A few days ago, I wrote in my journal, “2016 is a year for open hands.” Call it a goal or a prophecy, but I know that right now, as I enter 2016, God is asking me to keep my hands open. I’m not supposed to clench my fists, gripping everything I know and feel comfortable with; I’m supposed to open my hands, ready to risk, but also ready to receive what God will give me as I walk into a new year and a new season.
A Lot of NEWness
A few months ago, I was teaching from the book of Joshua in my Thursday bible study group. Here at the beginning of the book, Moses has died and Israel is experiencing a lot of NEWness: they had a NEW leader, and they were getting ready to enter into a NEW land.
I was drawn to these chapters because I felt like I was also preparing my heart for NEW things. And usually, I’m afraid of change, but then I read Joshua 3:5. Joshua told the people in their moment of anticipating change, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
This verse helped me to see that even though change is hard, I can trust that God will do amazing things in my new tomorrows, in my new year.
Sometimes I just fan-girl out over bible verses; I get all obsessive and excited while people just smile at me, thinking maybe I’m cute, but come on, be rational, be realistic. Who has time to be that excited about that verse? Who has time to actually believe the promise of it?
But I just want to flick their face and say, “Stop being lame. Don’t you want this too?”
So there I was in October, staring at Joshua 3:5 and loving it: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
Just as Israel was getting ready to enter a new land, I knew I was getting ready to enter a new season.
New things were/are coming, and it’s like I could hear them coming my way: new things with the release of my book, new things with my church and job, the new season of being a foster parent, etc.
So much new.
I’m still in that spot. Just anticipating.
I’ve been officially licensed as a foster parent in my county for over a month, but I’m still waiting for that call from DCS. Just anticipating.
My dad, who has been my senior pastor for my whole life and my boss for 7 years, will be going to start a new church plant on the east side of Indy. This is a huge change for me. I’ll talk more about it later (this endeavor that Dad and Mom are taking on certainly deserves its own #WeWontShrinkBack post), but right now I’m just walking that tightrope of emotions, hoping I don’t have too many public outbursts of tears. So far, so good, but I can’t promise that I’ll be able to hold it all together in 3 months, in 6 months, in 12 months. I’m totally supportive of everything about this change, and I’m so excited of what this new church plant will bring, but still, I can’t say how my emotions will react. I’ve never processed a change quite like this before. Hopefully, I’ll be fine, but the tears are never far away. So I’m just anticipating.
And there in my place of anticipation, I remember Joshua 3:5: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
The command to “consecrate yourselves” implies that we should prepare. Right now as I prepare myself for foster care, there’s not much else I can do because I don’t know the ages or genders of the kid(s) I’ll care for. I already set up the guest bedrooms months ago—buying the mattresses, carrying in dressers, hanging blinds and curtains, etc. (Thanks to Mom and Dad for assisting me with this! :))
I didn’t think there was anything left to do for my house before I took in kids. But then I started reading about minimalism from author Joshua Becker, and I realized that it would be helpful to de-clutter to create space in my house and create margin in my heart. I never knew that cleaning out my closet could feel this amazing. Over the past 2 or 3 months, I’ve taken several bags to Goodwill and cleaned out the cluttered spots in my house. There’s still more to do, but it feels so freeing.
And I can’t help but think that it’s the same way with our heart. Maybe the wonderful feeling of letting go of 80 old t-shirts is indicative of how it feels when we open up space in our hearts, in our hands for the new things God has for us.
In preparing for entering a new season, I need to empty my hands—to say to God, “Not my will, but Yours be done”—and get ready to receive what God will give. I need to have OPEN HANDS to show faith that God is going to do something new.
And now the new year starts on Friday. For me, 2016 will be a year for open hands. Oh, Lord, have mercy, that is scary. But I believe the promise of Joshua 3:5 and anticipate that “tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
Happy New Year!
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.