Sponsoring Compassion kids is huge to me. Meeting them in person during my time here on planet Earth was certainly only a wild dream. In 2015 God had other plans, and by His gracious provision I met two of them in El Salvador in September. Compassion’s mission is “releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.” Our group of 30 women helped to find sponsors for over half of the children in a brand new Child Development Center. We had the opportunity to CELEBRATE and worship with them and their families while we were there. We did life with them, visited in their homes, and received much more than we could give. Their joy, their gratefulness for the smallest things, their passion for Jesus, their fervency in prayer. . . . so out-shined their very difficult lives. This was true with each Compassion center we visited, and the joy of Jesus can be seen on these faces. And all of them lead into my word for 2016!!!
That big ole timepiece of 2015 ticked relentlessly into 2016 as I prayed for that one word — the word that would hold my focus for the next 365 days. Led to choose The Bible for Today’s Christian Woman (CEV) as my wisdom, and opening randomly to Ecclesiastes 11-12, this quote pops off the page:
“Life is celebrating each day as special.” ~~Luci Swindoll.
“Nope, no way. That can’t be my word. I see 2016 as a year of very rough challenges. Knowing and trusting God’s love and faithfulness has carried me through these in the past. His timing, his economy, his ways are so much higher than mine. A couple of my lifelines:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:3-5)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. . . . You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” (Isaiah 55:8-9,12-13)
Facing what it is ahead this year, in all honesty, I’m struggling to believe this, let alone CELEBRATE!
I look for a different word.
Psalm 13:5: “I trust your love, and I feel like celebrating because you rescued me. You have been good to me, LORD, and I will sing about you.” (CEV)
That’s not all! I subscribe to Devotionals Daily, and here’s a quote from the New Year’s Eve offering:
“Think of it — the universe knows no greater Power than Me, and I live in you! Celebrate My indwelling Presence. It is your gift to enjoy.” ~~Sarah Young from Jesus Today Devotional Journal.
Being one of those who typically can find God in the midst of tough and ugly messes and prays for God to show Himself in every situation, this is just simply a huge challenge for me this year. I’m not seeing what God is seeing, thinking or planning, I know. So, I’m praying to Surrender!
No, surrender is not my word. I’m believing God is telling me emphatically to CELEBRATE! I have to know God’s got this! My struggles cannot define me, and certainly not my God — or my God living in me and acting on my behalf. Reminiscing over the photos of so many special people loved by God and precious in His sight who can CELEBRATE so beautifully in the midst of serious struggles, I’m reminded that I must seek out and appreciate the reasons to CELEBRATE in 2016! I’ll be excited to share them, too.
For those interested in sponsoring a child and bringing them hope and love in Jesus name, visit Compassion or click on the link in the right column.