Year of Abundance

The year of abundance all started with wanting to feel His presence more than I had been. I knew from 2017 that He is an ever present Shepherd continually caring to my needs and preparing the way. So, it was a simple prayer: Lord, let me see you.

In the smallest ways I wanted to see Him show up. And He did.

In laughter with my husband. In heartfelt conversations with my son. In the timeliness of decisions at work. In the women who showed up for bible study week after week with great eagerness to know Him more. I felt my heart and mind being transformed little by little as He began to answer this prayer.

But I didn’t want to just see Him more, I wanted to understand His movements in a new way. It’s no small thing to ask the Creator of the universe, the Great Almighty, I Am, to see what He sees, feel what He feels, to understand His view of this abundant life more.

Abundance was my word of the year, the focus of my days. Jesus’ abandoned life for my abundant life. But what really did this mean for me specifically? With a holy fear I brought this petition before Him believing He’d be gentle in His response. That’s how a Shepherd tends to His sheep, with gentleness and intention. I was ready to discern and walk in this answer with Him.

This year has mostly been full of the ordinary. Little League Baseball. Navigating the end of 1st grade and the start of 2nd. Date nights that usually repeat themselves at our favorite spots. Karate classes. Family movie nights. Thursday night dinner at Lady’s.

Then there was the out of ordinary. Millie (our dog) passed away in April. I endured continual change among women’s ministry leadership. We actually planted the garden we said we would and had a small harvest by end of summer.

As God continued to reveal Himself to me in the meaningful mundane, I couldn’t stop talking about His goodness. Time and time again, even in some dire situations, I found praise pouring from my mouth. Often my words didn’t even line up with my heart, but praise was all that seemed to come out.

The more I saw Him, the more I praised Him. The more I praised Him, the more I understood His goodness. Through all this, the more I was transformed into His image.

Abundant life is not the absence of hard things; it is God’s presence in all things. The gift of His presence is just as profound in the ordinary as it is on the highest mountain top or in the deepest valley.

That’s what He needed me to fully understand. 

If 2017 was the year of suffering and loss then 2018 has been the year of celebration and abundance. Not because I didn’t face hard things, but because I understood more fully how He loves me.

Sometimes the limp from a hard season is actually the blessing we need. Sometimes the Shepherd has to take His sheep through the valley to get to the next green pasture, but no matter what He is with us.

Life abundant, to the full, to the overflow. This is what His word promises us. This is what our Savior came and died for. This is why He left specific commandments and commissions. This is why He gives us the Spirit without measure and gifts us by His varied grace.

Life Abundant with Him, in Him, for Him. It’s better than I ever imagined.

Thanks be to God.