If there's one thing I learned in 2014 it's this:
Who we really are through adversity and uncomfortable change, is really who we really are.
I could regale you with the harrowing tales of our year long battle with selling our home (while playing the role of a perfectly tidy family of 5, ha. You can read all about it via hashtag #operationsimonsinthecountry on Instagram.) I could share of all the ways in which we were, as a family, under stress and under fire. I would tell you of how we barely made it to our new home, but we did. I might even tell you of how my little shoppe exploded and became a game-changer in our lives this year. I could tell you of the costliness and learning curve that it required. Oh, and also: that we celebrated the seeming realization of a dream to build our school's permanent home, and to have it fall from our grasp. It was an eventful year...and these are just a few highlights.
But, friends, what's really on my heart about 2014 is summed up in these words by Charles Spurgeon that bring tears to my eyes:
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”
― Charles H. Spurgeon
Do you see yourself here, friend? I do. The pressures, stress, chaos, and demands of 2014 were intense...but when I look back, I see myself in this: "They love the wheat, but they do not grind it...the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it." In this past year, I so often missed the opportunity to taste and see that the Lord IS GOOD. Yes, I loved Him, but so often forfeited the satisfaction of all that he offers by, instead, turning to self-sufficiency and sometimes, self-absorption.
I can't drink from a cup that is already full of my own agenda and striving.
But, friends, if you relate to my year, let me encourage you with this: it's not with shame and doubt that we should feel conviction as we go into 2015; it's with a heart tender toward his unrelenting love and pursuit of us. If you and I feel burdened, it should be burdened by the often-times lack of sensitivity to the Lord's sweet faithfulness, kindness, and welcome, and not because we don't measure up (because on our own, we never will.)
Rehearsing that we have - yet again - failed to grind the wheat, failed to slowly and thoughtfully meditate on his word, will only drives us further from his loving arms. Rehearsing how good, patient, and ever-merciful Christ is, will cause us to fall at his feet, and drink.
And as Spurgeon said, sometimes - even in our overwhelmingly socially connected world - silence and solitude are key. Sometimes we really must stop spinning and speaking, and be silent and still.
2015 will undoubtedly be no less stressful, chaotic, or wearying as 2014....no less challenging to my mama bones as I raise these little men...but where I turn in the midst of adversity is who I really am. Lord, God, tune my heart to sing thy praise. Tune my heart to the deep satisfaction that is knowing your word in 2015. Let me grind the wheat that I so love and find it ever filling.
It's never too late, the effort is never too small, friends. Will you join me?
Thank you for your faithful friendship, readership, and support of GraceLaced this past year. I'm grateful for each one of you, and eagerly anticipate the praises we get to proclaim as he grows us and proves himself faithful in the next. See you in 2015!!
Because of grace,
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The GraceLaced studio is moving!
The GraceLaced studio and fulfillment center are moving!
Due to the move, all print and notecards orders placed between Saturday, February 17 and Thursday, February 22 may take as long as 10 days to ship. We thank you for your patience during this time and we're looking forward to getting settled in our new space soon.