I had the day off yesterday, which allowed for some reflection and rest. As it stands, it's 11:40AM, and I'm still in my PJs. You have to love vacation.
Yesterday, after cooking up some food for the week, I felt the need to pull out a journal that my dad started writing almost a year before I was born. I brewed some tea in my oversized mug and began to read. I don't think I've ever gotten through the whole thing - but if I have, I didn't remember. My dad gave this to me when I was 18 - so I started with that letter first. As I poured over the pages which shed insight into my parents' pre-parenting life, the shock of having a daughter with deformed ears, and the journey they experienced as God provided options and opportunity, I was reminded of how God was shaping my life even in the womb.
My dad didn't know whether I was a girl or a boy, but if you read his letters, you can tell that he was made to father a daughter. The tenderness of God the Father is reflected throughout the pages- the kind a daughter needs to learn that she is cherished. Even when sharing what my name would be, either Amy or Matthew, Amy came first. From the womb, I loved music. He shared about a time when they attended a symphony orchestra concert and I was "kicking up a storm". On the first vacation they took with me, dad had me in the front-facing carrier while walking on the beach - and I was mesmerized by the water - I loved the sea.
In one of his first letters he penned this line, "Focus on Jesus, little one - we are. Together, knit as one - as a family - we will thrive." So I turn to where I am now in my 26 years of life. I cried a little as I realized how many times I've forgotten that this truth - this focus on Jesus - is so so hard to do. It's hard to do on the daily level - to reflect on Him and learn more about Him, and live your life based on that learning. It's something you have to fight for - and sometimes fighting gets tiring. But it's something that I deeply long for. To acknowledge Him in creation, in the sweet moments of life, in the pain, and the confusing situations that come our way.
"You make me new, You are making me new."
So what does focusing on Jesus look like each day? It starts with worship and time in His word (hardest for me), talking to Him, then progresses into what we make of our time - the decisions we make. To be intentional about serving others, being generous with our resources, and being aware of people around us who need a friend to walk out life with. It's not loud, but it's intentional.
A new year brings a sense of hope and promise. And more than anything, my hope is that somehow through all the of the chaos, I remember that the Lord is intimately involved in my life as a Father, Husband, and Leader - and show others the same thing through the way I live.
2011 was a year of change and transition, as was 2010. I'm praying for some steady, rootedness over the next year as the Lord establishes my ministry here.
May He be glorified.