Each year for the past 3 years I’ve asked God for one word that would enable me to quickly grasp his theme for me for that year. So apropos were each of those words. As the year went on it became more and more evident what God was doing in my life and why that word was so relevant.
Let’s start in 2014. A year that required me to step into the unknown in ways that I never had before. Continued major career change, address changes, relationship changes and health issues. In many ways a whole new life. None of which was all that comfortable; but I knew all were absolutely necessary. It was really the early stages of, what I would call, my healing journey. That journey began in late 2012. Wrought with uncertainty, a lot of hurt to press in to and a lot of questions for God. Like, why would a 36-year marriage fall apart? Will I ever have a new partner some day? What will the relationship with my daughter look like? Can I even trust God to have my back? Now what? Lonely nights at dinner and a movie to escape the reality of the hurts I was experiencing. After all, how can this be part of His will for my life. It just doesn’t make sense. I was faithful and believed reconciliation was possible, but no. Not to be.
2015 – Word for the Year – TRUST. As time marched on I saw God show up in miraculous ways in my life. Trusting him was the only option and it paid off. Just being faithful. Coaching folks in business and in life became a natural part of MY life. Giving back what God gave me. Trust also meant being still – but walking at the same time. Into known and unknown territory full of surprises. He used this time to reveal himself to me on a deeper level. I never knew exactly what that meant when people said go deeper with God. But I did after taking His lead and quietly sitting in His presence. It’s just not describable until you do it. The spirit of this age is busyness. Sometimes you just need to slow down and sit AND trust Him. He so showed himself worthy of that trust.
2016 – Word for the Year. Abide. Well that seemed like a boring word. Yet it was anything but boring. I got engaged and married. So much for that question being answered. Didn’t see that one coming. On the other hand, I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life. As God showed me the ministry that lies ahead and the partner that I would have in the process, I couldn’t wait. Let’s go God. Career and calling was shifting again but in a more adventurous direction. A new food export business with a mission model. That all seemed exciting and it was; but there was an abiding that was taking place. Becoming more secure in my identity yet with tons of questions about what that even was. Learning how to walk out who God called me to be. Getting familiar with my new wife who loves the Lord and loves people better than anyone I’ve ever met. Special gifting in Leadership and Intercession. What a combination. A new family, new relationships. Abiding seemed appropriate as I simply let Him do His thing.
2017 – Word for the Year – FOLLOW. This should be interesting. What new adventures were waiting. Surely this new business would be well underway and we’d be seeing the world and doing ministry like never before. Well, sort of but not around the world. Colleen and I would begin ministering as I volunteered at Water Street Mission. To the broken and forgotten and the poor. Even leading a group of men into their own healing journey.
I’d be following God as he opened my awareness to wounds in my life that needed healed and lies that I believed about myself that needed exposed. Dysfunctional behavior and flawed thinking that needed reversed. Not exactly the following I was thinking of. Huh. Funny how that works. Awesome but very painful at the same time. Now here comes the enemy ready to pounce on the improvements. Reinforce the lies of “not having what it takes”, “gotta prove yourself to be worthy of your place in life”. Got further reminders when a business that I owned failed after 20 years. Then the financial fallout. Wait, this is following? Where are we going? Broke? Pretty much. Since I found quite a bit of significance in my balance sheet God decided to target that and eliminate the threat to the healing he had for me. Another one of those – didn’t see that coming. So now what? Stripped of all dependence on my own control I’m left with no other choice than to FOLLOW.
Then, suddenly, the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day stops. Like the Israelites in the dessert God introduces me to my Word for the end of 2017 and into 2018. WAIT!!! We’re gonna wait.
Oh my goodness. Are you kidding me? No way. Sit in this place of uncertainty where all the things that I “knew” to be true would be sidelined. God, your calling to spiritual healing ministry and international business. What’s happening? Our distributor in Panama decides to sit back and WAIT. The UK is stalled by logistics in getting product samples there. Jellies and jams and salsas and gourmet mixes. Sitting in my basement for weeks to get picked up. WAIT. Convinced that we have a partner in Colombia, South America that will be ordering immediately for shipment decides no. Now we WAIT.
Then God showed me Romans 4:18-22. Wow:
18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness[a] of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
It was one of those moments when you realize just how personal your relationship with Christ can be. As sure as I knew what God called my wife and me to bring to the Kingdom here on earth, is as sure as I know that someday that will come. The waiting can be rich. Rich with relationships. Rich with understanding. Rich with new experiences that God has for us. Rich with growth. For me it’s all of the above. God showed me that this year was for healing. What I defined as healing was building a business and subsequent ministry around that healing. God had something different in mind. And I’m ok with that now. It has not been easy but it’s been monumental for my story. The story that will be told over and over. Shared with tens, hundreds and thousands. That’s the promise. Wounded healers we all are. Until we meet Him face to face and all things become new again. Healers and lovers of God and others. That’s our calling.
There’s more to this story but, for now, it’s in the waiting. From nothing, to something, to everything. He is our God. He is our Healer, He is our Deliverer. Whether in Trusting, Abiding, Following or Waiting. He is faithful.