2015, You Are to Me a Year of Jubilee

I don’t know about you, but I cannot look ahead to 2016 without first examining the whole of 2015. I have to make sense of what just happened before I begin to build upon it with expectation of what is to come. 

On the Jewish Calendar, 2015/2016 marks the year of Jubilee. This is a designated time given by God to the Jews for the restoration of land, finances and freedom. Imagine it to be a figurative exhale- a release from struggle.

Personally, our household experienced jubilee. We saw restoration on many levels. We’ve been working through the loss of five family members in a short, six-year span. Four of the five were our dear parents. We have the unshakeable hope of reuniting with our loved ones in heaven, and that makes grieving more bearable, yet there is still the demand of finding a new norm. I think we are there.

My husband believed upon the Lord’s promise to restore. I mean, this key word has been his 2015 focus! Let me tell you how the heavenly Father delivered! Jon has persevered through a difficult season, and I am so proud of him for putting feet to the floor and beginning each new day even though the struggle was real. Today, his outlook is restored, his physical activity is restored {he’s running like crazy as he trains for a marathon}, and his building projects and business are restored. The parcel of land that he purchased finally had a cleared transaction after more than a year of waiting on the City of Newport News to designate the property for residential building! Not only has God brought needed restoration to Jon’s career focus, but He also expanded the business. We are so thankful for the opportunity to develop land and build homes for families.

For me, 2015 was a focus on God’s kingdom. It’s hard to put words to the expression of my heart here, but I believe there is so much more for the believer than we already know and experience. The depths of God’s heart are unsearchable, but how He delights in those who seek to know Him and His ways! My writing project that began this year and continues into the new year has a familiar hashtag with the social media postings: #youaremorethanyouknow. I invite you to come along on this journey to discover your identity in Christ and to walk it out. It’s the 100-Day Identity Makeover, and you can find it here.

God’s kingdom is a constant cause for celebration because the worthy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is enthroned in heaven! He conquered sin and its outcome- death. Because Jesus overcame the grave and is alive forevermore, He now intercedes for the believers in the earth. Out of God’s grace we receive power for living victoriously as our Lord and King Jesus did while on earth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus; He is the Spirit of truth! For every believer who asks the Father for the Holy Spirit (See Luke 11:13), he/she is afforded heavenly wisdom- the mind of Christ. The Spirit empowers gifts that the Father entrusts to His children so that the realities of heaven can be manifest in the earth. The Spirit produces fruit that enables us to live victoriously above our circumstances and not in an emotional, reactionary lifestyle.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 14:17).

There has been so much kingdom joy manifest in my life this year! Beginning the first week of 2015, I received news that Jon and I won a trip to Israel- a dream that I have held in my heart for over fifteen years! Only God could have done this for us! Another longing fulfilled came soon afterwards as the Lord opened the door for me to serve a crisis pregnancy center that provides medical care and counsel for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Everything about this ministry proclaims LIFE, and I am honored to be a part of it! Additionally, I joined a hotline team that ministers to callers facing difficulties in their marriage, and that is incredibly rewarding!

Teaching to me is the equivalent to breathing, and I thank the Father for the many invitations to instruct, encourage and build up the body of Christ through sharing what God is teaching me. By His grace, I have witnessed effective change for His Name and fame.

I have so much more celebration in my heart, but I will close with one pearl that is especially dear to me. Please don’t be deceived into thinking that everything has been perfectly rosy. Life happens, and there is no escaping that reality! I was stopped in my tracks last spring while running a trail that brought me into close proximity to a walker and her pit bull/ labrador mix breed. He lurched free of her firm hold and attacked me, creating wounds that required two months to heal. It was traumatizing, to say the least. But nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God, and the Father used this opportunity to teach me. If you read Psalm 139, you will get the message clearly. You see, there were things of my past that truly had not been healed… things that our family seemingly got over and moved beyond; but, honestly, the deep work of healing was neglected. Healing fully comes when we bring each instance to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is the Omniscient One, and He brings needed wisdom and counsel to every matter that concerns us. The Father asked me to revisit the painful places but with knowledge of the eternal truths of Psalm 139. So, whether that place was an ugly place of my own rebellion or one of another’s betrayal, the Spirit’s beautiful words to me in 2015 were, “I was there. I saw it all happen and it grieved Me too. But here you are today, and you came through difficult things, so now you can proclaim My faithfulness to you.”

Yes, Father in heaven, You are faithful… more faithful than I have ever deserved, but I receive your grace and walk in the knowledge that I am Your daughter, a citizen of Your kingdom who enjoys all of Your privileges. Now, as I stand on the threshold of 2016, I ask You to take me deeper.

Merry Christmas, Friends! May your expectation for the coming New Year be rooted in God’s faithfulness to you.

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