Saturday, January 14, 2012

When It's Time To Harvest The Past


It's the last day of 2011 when I start yearning for time to slow down.  The hours are slipping away and all I want is to grab hold of this year and keep it here for just one more day.

Because these last twelve months, they've held things too beautiful and glorious for words--they've held God in ways I never saw coming, ways that changed who I am and the woman I am becoming.

And who wants to bid farewell to a year that's held more God than all the ones before?

I remember that very first day of 2011 when I pressed my face against the glass and heard Him whisper what the new year would hold.

But how could I have known what it would really mean for a year to be full of Him?

I was starving for Him and I knew He'd come and I knew He'd fill and, oh, I knew it would be beautiful.  But I'm standing here a year later and there aren't any words to write the story of what He's done.

And I tell myself if I just had more time, if I just had one more day, maybe I could find a way to say what needs saying.

But there's no holding onto the hours and as midnight creeps nearer, I do the only thing I know.  I whisper deep thanks for a year I'll never forget and I let the tears fall free because this heart's too full of Hope and Healing and Him to keep it all inside.  And with just three-quarters of an hour left in the year that's changed everything, I turn out the light and let Him put me to sleep with just this truth.

There's no end to Me.  This brand new year?  It can be full of Me, too.  I'm always waiting, willing, longing to fill up every last one of your days.  Will you let Me?

And He knows I will because there's no going back after what I've seen.

But I wake up in the new year and it feels all wrong and I just want to crawl back under the covers and find the old year still here.  Because sometimes fresh starts feel empty and unfamiliar and it's hard to believe anything can ever be as full of Him as all the months that came before.

And I might've thought I was ready to begin again, plant hopes for the new year, dream of all the ways God can fill up a life.  But the days of January start slipping right past and I can't seem to find the strength to move forward.

Until that day when I read it in the unlikeliest of places, how a woman writes a list every January and calls it Celebration.  Because who wants to let the old year go before we've harvested all the Joy straight out of ground?

And maybe there aren't any words to really tell the story of what He's done, but I know it now that I can't plant hopes in the new year until I've combed the soil with my bare hands, pulled up all the Beauty and Glory and God that He's grown these past months, and counted all the Joy.

So I pick up a pen and I start my own Celebration.  I write down small things and silly things and things that don't mean anything at all to anyone but me.  And I place them right up next to the kinds of things that change a life, change a woman, maybe change the world.  Because who can resist harvesting all His joy from every last row of a year?




My Joy Harvest here, it's imperfect, broken.  I am, too.  But God, He's not.  Not imperfect.  Not broken.  Not like me.

And my heart, it might ache a bit with all the things I can't express, but mostly it just aches with Him.  He's stretched me wide, filled me to the brim with Himself.  And all I want?  To be filled again and always and only with Him.

I might long for words to hold every drop of Him that's poured straight down on me all these months of a life.  But God, He's only asked this one thing--to be the open hands, heart, life that He can flood right into.  And who could ever contain Him in words anyway?  Who would ever want to contain Him at all?

So I'm tilling up the soil of a year that's gone and I'm giving thanks for all the Joy and the Grace and the Beautiful God that's sprung right from the ground.  I'm making room for the new year's Hope Seeds to be sewn deep into a life.

And my face, it's pressed up against the glass of all the tomorrows, and God, He's whispering the one thing I want most for this brand new year.

This year will be full of Me, too.

10 comments:

  1. A list of all the things you are thankful for helps write your story that God has written in your heart and life. Sometimes it's hard to put what you feel into words. I had an aha moment this Christmas season from reading a couple devotions and then i heard 2 messages on Christmas eve and day brought another growing/learnable moment into my life I wish to share someday. When I put it into words. Thanks for sharing and just take one day at a time, step by step, with Jesus. It's great when we listen and wait and learn and grow! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you for encouraging words! As a writer, I know well the difficulty in conveying life in words but somehow it never stops being hard when I can't write His Story. But this writing out of the reasons to celebrate 2011, it's helped me feel ready to start hoping for 2012. So glad to hear He is speaking to you as well and I pray you'll come to know Him even more in the months to come. Grace to you, new friend!

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  2. Love you Friend, your beautiful works, and your new Blog Backdrop!

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    1. And I love *you*, Dear Friend! I thought perhaps a warm brown background would be a nice pairing with the cold days of winter. It's snowing here today--wish you were here to see it!

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  3. Beautiful words as always Courtney.

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    1. @MamaGriffith: Thank you, my friend! It is a blessing to exchange words across the miles. Hope you are safe and warm this wintery week!

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  4. "There's no end to Me. This brand new year? It can be full of Me, too. I'm always waiting, willing, longing to fill up every last one of your days. Will you let Me?" Thanks for that. May I keep that thought in my own heart.

    I read this yesterday in my feed reader but came back today to comment. The blog makeover is beautiful! Very rich, like a manor library where there would be leather wing chairs, a fire roaring, and shelves so high they demanded a rolling ladder. :)

    You and God had much to celebrate this last year. He is beautiful in you as you honor Him and give thanks. I'm so glad to have met you through Ann's link when your list reached 1000! You are a blessing. May the Lord grant much regained strength, healing (inside and out), sense of home, and joy in 2012.

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    1. @tinuviel: I love your description of the library! I can hear the crackling fire now--and, oh, the smell of all those books! Smiling here just thinking about sitting there by the fire tip-tapping away at my blog posts.

      And I am so glad you chose to read my humble offering of 1000 gifts and offer your voice here in my corner of the world. You have been nothing but joy to me and I'm praying for God to be oh-so-near in the coming weeks, that you'll come to know Him ever more deeply as you work through the current challenges He's brought. May God give you Grace for the journey, Strength for the hard days, and always always more of Himself.

      And your prayers for me in 2012? Yes. YES. Just--thank you. Much love to you, Friend!

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  5. like Tinuviel, i came to this post late. in a way, i'm sorry that on the last day of 2011, you wanted to hang on to the old year, and in a way i'm not. if you had simply been wishing the new year would never arrive--because you anticipated it with fear and dread--that would be awful. but you were wishing that the old year would never go away, because it "held things too beautiful and glorious for words", and "held more God than any of the years before." It's wonderful that--despite the hard things in your life--your 2011 was so blessed! i think that what you were really wishing for was not more 2011, but more of the God and the grace 2011 abounded in; and as you say, God and His love await you in the year just starting as much as they awaited you at the beginning of the last one. yes, fresh starts can feel "empty and unfamiliar",and it may be hard to believe that the coming months can be as God-permeated as the ones that came before. but last year had its hard patches too, and the same Love that saw you though those ones, will see you through this year's as well.

    what Tinuviel prayed for you, i do too...

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    1. @chris: As usual, you've hit on something important here--this aching for the old year to linger, it really is a gift. In fact, I wanted to write it as the final item on my celebratory list here but couldn't find the right words. Because, yes, what I'm really longing for is more of Him. And to have lived a year where He's knocked me clean over with His Presence, that is something beautiful and glorious, something to be celebrated wholeheartedly. I've never felt this way at the end of a year before, always instead feeling like I really needed a fresh start, like I wanted to try again to get it right. But now all I want is *Him.* And, oh, what Grace it is to only want *Him.*

      And thank you for reminding that in a year so full of Him, there were just as many hard days as ever before. So there's no need to fear them now because they won't keep Him from coming and filling and making everything beautiful.

      And I am always deeply grateful for the prayers. You have been Grace to me these last months and "thank you" seems small. But I offer it anyway, knowing that sometimes the small "thank you" can really change the world.

      Grace to you, Friend!

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