it’s selfish), because while I trust the Lord’s sovereignty I feel a burden to do everything I can to be as healthy as I can be to serve God and my family.
I’m hoping to be able to get back into more normal life–who ever knew a person could miss doing housework?
And, I’m also working on some small steps that I can take in other areas as well–particularly on my heart and character. Because no matter how little I can do physically, I can still do it (or not) with a joyful attitude and a sweet spirit.
My friend Tina led me to learn more about Amy Carmichael, who was bedridden for the last several years of her life as a missionary, and I’ve been soaking up so much of the wisdom she shared through her writing. So much truth–challenging truth that leads to conviction.
This quote has been particularly speaking to me lately:
“A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred.”
I need a sweeter spirit. Because a lot of bitterness has spilled out of me this year.