Celebrate … Seriously?

Word for 2012 (part two) Living it.

So, last post I mentioned that my word for the year was CELEBRATE!  Not just Celebrate, but do it with Joyful Anticipation.  Within a week or so of getting ‘my word for 2012’, we got an unexpected phone call.

“I need to let you know about dad, he well, he died actually,” said the emotional cracking voice of my sister-in-law.

I reeled back and lost my breath.  He was fine at Christmas. I braced myself to tell my husband the words he would not be expecting and that would forever change his life.  I immediately flashed back to the evening in 1985 when my sister showed up unexpectedly at my dorm room door with the same sentence.

Celebrate?  Joy?  Would there be Joy again anytime soon.  Brian left shortly after to go pick up the pieces in Ohio, while I held down the fort at home until we could get out to meet-up with him for the funeral.

In my office sat the angel with the CELEBRATE Placard.  Really Lord?  Celebrate? Joy?

I purposed to look for opportunities to celebrate during those days from phone call to burial.  We celebrated a life that would be missed.  We celebrated an unexpected snow fall that brought a calmness over the house as we reveled in its beauty.  We celebrated the opportunity to bless others by giving away some of my father-in-laws clothing to someone who knew and loved him, and needed the gift.  I celebrated the time with my family.  I discovered that if I looked for it, celebration was there.  I didn’t JOYFULLY Anticipate a moment of it; but we did Celebrate.

It made me wonder where the JOY part was to come in.  I found John 12:22 that said,

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Watching others grieve, it made me realize that the only SOURCE of Joy has to be God – because he is unchanging.

I thought of Paul and Silas when they were bound and chained in prison.  They sang praises because their JOY was NOT in their circumstance their joy was in the Lord. They trusted the Lord to take care of them and help them through their trials and he did just that.

The morning of the funeral I was really down.  I felt joyless.  In a few hours, I would have to watch my husband participate in the funeral for his father, his golfing buddy, his confidant.  Brian had become an adult and was able to develop that tender relationship between adult sons and fathers. When I lost my dad, I lost a dad.  I was really too young to have called him more than Father.  This loss was a double whammy.

Spirit broken and dreading the next few hours, I tried to pray. I wanted to be an example of a Godly wife, mother, and believer. I called out to God.  Then I found my MP3 player and began to listen to worship music.  My heart began to sing and my joy in the Eternal God was renewed.

A worshipping heart can drive out despair and give us joy.  If we have joy we have hope. If we have hope we can pray.  Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  I sought that filling and He answered.

Since then, there’s been two more funerals, death of a loved horse, countless cancer diagnoses in my friends, and a near fatal car accident involving the son of a friend.  Each time, I looked at that CELEBRATE! angel and sought joy the only place I could find it.

Joy is truly found in God’s presence.  While getting there can be tough, there is cause for celebration when our hearts collide with HIS.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

Point to Ponder: Where can you connect with your creator to find JOY?

Word of the Year 2012 (part one)

Part One:  Getting It (Part Two is “Living it” coming next week)

It was 11:59 pm on December 31st and while most were anticipating the ball dropping  in Times Square, I was pondering my word for 2012.  Trivial for some, but to those who know me, that word is pretty important. Normally I’ve pondered or run across a scripture that guides me to my “word for the year” before the current year runs out.  But alas the the ball was dropping and the word well was dry – as dry as my blog which hadn’t been updated in about 2 months.

The “word of the year” is a focus of how you will approach life during the coming year or an attribute you’d like to project for the year.  My past words have included dream, act, refresh, complete, hope…

As I gazed into the future of 2012 I saw many life changes. One child off to college, a book that hopefully will be published, education changes for the remaining kiddos and … who knows what else.  Many of these changes I looked forward to with teary eyes. (not to mention, wrinkles, weight gain and hot flashes)  I wondered if my word would be Kleenex, Chocolate, Zoloft or perhaps rapture?

The ball dropped, the sauerkraut was eaten, the confetti vaccuumed, and I was still wordless for 2012.  I shared my dilemma with some writer friends who pray.  I did my share of communicating with the Master of all words, the giver of my gifts and the only one who knew what my 2012 would look like. 

While I was asking God why all my friends had words and I didn’t, I was also “de-Christmasing”.  I came across a gift bag in my office that I didn’t recognize.  Upon opening it, I realized it was a speaker gift I had received back in December when I spoke at a Christmas Brunch in Baltimore. The chaos of coming home and multiple people unpacking the car resulted in this misplaced package. 

When I opened the box, I found a Willow Tree Angel! 

 

Her tag said Celebrate – with Joyful Anticipation.  At first I laughed and thought,  Really funny God…have you seen my calendar? 

But then I felt his gentle nudge.  His plan for me was to look forward to all of these changes with Joyful Anticipation.  Not to be robbed of joy by the paths that life would take in 2012; but to joyfully anticipate them and yes CELEBRATE them.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Phillipians 4:4

Each change, while presenting challenges, also presents the possibility for blessing for me and my family.  I felt a weight lift off my shoulders and yes, my eyes filled with tears.  My heavenly Father used an angel to send me a message.  The message: “Celebrate with joyful anticipation”.  There will most likely still be tears, but instead of spending the year in apprehension, I will spend it in Celebration!

(Stay Tuned for Part Two of this update:  Celebrate … Seriously? 3 funerals later, the death of a horse and numerous friends with sick kids, dying family members and some in comas…Celebrate Really?)

Point to Ponder:  Do you have a word?  If you had to pick a word that would sum up your 2011 what would it be? Would you choose a different word for 2012?  What word would you like to live out, or live up to in 2012?

%d bloggers like this: