I think in a very really way the answer to that question is me. There have been many wonderful people who have loved me in these hard years. They have patiently walked beside me, listened to my negativety and lovingly reminded me of my true identity. I remember a particularly hard time when I walked into our church and sat next to a beloved missionary friend of mine. She knows what it is to see your dreams slip away, to move out on faith only to have nothing go the way you planned. I asked her through my tears how she had made it through. She answered that she had relied on who God was. When nothing else makes sense we have to go back to who God is and trust that this never changes.
I have always loved God's names. In the Jewish tradition, a name wasn't just a title, but encompassed all the character that went with the name. My favorite one is YHWH Shammah-God is there. This is the name of God's Presence. This is the name I called on often in 2014. As we prepared for the foreclosure on our house last January, the house where two of my sons were born, our first house, I often found it hard to hold my head up. This is not how life is supposed to go! I would cry "YHWH Shammah, I don't know anything else, but I know you are there." God was faithful and we moved into a house that in every way met our family's needs in much better ways. In March, we launched His Urban Presence and I again cried out to my YHWH Shammah. How are we going to do this, how will we move into what God has called us to on the streets and continue to run our company? Again, God has been so faithful.
I am learning that God is always there, but I am also learning new things about His faithfulness and character. I see His image carried in the lives of so many beautiful, messy people. I have loved and walked with so many hurting people this past year. People who's faith, like mine is growing through hard things. Some of them created their own mess, some walked through messes others had made, all of them they were stumbling along clinging to Jesus, barely. I walked with them and reminded them that God is there and we walked together holding each other up as we went. I learned that His grace has a depth that I never imagined and I am only beginning to skim the surface of it. I am learning that I am precious to God and even in the messes I have created, He never stops lovingly walking with me, showing me that He is always there. YHWH Shammah!
Most are familiar with the story of Job, but what most people miss is his testimony in 42:5. "I had only heard about you before (rumors), now I have seen you with my own eyes." This has been the story of 2014 for me. I have seen God in ways I never have before. I have seen bits and pieces, but like Job's friends, I really had no idea what God was really like. As I walk with Him and see Him more and more there is an incredible freedom I have never known. I am so convinced of His love, His grace, His faithfulness that I am excited (almost) to see what the new year holds. All the questions are not answered, everything is not sunshine and unicorns, in many ways things are still very hard, but I know that God is there and this gives my strength to walk through whatever challenges this new year holds and to hopefully help others to see themselves and God more clearly.
This post is part of the January Synchroblog "Looking Back". Please use the links below to read the posts from the other authors who participated this month.
Bloggers looking back and looking forward this month:
- Done With Religion – Looking Back, But Moving Forward
- Mark Votava – Learning to Love: Crossing a Decade of Rootedness
- Tara at Praying on the Prairie – A Year of New Beginnings
- Carol Kuniholm – Looking Back, Praying Forward
- Mary at lifeinthedport – roaring chickens: how i found my voice
- Moments with Michelle – The Year that Was: Looking Back at 2014
- Jeremy Myers – What I learned from almost following my GPS to my death
- Glenn Hager – Things I Don’t Ever Want to Forget
- Michelle Torigian – Looking Back at All the Stuff
- Fedex at His Urban Presence - A Year of Changes
- Charity at His Urban Presence – God is There
- Lisa Brown at Me Too Moments for Moms – Lessons from 2014
- Bram Cools – 2015: Looking Forward, Looking Back