Thursday, January 10, 2013

If You're Looking for a Refuge


It's the last weeks of 2012 when I start to wonder if maybe two years can bear the same name.

Because the Year of Home is rushing right up to an end, and I feel it deep, how the living out of this one year's name--it's only just beginning.

Maybe I set out to make my home in Christ, but God, He's emptied me out instead, Christ making Himself at home in this one woman's soul.  And how could a single year ever be enough to really grab hold of this impossible truth?  That God's in me and I'm in Him and I'm no longer the broken woman without a home--I'm the Beloved who's always at home in the One True Lover of us all.

But I wonder if even a whole lifetime could teach me the depth of this one glorious Grace, and maybe what the new year really needs is this:  a new name that roots right into the old one, builds straight up from the year that's come before.

It's a morning in late December when that new name finds me.  I'm just sitting on the edge of the bed, reading through Psalm 27 for the hundredth (thousandth?) time.  This is the song of hope that's been my resting place for months.  And it's right there in the very first verse, that one phrase jumping clean off the page, planting itself in the soil of a soul that's been scraped bare:

The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?  {Psalm 27:1 NIV}

Stronghold.

That one word might come with a whole heap of baggage, us always the ones trying to break free from the strongholds of fear and doubt and life-searing shame.  But aren't we really just trying to break into the Stronghold Who won't let us go?

Still, this word doesn't quite fit the year that's being born, and I think I see it for what it really is--a signpost saying, "Here!  Look here, Beloved!  Dig down with your own hands and find the treasure I've hidden for you!"

And that's exactly what I do.

I pull out The Amplified Bible first, let these added words flesh out the truth behind this one verse:

The LORD is my Light and my Salvation--whom shall I fear or dread?  The LORD is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?  {Psalm 27:1 AMP}

Refuge.

Yes!  That's it, Lord, isn't it?  The name You've chosen for 2013?

But I want to be sure and I look up the Hebrew that's been translated "stronghold" in the NIV and I find it there, too:  refuge, stronghold, fortress, place of protection.

And isn't that the kind of home I've wanted all along?  A refuge.  A place of protection.  A stronghold that can never be shaken or taken.

Yes.

The first day of 2013 slips in quiet and I christen the year with this one word:  Refuge.  I've no doubt that God's the One doing the naming and God's the One Who'll teach me what this year's really about.  But what I already hear Him whispering across all of my days?  It's enough to make this one heart leap clean out of the chest with joy and hope and relief.

"I'm your Refuge, Beloved.  I'm your Place of Protection.  You are home.  You are safe.  You are loved.  You are Mine."

So I throw my arms and my soul and my whole life wide open and I say it straight out:

Welcome, Year of Refuge.  Welcome.





Trying something new and sharing in community over at Faith Barista today.

16 comments:

  1. Courtney,
    I love this Word: Refuge! That is HIM. He is our Refuge. Your words captured me. I felt that I was right there beside you, opening your Bible. I will embrace this new Word, also. I love your blog and have joined. I hope you will join my blog, also. I'm so glad that we have found each other. We cannot have too many Sisters-in-Christ. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Cynthia Stevenson: Oh! I'm so glad you've found a bit of hope and refreshment here in the Refuge Who holds us all! And I think the JOY you are diving into for 2013 might just be an enormous piece of what this Refuge is really about. May you come to know Our God ever more deeply as you focus on joy this year! And yes--never too many sisters! Sending Grace to you today, New Friend.

      Delete
  2. I loved reading your process. What a wonderful word! You're so right--I often think of stronghold as the territory of the Enemy of my soul. But thinking of the synonym, refuge--it leads me right to God. As I was reading your words, the pciture that jumped to my mind was a medieval keep--that strong tower that's a sometimes precursor to a castle, that stands in the middle of the open places offering refuge from harsh elements and sudden attacks. Fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Sheryl: Thanks for stopping by! I am slowly working my way through the One Word posts over at Faith Barista and hope to visit yours soon.

      I really debated about naming the year Stronghold--because I think maybe we're in need of redefining that word, of grasping again the magnitude of the God Who is stronger than everything that assails us and the Savior Who hides us, protects us, shelters us. But Refuge is the God-given name for my 2013 and I am excited to live it out in the coming months.

      Your picture of the medieval keep--oh, yes! A refuge from harsh elements and sudden attacks. Yes, yes, yes. Our God is all this and more. May we know it ever more deeply as we press in close to Him!

      Delete
  3. Beautiful post on finding your word for 2013. Refuge. Reading your words brought calm to my soul. Blessings to you in 2013!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Cindy Baker: Oh, what joy to know you've found a bit of soul-peace here in my corner of the world! Sending Grace right back to you!

      Delete
  4. Hi Courtney, you have such a lovely writing style. I like the way you gave me a new perspective on breaking into the stronghold. Much of time I tend to think of that word in the sense of breaking free of negative things. But our Lord holds me strong. Yes I have found Him to be a refuge indeed. Wishing you year of much success, blessings, and many moments of savoring time with the Savior.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Wanda: Thank you for kind words! I don't think I've made it to your post yet over at Faith Barista but hopefully soon. Thank you so much for coming by and leaving Grace words here.

      Yes! God holds us strong! So thankful you have taken refuge in Him. May you find much Grace as you seek Him in the months ahead.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your process of reaching your one word. May you find refuge in the arms of our Lord.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Melissa @ Frugal Creativity: Thanks for the visit and the sweet words. May you find the peace that surpasses all understanding this year as you pursue Him, Our One True Peace!

      Delete
  6. I've often thought I should keep the same one word for more than one year too. One year may seem like a long time to some, but it's such a short period when God is really sinking in a profound truth.

    Going from Home to Refuge is great though. Such a natural progression of thought! May the Lord bless you as you live "refuge" out loud this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Lisa notes...: Oh, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who finds a year too short to really grasp the truth of even a single word from God! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a bit of grace behind.

      Delete
  7. I love how your word for this year is rooted in last year's. What a beautiful word for your year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Amy Nabors: Thanks for coming by, Amy! This is my third time of naming the years but the first time it's been a direct reflection of the name that came before. It feels really natural and needed this time. Can't wait to see what God has in store. Much grace to you!

      Delete
  8. Love this! To find refuge in Christ is being at home with God. Hmmm, such an awesome word - thank you for sharing this. You have just made a woman like me want to seek refuge in Christ each and every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Dee: Hello, New Friend! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such words of Grace. I am humbled and overjoyed that a bit of my story is encouraging you to find refuge in Christ. May He draw you close to Him as you seek Him!

      Delete