We rang 2013 in playing board games and watching Rockin’ New Year’s Eve in a hotel room across the street from the Cleveland Clinic while my father-in-law received a liver transplant.
We rang in 2014 in Solala, Guatemala, which sounds like a town from a Dr. Seuss story and is equally as fantastical. We were in a hotel of only 10 rooms accessible only by boat, dining family style with strangers turned into new comrades from around the world.
Last night I almost forgot it was New Year’s Eve, I was in such a fluster counting pairs of socks, slipping hand sanitizers in string bags, stacking passports on the counter, packing for a trip to Ecuador we were supposed to take today. This morning we awoke to kids with sky-high fevers and pulled the plug a half hour before our estimated time of departure.
At the beginning of each of those years I would have never guessed how I’d be spending New Year’s. But that’s the whole point of what God’s teaching me right now. It’s not my plans that matter most, but His. I need to follow Him wherever He leads me. As Chris Tomlin sings, “where You go I’ll go, where You stay I’ll stay. I will follow.” God wants me to let Him be the leader. For me to follow Him.
Each year comes with anticipation, what’s in store? Where will I go? Who will I meet? What am I supposed to write? Where will I speak? What does God want to teach me? And each year, I make goals, have plans, because plans are good, it’s how I get things done, as long as my plans are flexible enough to listen to God and turn them inside out when and if He calls me to.
I rang in 2014 with a lot of question marks in my head. So, my word last year was TRUST. I didn’t know what direction a lot of things would turn in my life, so I focused on trusting God and His plans. As usual, He amazed me with people and places and events I could have never dreamed up on my own. Although, I didn’t always know what was coming, I always knew it would be for my good. And it was. Very good.
This last month I feel like I’ve been in a blender. My husband had a major medical scare, our church is without a pastor, and now our trip to Ecuador, the one we’d planned for months isn’t happening. But it’s a beautiful place, this blender. Because as I whir and blur about, there’s not one thing I can control. And you know what happens, when I finally let go of the reins? God picks them up for me. He’s been willing to steer all along. I just hold on so tightly. How about you? How tight are you holding your reins today?
I have four kids who have lessons and practices and games and schoolwork. They need snacks and uniforms and binders and drop offs and pick ups for all of these things. Not to mention they’re a blast to play with, talk with, do life with. I have a marriage I treasure. I prioritize time invested in this beautiful relationship. I work out to try to stay physically and mentally healthy. I write. I speak. We have groceries to buy, daily, and laundry to wash, multiple times daily, and it’s all glorious. Just busy. And it takes planning and organization and intentionality to get it all done.
But this year, I’m focusing on getting it done Gods’ way. Not mine.
Remember that scene in Peter Pan, where the Lost Boys are marching through the woods? They sing, “I’m following the leader, the leader, the leader, I’m following the leader, wherever He may go.”
That’s what I plan on striving for this year. Following my leader, my God, my Savior, the Almighty. My word for 2015 is FOLLOW, what’s yours?
Laura L. Smith