January 31, 2008

Progress Report, Day 5

My week at home is winding down. Returning to work may be a welcome break!

Today I finished our master closet and re-purposed the 1/2 bath closet so that it now houses my cleaning supplies.

This week's combined tally (drumroll, please...)

Boxes to Consignment: NINE! Sadly, I haven't touched CJ's area or the attic. But let me tell you how GREAT it felt to drop those boxes on someone else's doorstep. Still, the icing on the cake was taking a truckload of trash to the dumpster tonight.

Most Difficult to Part With: Still can't think of anything that I'm sad to see gone. I'm much to happy with the things I "found"...Grandma's baskets, a couple of silk scarves that R's aunt brought me from China (which I've now displayed under glass), and a pair of pewter candlesticks we received as a wedding gift.

Rewards: Enjoying the important things we have, rather than focusing on the "stuff" that was crowding everything. Knowing where things are. Realizing I can let go of things without too much effort.

Although I'm only about half-way done, I've gotten such a wonderful start that I'm determined to keep it going...starting next week. Tomorrow is cleaning day (de-cluttering is messy!), and then I'll enjoy the weekend with CJ and welcome R home. I hope he can see and feel the difference in our home. The vision of peace is becoming more of a reality every day.

January 30, 2008

Progress Reports, Days 3 & 4

I've officially come to the realization that I'm not going to accomplish everything I'd hoped to this week. And I'm okay with that, because I've actually gotten a LOT done. Yesterday was "errand day"...which meant I really didn't get much done as far as decluttering. I culled the bookshelves, but not as much as I'd like. Instead, I spent a couple of hours lost in a good book. This is my vacation time, after all!

CJ went back to school today, and I was home alone - gloriously alone - for 8 hours. I dove into our bedroom closet and R's armoire. When I just couldn't sort through clothes anymore, I started on our bathroom. I called it quits with both rooms 1/2 way done. I'll finish tomorrow, before taking care of more errands.

Boxes to Consignment: 3, including a LOT clothes we no longer wear, a couple of throw rugs, and too many knick-knacks. Another large box of trash.

Most Difficult to Part With: Once again, nothing. I'm taking the clothes to a ministry store, so I have no qualms about getting rid of them.

Reward: Labeled bins & shelves in R's armoire (he's going to flip), no more expired medications or partial bottles of shampoo, a walk-in closet I can walk into, and a bedroom floor that's free of piles.
I have to confess that I ventured into the attic today to bring down some things. I have several baskets that my grandmother made. When we moved into our current home, I put them away because I couldn't find room for them. This journey has made me realize that I want to surround myself with only those things that I love and that make me smile. Getting rid of knick-knacks that mean nothing has given me ample room to display items such as Grandma's baskets, a quilt made by my other grandmother, and a bowl that we bought from a pottery studio in Annapolis.

I'm creating a home that lifts my spirits instead of crushing them, and that makes me smile instead of scowl. As I look around, I see more than china, baskets and quilts...I see the story of our family. I can't tell you how good it feels.

January 28, 2008

Progress Report, Day 2

Today we finished the dining room/foyer & tackled the kitchen. CJ was out of school, and was a big help (at times). I've realized I've bitten off quite the mother lode!

At the end of the day...

Boxes to Consignment: 2 (for a total of 5 so far, which will all be delivered tomorrow!). Another set of glasses (which I was using instead of the ones in my china cabinet that I really love) and coffee mugs are among the "treasures". (*We won't even discuss the ginormous box of trash...)

Most Difficult to Part With: How many plastic cups and ugly salt/pepper shaker sets does one need?! No heartache there. I did have a few second thoughts about some old cookbooks, but got rid of several I can't recall ever using.

Reward: Labeled cabinet shelves so every dish, mug & appliance has a fixed home. No more T*pperware containers without lids. A pantry I can open in front of guests without shame.
My back is aching and my feet are sore, but I'm SO GLAD I'm doing this!

Progress Report, Day 1

Project: Dining Room

I tackled this room first because it's open to the foyer, and makes the first impression of my home. It's not a "formal" dining room, but where we eat (or try to) each night. I would like to start using my china every Sunday, but it hasn't been that accessible. My china cabinet overfloweth! After taking everything out of it and off the top...

