Another New Beginning

2 Jan

Welcome to a new year, a new blog attempt, and, to a small extent, a new Portrait Writer.

I love the promise of a new year. I see the days ahead as a book full of blank pages that God, not I, will fill with joy and personal growth—if I allow Him to. This year, I am determined not to grab the pen from Him so often, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

You see, I learned quite a bit about this wrestling for control last year as I tried to fill the pages in by myself. In fact, 2018 was for me a year of frustration, disappointment, and significant bouts of outright anger, because I wasn’t in control.

I learned a lot last year. If I had to put my finger on two verses that impacted me the most, they would be:

  1. Romans 8:28, which is a common verse, commonly misinterpreted: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to Hispurpose. I cannot stop bad things from happening, or my train from derailing on occasion, but I can trust that God will get me back on track.
  2. Matthew 6:10, which scholars have changed over the years by adding a comma in a most unfortunate place. Consider this, the King James Version: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. And here is the current, ESV version: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Just look at those commas. They completely change the emphasis of what we’re praying. I now purposefully say Thy will be done on earth (and when I pray this verse with my congregation in church I’m jarringly off beat).

In summary, I’m learning that God’s will is NOT being done on earth, or we wouldn’t have been asked to pray for it. I’m learning that when evil has its way on earth and in my life, it’s not because God ordained it, but because evil rules this place—for now. However, God’s not surprised and can work that event for good, if I trust His plan.

So I have to concede, despite my optimism, that some of those pristine pages ahead will marred by heartache, self-doubt, and (for me at least) potentially anger-inducing stress because of Satan and his minions. I say potentially, because I’m learning to lean more on Jesus’ response to my situation and to see him as my paraclete instead of an idle bystander. That requires constant reliance on Romans 8:28.

Bannister

The Caps toque only adds to the look, doncha’ think? 

 

All of which brings me to this day, and a new beginning for my blog. Some would say I’m a day late, but one of my resolutions for the new year is to give myself more grace. Just yesterday I packed away the boxes of Christmas cards that were never opened, joyful to know I already have cards for next year, and I’m intentionally leaving the garland draped across my entry banister as a reminder that Christmas (or even life) is not about getting it all done.

I don’t usually make resolutions, but this year I have. Let’s call them goals, though, because it leaves room for God’s input:

  1. Knowing that my purpose in God’s kingdom is to write, I will write. My blogs may be short on occasion, but they will be regular. I shall keep my writing time sacred, and I will resume work on a collection of stories about people in our church family. I have a goal of 4,000 words per week. I’m considering putting a word counter at the bottom of my blog each week for accountability purposes, but I’m afraid of the pressure it will place on me to succeed despite my second resolution. . .
  2. I resolve to give myself more grace. Math has never been my best. . ., on the top 10, part of my vocabulary, but I’m learning to accept that I can only do so much in 24 hours. Writing takes dedicated time, as does traveling to Ferrum College to pick up our scholar, working my day job, laundry, grocery shopping, editing jobs, date nights, etc. Last year, there were many days when I actually tried, on occasion, to use all 24 hours available and STILL couldn’t finish. I’ve learned to be content that I’ve done my best. If only I could leave the green garland on my banister all year as a reminder of that. . . Hmmm . . . Let’s just say if you visit my home in July and it’s still there, you’ll know why.
  3. Finally, I will enjoy the way my pages flow. I don’t want to miss the blessings because of my temper tantrums. When I prayed yesterday for a word of knowledge for the year ahead, all I heard was “sacrifice,” (which immediately destroyed my “No Whining” resolution, so you won’t read about that here). But as I prayed, I realized I’ve confused sacrifice with being a doormat. I know my recent bouts of anger stem from knowing I’m letting others direct my path, and I resent it. However, while preparing for this writing yesterday, I came across these words from fellow writer Susan May Warren: “The secret to living your life to its potential is to value the important stuff above your own comfort.” Sacrifice is giving up something good for something better; It’s NOT putting everyone else’s wants before your own. My goal this year is to learn how to discern others’ wants from their needs, so I can love them generously, yet not get so involved in their plans for me that I ignore God’s. I must sacrifice some things to get there. Simple? We shall see.

Each of these points could make an entire blog, so I won’t expound on them here because I know you don’t need that much sleep. I will share a secret here, however. Part of my inability to blog last year was because I worried my words were leaning toward too much of Jesus and might be turning people away, as I have many friends camping in the secular world. I’ve decided this is not my concern. God will keep them reading my blog if He wants them to. Let’s study His words together, shall we?

In a nutshell, God has called me a writer, and so I will write in 2019. I’m glad to have you along for the ride. Tell me in the comments, what has he called you to do in the year to come?

Happy New Year!

13 Responses to “Another New Beginning”

  1. Elaine Beachy January 2, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

    Dear Rosemarie,

    What a wonderful post! I share you heart concerning the Scriptures you referenced; I too have learned those things over the years! I really enjoyed reading “Another New Beginning.” God is faithful, and He is always good! Every good and perfect gift is from Him.

    Blessings for a great 2019,

    Elaine Beachy

    • Portrait Writer January 2, 2019 at 7:15 pm #

      Elaine, thank you so much. You are a wonderful encourager. I pray your 2019 holds many blessings for you as well. 🙂

  2. Cheryl January 2, 2019 at 5:11 pm #

    Rosemarie, Happy New Year! I enjoyed your words of wisdom and your willingness to share. I think we all have words that come to mind when thinking of a new year ahead. I hope I can follow your example and be brave enough to make them known so I can have some accountability!!

    • Portrait Writer January 2, 2019 at 7:16 pm #

      Thank you Cheryl. I’ll let you know in a month if I’m still glad I shared. 😉 Happy New Year back!

  3. Kae Bellamy January 2, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

    Thank you.

  4. Ed Valaer January 3, 2019 at 10:19 am #

    We missed you at the book launch party at Linda’s and again at the Christmas party at Dominion Estates. You have been an important part of our writing group and I will continue to read your blog and thank you for your wisdom. god has blessed you to write. Keep going!

    • Portrait Writer January 3, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

      Thank you Ed. It’s in the plan to return…hopefully soon. 🙂

  5. Colleen Quinn January 4, 2019 at 7:48 pm #

    In this new year, I will be following a better path to reading and making scripture more personal for me for it to really sink in and stay with me at all times.

  6. Mary Scro January 8, 2019 at 9:07 am #

    wow, right on target for me, as always :-). I’ve been wrestling with how/what/when/etc for my speaking and short videos…and writing too. AND trusting God and not trying to perform for Him as I try to be more disciplined. Looking forward to walking with you this year, and enjoying your writing. Breakfast soon……love you!

    • Portrait Writer January 8, 2019 at 9:28 am #

      Love you back. Praying God shows you what’s most important and you give yourself grace for the rest. See you soon! ❤

  7. Candy Ferris January 14, 2019 at 8:33 pm #

    Thank you I look forward to your words

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