End of 2021 Reflections

I remember the Lord speaking to me about 2021 saying:

  • I will teach you through tears.
  • Legitimate suffering is a discipline that starts at the beginning and goes through.
  • We walk by faith and not by sight
  • Prayer is a must ingredient
  • I want you to be Radically Obedient
  • This year will be a major fulfillment of a word given in 2008 “I will build your house and so much more”

Along with these he gave the bible verse from 2 Samuel 9:7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”

I saw 4 takeaways to take into the new year:

  • Do not fear
  • He will show me kindness
  • He will restore the land
  • I will eat at His table

I’m struggling to write this post, rolling words over and around in my mind trying to figure out where to begin. (<—that’s how I begin when I don’t know how to start. You just start) To be honest, I struggled this whole year and now that I look at what the Lord had been saying to me, I struggled because I didn’t allow parts of what He said to metabolize into my soul. I did what many people do. I focused on the parts that I liked instead of taking stock of the whole word given. I kept my eye on that bible verse takeaway’s instead of what He said to me in light of that verse.

When we do this we only pay attention to the parts we like – and we become disappointed. So…

When we were sitting at the table with a friend at the beginning of 2021 who owns a piece of property he wanted to sell, my mind went to “Prayer is a must ingredient” so I prayed, we prayed. My mind went to “He will restore the land” (this is land and the Lord gonna help up get it) and the word from 2008 “so much more.” Immediately, I struggled with having the faith to believe and found myself preparing my heart for a let down by saying to myself, “If it is it is and if not, well it is what it is.” When the whole deal fell through, I was disillusioned. Disillusion is what its called when you had an illusion and reality hits. I didn’t understand why God would say all that and then not allow it. Life doesn’t always come out the way you think it will. God’s promise and words to us are further above what we can understand and yet somehow we think we know. I think I know. I should know better considering that I write these end of the year posts and every time I write them I see very clearly how I am clueless until He shows me and how good God is the write the story.

The Lord said, “I will teach you through tears.” I was met with many occasion to allow tears. Every moment, from being moved to tears by music to sitting in a heap with a friend weeping with one who weeps. You may be thinking, “what’s the big deal?” Well, I had turned tears off along time ago. Entering into tears this year made me feel real and alive again in moments that come naturally with the passing of time. I had allowed this part of myself to die, so that, I didn’t feel the pain of loss. I am the strong one who can walk through painful things untouched. I’ve learned that stuffing the hurt away doesn’t make you strong. It makes you cold and indifferent. I remember one time when my former pastor was standing in a circle of people to whom he was retelling a story of something. He and each person in the circle had some kind of emotional reaction to it. I was standing there cold, indifferent, and waiting to asking him a question about a task. He poked fun at me as he normally would by saying, “oh come on Starla.” I wasn’t embarrassed. I simply didn’t care to cry over a story. That moment had stuck with me and I remembered it when the Lord said, “I will teach you through tears.” He has caused me to find my soft heart again.

The Lord said, “Legitimate suffering is a discipline that starts at the beginning and goes through.” I learned much about disciplines this year. I read several books over the year about disciplines. I tried to order my life just to watch myself not be able to perform them. See, I wanted discipline without suffering. It is just not possible. Almost everything I tried to order fell apart. Prayer and Fasting. Exerciser routine. Bible reading plan. Obviously I read only the part that said “discipline that starts at the beginning and goes through.” What is legitimate suffering? I found that legitimate suffering is when you don’t feel at home in your soul and instead of conjuring up some kind of happiness distraction or blowing up your life by quitting your job, relationships, and responsibilities you go through the process. Legitimate suffering is when you actually deal with the automatic responses that come out of you. Things that have long been buried but that are like the walking dead inside of you. The sideways comments. The withdrawal and retreat from conversations. The overreacting because your soul is re-enacting long past moments and you don’t even know it. Legitimate suffering is when you grow through these moments instead of brushing them off and continuing the cycle into another year.

The Lord said, “We walk by faith and not by sight.” and “Prayer is a must ingredient.” So, we (Jen and I) started prayer on Wednesday mornings in May and Lindsay comes when she is able. We call those things that are not as though they are. We pray for our leaders, church and families, the ministries, the world, our community, ourselves. Everything. We pray for and over everything.

The Lord said, “I want you to be Radically Obedient.” I thought when He said this that He would speak to me and I would move. But again, nope. I just think I know what He is saying. He stopped talking a lot this year. Which is part of why I felt so not at home in my soul. Radical Obedience had to do with how I would respond to our new pastors. Would I allow them to lead me and love me? Given the fact, that I usually take a long time to deeply trust someone, the Lord would ask of me to jump in and follow without my usual super questioning. So, walk by faith here too. As I have walked with Pastor Chad and Lindsay this year, I heard the Lord at little moments remind me of radical obedience. So, when they began to peer deeper than I would have normally allowed into my soul and mind, I leaned into it. I chose to let them in. No requirements needed. This was the best thing (though at times embarrassing, painful, uncomfortable) it was real. I felt seen. I felt cared for. I felt heard. I felt valued. I also would talk and walk through many dark places within my soul that were still suffering from when I was young. Radical obedience meant that I would allow God to sift my soul using these people to do it. Instead of my ol’ trusty favorite called: Go it alone. Figure it out for yourself.

The Lord said, “This year will be a major fulfillment of a word given in 2008.” Back then we went through a major disaster. The flood of 2008 was devastating but the Lord said, “I will build your house and so much more” Today, my hubby and I will walk into our bank and wire transfer our last mortgage payment. We will walk into 2022 completely debt free. God is so good.

Listen, we may not understand His ways but when we follow His lead and if we are paying attention we will see that He is faithful to perform all His promises. I didn’t walk in fear but I fought with it this year. He certainly showed me His abundant kindness, He restored much of my internal landscape, and I’ve sat at His table while the giants of the past railed and roared but had no bite because I sit with a King. Grow through what you go through. You wont be disappointed.

What is He speaking to you about 2022? (more on that later)

All is grace,

Starla

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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