Boxes to Consignment: 3 (including 1 set of glasses, 3 glass bowls, 2 glass candy dishes (one still in its box!), and 1 set of place mats)

Most Difficult to Part With: Nothing. I admit I felt a little guilty at first, but I reminded myself that I wasn't purging any family heirlooms...only items I'd picked up at department stores. The glasses were a wedding gift, but I can honestly say we've never used them (in nearly 15 years).

Reward: A china cabinet that looks like a piece of art. I can see and appreciate each piece much more, because I kept only pieces that I love and that have sentimental value.

I'm hoping I'll be more inclined to actually USE the items I have stored now. One of my fondest childhood memories is drinking hot chocolate from my mother's china cups. I felt so grown and special. Now CJ can carry on that tradition.

I can't wait for R to get home so we can have our first meal in our peaceful, simple dining room!

January 24, 2008

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Wow, has it been a whole week since I've posted anything?! I've had lots of good thoughts and intentions, but no time. Getting R ready for his trip, helping CJ study for countless tests this week, and trying to get ready to leave the office for a week...I'm tired just thinking about it!

R leaves for Mississippi early tomorrow. CJ's been a bundle of emotions and tears. She's such a Daddy's Girl! Tonight she prayed that people would come to know Jesus because of this trip. I nearly started crying myself. We're so very proud of him, and his willingness to serve the Lord.

I've planned several fun things, even though I'm going to be so busy. I hope I can keep CJ from being absolutely miserable. If you think about it, please shoot up a prayer for us. My man is leading a crew that will be framing a house. Pray that the job will run smoothly, and that no one will be hurt. It's an 18-hour drive each way, so please pray for traveling mercies as well. Lastly, pray that CJ & I will be brave during his absence. You see, he spoils us terribly and we love having him around. He gives CJ a back scratch every night, and I have a feeling I'll be a poor substitute. He gets her to swim practice and dance lessons, which is why I'm taking vacation. I know I can't work full-time and manage my home without him.

I'll try to post in-between my projects next week. I was hoping for before and after pictures, but R took the camera with him. Hopefully, I'll have some more interesting pictures to post!

Thanks for listening, my bloggy friends!

January 18, 2008

Searching No More

I originally posted my testimony in 2006. Since I have several new readers, I'm re-posting so you can get to know me better.

I have never met my biological father. He left when I was an infant, and never returned to our lives. The only picture I've seen of him is in one of my mom's high school yearbooks. He could literally walk up to me today, and I wouldn't know it was him.

Mom remarried when I was 3, and her husband has been my dad since that time. I don't remember life before him. He adopted me and raised me as his own. I love and respect him with all of my heart. He's been a good father. But I was haunted by guilt. I was ashamed that my biological father didn't love me enough to have a relationship with me. I felt there must be something horribly wrong with me. Ever since I can remember, I've knocked myself out to please people. I kept thinking that if I could just somehow be good enough, my biological father would come back and love me.

I worked hard to be the star student. The golden child. The parent-pleaser. Respectful and responsible. As perfect as I could possibly be. Yet it still wasn't good enough.

Fast forward to high school. Striving for perfection left me empty inside. Although I knew my parents loved me, I was afraid their love was conditioned upon my performance. (Pressure I, not they, put on me.) I thought I had to make all the right choices, be the right girl. On the outside, I was confident to the point of being arrogant.

On the inside, the cry of my heart was "Won't someone please love me?"

That gigantic need drove me to many desperate places. To many inappropriate relationships. To horrible, disastrous choices. Despite the scholarships and accolades...despite the best performances I could give...I was constantly looking for someone to love me. When I was 19, I lost my grandfather & my best friend within 3 months of each other. I was devastated. I had a deep, cavernous void in my life, and I could only think to fill it with other relationships. In trying to use others to fill the vacuum, I found that I was the one being consumed. I was still empty, and I felt like I was vanishing before my very eyes.

