Be still. That was my word for 2022. Technically 2 words but you get the point. Be still and know He is God. As I have reflected on the past year this week, those 2 words (and Psalm 46:10) couldn’t have been more appropriately. My heart and mind has had to be quieted, still, and calm more than ever this year. And this was only possible by knowing God is God. That the Lord is the Lord.
When we have full faith, depth of our being that He is God, we will have a peace that surpasses understanding. And there was a lot that I didn’t understand this year. God lead me to give up something that I loved in the very beginning of the year.
Why would He do that? Because He knows what is ahead. He knew I needed the freedom in my life to be more narrowly focused on the other things He had called me to do. And when I wrote the email that said “I need to step back”, I did feel that freedom, and that my time was now undividedly His, and not my own.
This preceded the unexpected…
Within a couple week of this, began a pretty decent season of me being sick. I am not a sickly person. But this year was marked with ear infections, sinus infections, too many antibiotics, a procedure to help fix it, then a surgery when the procedure didn’t have its fully desired outcome, and then 2 rounds of c-diff. This was about 6 months of time all together.
It wasn’t fun. It was tiring. And it required a lot of faith, and being still. Because just as I was dealing with these new things health wise that I had never dealt with before, God was also leading me to new levels in ministry.
I was telling my friend the other day, that usually when you are sick, you take time off. And there were definitely things that I said no to, and scaled back on to allow myself enough energy for what God had lead me to do. But when you follow Christ, the answer a lot of time isn’t to quit when things get hard. I want to mention that, yes, there are definitely times you need to step back for a time, but I am talking more about when life begs you to quit, and Christ calls us to endure.
We can only endure when we know deeply that He is God. Because when we hold on to our fears, and what ifs, and buts, we can definitely find reason to walk away.
But Jesus says that anyone who puts there hand to the plow and looks back isn’t fit for the kingdom of God. That is such a hard truth to swallow sometimes. However Jesus touches on human nature here. When we look ahead at how hard things may be, we may desire to turn back.
This here is the truth…
When we follow Christ, we must remember Hebrews 12: 1-3. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
When we want to turn back, we need to remember Christ, and what He endured. In this way, we know He is God, and will find stillness in our hearts.
I shared a little about needing to be still through sickness in ministry, and I could get into some messy details, but I want to share with you probably the biggest thing that I needed to be still for this year. And it has to do with my youngest child, Olivia.
She finished Kindergarten in June. When she started Kindergarten, she was 4, as her birthday is in November. Socially she was ready. She couldn’t wait to run on the bus with her brother her first day. She has always been socially mature. But that wasn’t the same academically. She struggled.
Every report we got on her testing, she was way below benchmark. We tried summer academy, which was run more like camp, but her scores were worse coming out of summer academy, than when she began.
The Gift of Time…
We were told earlier in the year not to hold her back, because “she would get it”, and she was socially ready. But she never academically “got it”.
So we began the discussion with the school a couple weeks before school began in the Fall of holding her back. This came with a lot of worry, mixed with the desire for her to be set up the best for success in the future.
I didn’t want to failed her as a parent. Were we about to make the right choice? Would she be insecure about being held back? And how would we tell her in an encouraging way that she wouldn’t be going to 1st grade with all of her friends?
Eventually it was decided that “the gift of time” in giving Olivia an extra year of Kindergarten would help beneficial for her, and give her a firmer foundation in the future.
Did we make the right choice?
We had an abundance of peace once the decision was made. And we told her that to give her the best chance of succeeding in life, we felt it was best for her to have a little more time in Kindergarten. It definitely helped that the school allowed her to stay with the same teacher.
She is doing amazing academically now. Her scores are the opposite of last year, and she is said to be helping her friends in class as well. She has always been a natural leader, and this has given her an opportunity to develop that more.
As I look back over the past year, I have seen the importance on Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that He is God. Because when we do that, we will have a peace that passes understanding, we will be able to endure the difficult seasons in life, and really look back and see how faithful and good God is. Looking back should increase our faith, and encourage us in our seasons ahead.
Know He is God.
So as we pass from one year to the next, be still. Know He is God. Because He is, and He is faithful, and we will look back and see that.