Saturday, January 18, 2014


During a recent coffee date, my friend Kathy mentioned a challenge she'd given to her Bible study ladies. She asked them to come up with a single word describing their spiritual goal for the new year. Her own word was "surrender."

I thought that was an interesting idea, but I didn't plan to come up with my own word because it seemed too much like a New Year's resolution, and I don't do those. Mainly because they are so hard to keep, and I end up feeling like a failure.

But over the next few days, my own word for 2014 came to me of its own accord. It grew into a deep desire, and then a determination.

My word is "forget."

At our last service in 2013, a guest minister had asked us to pray about what we needed to leave behind in 2014. I'd been meaning to pray about that, but I'd forgotten. Now it all came together. What I need to do as I leave 2013 behind is to forget. As I talked it over with God, the list grew. I need to forget:

  • my hurts, which I clutch to my heart and shelter so tenderly
  • my disappointments
  • my old plans and dreams
  • my shame
  • my regrets
  • my fears
  • my offenses, and those of others. With God's help, I want to tread them underfoot and hurl them to the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). 

As I lay in bed pondering my list, my thoughts naturally turned to one of my first memory passages:

Forget the former things;do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Of course! I realized that I must let go of everything. Everything. Only then can I embrace the new and better thing God has planned for me.

I felt that peculiar mix of excitement, urgency, and drowsiness that I sometimes feel just before I drop into sleep. This is a time when I think I hear God most clearly, probably because I'm too sleepy to interrupt. I was still smiling over the new thing springing up in my life when another scripture came to mind:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. (John 16:21)

Yes!, I thought. I know firsthand the pain of natural childbirth, and the wonder of the anguish melting away in that moment when you first hold your baby to your breast.
Allyson, Just Minutes Old

Somehow, this pain I've suffered the last year and a half has been preparing me for something. It has birthed a stronger faith, a dearer walk with Jesus.

I lay there smiling at God in the darkness as tears slipped into my ears. "I trust you," I whispered. "Help me let go. Help me forget. I know what's coming is so much better than anything I could have imagined."

The next night, when I gave my testimony at Celebrate Recovery, these words thrilled me as if someone else had written them:

Psalm 139 says that all the days ordained for me were written in God's book before one of them came to be. When I read a good book, I enjoy seeing the plot unfold slowly. It's harder when it comes to my life, but I know God is the most gifted author. I have no idea what the next chapter holds for me. But I'm excited to find out. 

This is not a new revelation, but I am embracing this truth more than ever before. All my life, I've been a planner. I had to know what was coming, and when things didn't go the way I expected--as they often don't--I battled disappointment and anxiety. But now... I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I am not anxious at all! In fact, I find it very exciting to relinquish all illusions of control and just go along for the ride.

I think I'm starting to forget my own plans. That's a great start.

So what's your goal for 2014? Can you sum it up in a single word?

1 comment:

Victor S E Moubarak said...

We all have past pains, regrets and sorrows. "Come to me all who are burdened and I will give you rest", said Our Lord.

We may never forget our past, but by handing the situation over to God our load is much lighter.

God bless you and yours.


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