I didn't grow up in a Christian home. Although my parents were both raised in church, they both turned away from all things Christian before I was born. I remember going through a period of attending church sporadically, but it didn't last long. I attended church only when I visited my grandparents. I went to Vacation Bible School a couple of times with my cousins. Yet I gave little, if any, thought to Jesus.

I began to curse God. If there was a God (which I wasn't so sure of), I certainly didn't want any part of Him. I shudder to think about the things I said about Him. It's a wonder He didn't strike me dead on the spot.

Then I met my husband, R. I later found out He was a Christian, though he had strayed. I've already shared the story of our courtship. We needed a church to get married in, so we started attending one. For the first time in my adult life, I admitted there was a loving God. I thought that was salvation. After we married, we moved to another church. I discovered that there was more to salvation than believing in God. I thought I made that step, and would be assured of my Heavenly home.

Four years later, during a Beth Moore Bible study, I read the story of David and Jonathan. I was in tears as I read how Jonathan, the prince, took off his beautiful robes and exchanged them with David, the shepherd boy. The prince took on the filthy, smelly, disgusting clothes of the shepherd boy. It hit me...Jesus did that for me. He took all that smut and ick in my life, and He put it on to give me a pure robe! Sitting on my bed, I genuinely gave my heart to Christ that night. And all the guilt and shame, the bad choices, the emptiness...they were all gone! I didn't have to beg anyone to love me anymore. Jesus filled that hole with Himself...and the earthly relationships provide the overflow.

Every now & again, Satan tries to remind me that I'm not worthy of God. This, I already know! Every time I enter a church, I'm amazed that the building doesn't fall down around me! But I take comfort in these verses penned by Paul...for I could have written them myself.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
~1 Tim. 1:12 - 17 (NIV)

January 16, 2008

Commitment to a Simple Life, #2

God recently brought me to the realization/conviction that enough is enough. I'm tired of having so much stuff controlling my life. Taking my cue from Joanne, I've decided to surround myself with only those things I absolutely love. Since I took down the Christmas decorations, I haven't put my everyday items back in place. I'm carefully considering what's valuable enough to take up space in my home.

R is soon leaving on his mission trip. He's going to come back to a new home. I've taken that week off so that I can go through every cabinet, bookshelf and closet to clear out the clutter. If I don't absolutely love it, it's going to the consignment shop!

I honestly cannot wait. I'm ready to be free.

January 14, 2008

Savoring the Weekend

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
~Psalm 40:5

It's been quite a while since I posted in this category...so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

What a delicious weekend it was! I found myself with almost an entire Saturday to myself! I piddled with cleaning, went out to do a show for my part-time job, got Chinese take-out, and devoured this book. I adore a good read.

Yesterday morning, I made sure I had time to watch this anointed preacher. Boy, can he ever "get his Jesus on"! We went to Sunday School, then I took CJ & a friend of hers to see this game. We had a fantastic time, EXCEPT the drive home was a little treacherous because I was faced with the three things I hate most about driving: traffic, nighttime, and rain. I literally prayed my way through it, and was so grateful that God kept a hedge of protection around our vehicle.

After I got CJ to bed, I had time to watch this before R got home. (He says I assumed he wouldn't watch...but I know I was right).

All in all, it was close to a perfect weekend. But God didn't stop there. He gave me an on-time Word this morning (Psalm 40, 1 Thess. 5, and Romans 12:12). Oh, how I needed to hear it!

R is soon departing for a mission trip to Gulfport, and I've been more than a little concerned about the financial aspect of it. The cost of the trip, and making sure R's tools are in good working order, the unpaid vacation, and a few unexpected bills have made me a little nervous. God reminded me this morning to be patient with Him. As I fell on my knees in praise, I was overcome by how good He is. I knew I could praise Him no matter what my circumstances look like, and that's exactly what I did. Can I just tell you that by lunchtime, He delivered...and I was absolutely the most blown away I have ever been by Him.

I'm not preaching a Name It, Claim It theology. To be honest, He and I didn't discuss the trip this morning. I have never specifically asked Him to provide the resources. I knew, without a doubt, that He called R to go and I figured that if He called, He would walk us through it. That's where I was wrong. I was seeking guidance, not deliverance.

