A New Life Has Begun

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  – 2 Corinthians 5

As a child, I never dreamed it possible to have come so far in life.  I never imagined my self a teenager, let alone a mother with children,  Each New Year’s Eve from as far back as I can remember I have closed out the year in prayer on my knees.  From a little girl I would be found in the living room with each family member kneeling over a chair praying.  My prayers consisted of reflection over the year, repentance of any wrong, and a promise to pray more.  After all, this would more than likely be the year of the rapture.

A memory from about the age of eight or nine years old comes back to me, kneeling in prayer attempting to pray and not to fall asleep; I placed my head on my hands with eyes closed letting my mind wander. A loud gunshot went off jolting me back to reality and fear settled over me,  I began to pray with great fervency. Repentance for being lax and pleading, “Please dear Jesus, take me too.” Tears streamed down my little cheeks as I peeked around making sure my daddy was still there.  His gentle voice praying uninterrupted soothed me somewhat as I waited for us to finish.

As the years have passed I have kept the family tradition of praying out the year.  I’ve not missed once.  As 11:30 rolled around I would quietly sneak away and find a place to kneel and pray. I wanted to be ready for the new year, I wanted to be found prayed up and conditioned for the coming of the Lord.  While I believe my heart was sincere, this year I have stopped to re-evaluate this tradition.

There is no better way to start the New Year than with prayer, however, my motives have changed.  This holiday season I have spent much time reflecting on this last year and just what this new year will be to me. 2013 was certainly a year of discovery for me.  A year of searching, study, and change.  As I reflect on where I was at last year and where I now stand I have to confess I am not the same person.  I have let go, I have learned to bend while standing.  I have accepted that I am complete in Christ despite any circumstance I may find myself in.  There is no super power that comes with hidden knowledge, revelation, praying one’s self up, or anything one might attempt to do to draw themselves into a higher spirituality.  It simply is not earned.

The love of God is immeasurable.  His grace is sufficient.  His blood covers all sin.  You don’t need an extra dose of blood for one sin or less for another.  He won’t love you more if you belong to one group and less if you do not.  He loves me because I am His.  I can’t earn it, I can’t do anything to deserve it, I can only accept it and lowly confess I am nothing without Him. “Oh God be merciful to me a sinner!”

I have let go of all the old doctrines and in childlike faith I have come to Him and said, “Lord my hands are empty, my heart is broken, I am lost, and I need you. Be merciful to me Oh God, forgive me, and teach me Lord. Fill my heart’s desire to know you in all truth.”  I have started over.  I am teachable, willing to learn, bend, and change.

Change I have, I am stronger in many ways.  I have acquired a boldness backed by confidence in His word.  I have learned that I will disappoint those I love, but I can love them all the more.  I have learned that through His unmerited favor and grace I can be who He called me to be and do what He has called me to do.  I do not belong in a box. I am no less or any more than anyone else.  I am who I am because that is who He made me to be and I need Him.

This year is a new year full of new beginnings.  Old things are passed away and I am being made new.  A new heart full of love, concern, and a burden for people like never before.  A new mind: teachable, willing to learn, and change.  A new Spirit: Christ’s alone.  I am a new creature.

Last night I made a conscious effort to break my tradition.  I did not pray as the clock changed to midnight.  I was not found on my knees.  I didn’t  pray out the old year and condition myself for the new.  As the clock ticked, my mind reflected back on everything I had been through this year and what I wanted for the new year.  I was handed a card to fill out my resolution for the new year and I couldn’t think of one thing.  Not one.  I had Jesus and He was enough.  Lord I can’t ask for anything, I can’t vow to be more than I am.  My friend saw me pondering my blank card and laughed, telling me she hadn’t meant for it to be so difficult. I smiled, if she only knew.

Embracing the changes of 2013 and all that has been made new to me, holding all who were dear in my heart, I wrote down one word.  For me it represented everything drifting through my mind, continually spinning and refusing to stop.  In that one word I took all of it and placed it in a promise and a request,  God give me strength to take the next step.

If I were to make a New Years resolution I would say I will no longer allow myself to be influenced by the thoughts and opinions of a particular person.  I will not base my decisions upon their ideas.  I will not let them influence me or persuade me.  I will not look at the ministry as some type of mediator or “higher calling” above the laity, but rather, as another part in the body of Christ through which we can be edified and blessed.  I will look for the Spirit of Christ and I will seek the scriptures. No longer will I allow a standard of law to be placed in my life that removes grace.

Be disappointed, be hurt, cry.  Unfriend me, stop speaking to me.  Call me an apostate, tell me I can’t be bride; I’m over it.  I’m following Christ.  If it’s not in His word [the BIBLE] it is of no concern to me.  Keep your quotes.  Keep your revelations, keep your ministry… anytime the ministry is placed above the people instead of for the people I will run from it.  This year, I will be me in honesty and and authenticity.  I will strive to find the place to not offend my brother and yet stand firmly and boldly in truth.  This year… I may ask, “Just who is my brother?”

Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  – Mark 3

Welcome New Year.  Welcome 2014…. I’m embracing it with peace knowing I’m walking in His grace.  Yes, the old life is passed away and a life has begun.

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