As you look back over your writing year, be kind and gracious to yourself.
This month as our blog writers reflected on their year nearly completed, they wrote on their verse and/or word of the year. Most spoke with gratitude on God’s faithfulness, goodness, and God-inspired challenges, both in expected and unexpected ways.
My word of the year was “Invitation”—an invitation to walk in the path God prepared for me. The accompanying Scripture the Lord gave me was, “Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).
The year had hardly begun when my brother Cyril fell and broke his hip. Living alone, he invited me to be his companion as he recovered. This was a new experience for me, filled with good interactions with both Cyril and our brother Lorne who with his son and daughter assumed all the farming responsibilities.
The first weeks were delightfully filled with neighbours and friends dropping in-- visitors who couldn’t visit him due to Covid while in the hospital. Friends from the church brought home-cooked meals for us. The time also gave me a chance to be out in “God’s country”, enjoying the wide-open spaces, watching the many swans in migration, and mingling with friends at the country church.
When I returned home, it was nearing spring and time to catch up with yard work and planting flowers and vegetables. During all this time, I didn't write too much, but God assured me that He would give me time a little while later.
Just as I was gathering thoughts together for writing, I came down with the most wicked flu; it felt much like Covid, though I tested negative. It was difficult to write in those first few weeks as my head felt scrambled. I did, however, read and organize a few thoughts.
By August I was almost completely recovered and I noticed a distinct change in the way the Lord was speaking to me. Through working on our three IWO blog themes of this summer (distractions, writing habits, and being stalled in writing), the Lord invited me to reorder both my writing and my private world, a process I knew would take time, a process that is still ongoing.
Fall Conference came like a refreshing rain after not seeing our community of writers since before Covid. Inspirational chats and speakers filled me to the brim. Just a few days later, God prompted me to finish one of the major projects I had hidden in my computer folders. I decided on one which I began ten years ago, “Divine Touches”—devotionals on how God is working in our lives through miracles and other means. God also prompted me to ask others to be part of a prayer team—to keep me accountable and to work toward completion. As of this writing, I’m nearing the finish line of 75 devotionals, some nearly polished and others needing more revision. Again, God prompted me that before I begin the next phases, I’m to spend time in prayer for His wisdom and direction.
While preparing this blog post, I'm reminded of how Nehemiah acknowledged God with such courtesy: “The gracious hand of God was on me” (Nehemiah 2:18). Everything in my year came because the Lord's gracious hands invited me into new pathways. His good hand is also giving me the promise for next year, the promise God gave to the Israelites in the desert:
Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way
and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
(Exodus 23:20 ESV)
As we move into this season of Advent with its busy-ness and with the world still in the midst of the chaos, the pandemic, and uncertainty, I have a prayer for you. Accept God’s invitation to sit quietly in His presence, allowing the Spirit to reveal Himself to you with the marvel and wonder of the Messiah’s coming, both first and second.