You see, I was expecting Him to guide us through. I've been thinking hard to see just how we could make it work, and I was asking Him to help me find the answer. But I realize that if He had done this any other way, I might have been tempted to think I'd been smart enough to figure it out on my own. Self-confidence is folly that I'm quite prone to indulge in. I'm glad He gave me no choice but to bless His Name on this one!

God is so good...

January 11, 2008

Me...a Meme?

It's been so long since I've done a meme, but when Alana tagged me, I couldn't refuse. After all, it IS about books...one of the loves of my life!


~Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz...a study of John. This woman can teach the Word! She's honest, thought-provoking, and obviously desperately in love with Jesus.

~A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. If you haven't read it, find it.

~Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney. Now I'm a member of the 5:30 a.m. club...definitely the most life-changing thing I've done in a VERY long time!

~The Bible. Perhaps this sounds trite, but it really is true. When I really met Jesus in my 20's and started reading His Word...I get chills just thinking about it.


~Pride and Prejudice. My favorite novel. Ever.


~The Bible. I'm afraid I wouldn't remember enough Scripture otherwise.

~Pride and Prejudice


~Green Eggs and Ham

~If You Can't Lose it, Decorate It by Anita Renfroe


~Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

~Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

~Let's Roll by Lisa Beamer


~How to Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too


If I can't say anything nice...


~The Book of John

~Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas

~The Choice by Nicolas Sparks

~Simplify Your Space by Marcia Ramsland


~The Mother Daughter Connection by Susie Shellenberger

~Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver

~High Calling by Evelyn Husband

~A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

Who to tag, who to tag? Well, Lisa @ Lisa Writes because she's an avid reader. So is one of my first bloggy friends, Bev...so I'll tag her, too. And finally, Chris at Come to the Table. Anyone else who wants to participate...leave me a comment so I can check out your list.

January 10, 2008

The Truth Laid Bare

Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us.
~A. W. Tozer

Kinda' hits you where it hurts, doesn't it?

January 8, 2008

Peace in His Miraculous Power

I didn't intend for every post to start with "Peace in...". I'm learning there's peace to be found in places I'd never looked before. My definition of peace is evolving as I breathe in the Gospel of John. I'm finding peace in my other reading as well.

(Aside: I just finished reading Tony Dungy's book, "Quiet Strength". There's a link in my sidebar in the "Breathing In" box. Believe me, this book is outstanding! Even if you don't like football...which I personally can't imagine...you'll appreciate Coach Dungy's account of his spiritual journey and how he has used the NFL as a platform to glorify God. His website is here.)

Driving CJ to school this morning, I shared my quiet time experience with her. Today's reading was the miracle at the wedding.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
~John 2:1-11

"You've never read that story before?!" she asked.

The truth is, I've read this story many times, but not quite like today. I'm so thankful God's Word meets us where we are and penetrates our hearts with freshness each time we read it!

I've always focused on the act of the miracle, not the object. Jesus tells the servants to fill the jars with water. At best, clean water is plain and has no taste. Nothing spectacular. Yet Jesus takes the very ordinary and turns it into something extraordinary. The water didn't have to do anything. Jesus applied his power to the available resource, and transformed it into something rich and sweet. He has the ability to transform my unremarkable existence into a remarkable life. I just need to be there.

Let's look for a moment at the recipient of this miracle...the bridegroom. What did he think when the master of the banquet came to him, with compliments for saving the best wine til the last? He knew he hadn't done so. Did he realize a miracle had occurred? While the guests were enjoying those last six jars of wine, did he wonder what exactly had taken place? He received praise for something Jesus had done on his behalf.

Sound familiar?

Jesus could have make a big fuss over His first miracle, but He quietly solved the problem. He didn't bring glory to Himself, but to the bridegroom. I enjoy seeing God show Himself in big, undeniable ways in my life. But the sweetest, most intimate moments are those when only He & I know what He's done.

May you find peace in knowing that He still performs miracles. Whatever your circumstance...whatever my circumstance...He can transform it to bring glory to Him. We need only be available, and let Him take care of the rest.

Peace to you, my sweet sisters.

January 7, 2008

Peace in Finding My Calling

Four years ago, God was up to something big in my life. It was a season marked by indescribable growth and intimacy. I felt He was leading me to do big things for Him, and I was excited about the possibilities. I've chronicled the ups and downs of that journey at length in this post.

I thought I was over those old insecurities about having to prove my worth to God, but obviously not. I've tried to force a ministry path that has only left me frustrated and doubting my own significance.

Today my friend Lisa really put my feelings into words
I waited, believing God to close doors and open windows. I waited and believed, though my phone didn't ring and the letters didn't come. What went wrong?
Did I actually hear Him, or is it my own heart I've been following? I thought He wanted me to do big things, and yet nothing's happened. I've begun to doubt my calling.

In my study time this morning, I discovered something I'd not noticed before.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
~John 1:35-37, 40-42

We really don't read much about Andrew in the Bible. He's not as well-known as his boisterous brother, Peter. Peter was a man who ultimately did big things for God. We will probably never be able to count the number of lives affected by Peter's ministry. In the Book of Acts alone, thousands upon thousands of souls come to Jesus through Peter's preaching.

Yet it is Andrew who left John the Baptist to follow Jesus. Peter wasn't even on the scene at that time. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Not a big act. Just one person. Andrew took the time to seek his brother and bring him to Christ...and the world will never be the same.

There are no small callings in God's Kingdom. The Lord of the Harvest can use the investments I make in my little area of the world to bring a bounty unto Himself. To diminish my calling, whatever it may be, demonstrates my own lack of faith. Ouch!

I'm still struggling to find His calling for my life. Perhaps I'll find peace as I seek the One who calls. May it be also for you.

January 6, 2008

Peace in Knowing My Place

As a pre-teen in the 1970’s, I spent hours in front of my dresser mirror, hairbrush in hand, belting out the classics.

If I can’t have you, I don’t want nobody baby. If I can’t have you, oh-oh-oh-OH.

Hopelessly devoted to you-oo-oo-ooh; hopelessly devoted to you.

Pretending to be Yvonne Elliman and Olivia Newton John, I’d crank up the turntable, grab my Goody “microphone”, and momentarily forget whatever “tragedy” had rocked my small world that day.

Yep, I enjoyed being someone else. I still do.

To read the rest, join me at Faithlifts.

January 5, 2008

Commitment to a Simple Life, #1

For many years, I've confused simple with easy. I'm probably not the only one to make that mistake.

Webster's defines simple as "free from elaboration". The definition for easy is "causing or involving little difficulty or discomfort; requiring or indicating little effort, thought, or reflection".

Simple does not mean easy. As I pursue simplicity this year, I'm finding it very difficult. I'm going to have to get rid of some things that I really want to hang on to. But I'm committing to giving them up. And, as the song goes, the first cut is the deepest.

I adore books. I have shelves full of books that are waiting to be read. I'm constantly discovering more that I want to read. My hobby has caused a great dent in my wallet, and piles of books that I may never even get to.

So (deep breath), I'm going on a book fast. I will not purchase a single book (other than Bible study materials) in 2008. I am allowing myself to use gift cards that people give me, but I will not spend actual money. I will use the library. Once I read a book I actually own, I will donate it to our church library (unless it's one I absolutely cannot part with).

Not an easy commitment, but one that will make my life more peaceful and simple.

January 3, 2008

Must-See TV

We visited friends this past weekend, and went to this church. The Holy Spirit rained down, just as He has every other time we've visited. I've been just a wee bit envious that I can't be part of this church family (the 3+ hour commute would be just horrible!)

But this weekend, the pastor announced that Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will begin broadcasting the church's services, twice every Sunday! HA-LE-LU-YAH!

Check TBN for times. Trust me...you'll be blessed!

January 2, 2008

Peace in Trusting Him

If I ever needed confirmation from the Lord that I'm to pursue peace & simplicity, I've gotten it - in spades!

~On Monday, a friend and I went to this cute country store in her town and I found a sign that says "Peace". It was with the Christmas decorations (50% off!), and I just had to scoop it up. I'll be displaying it prominently in our family room.

~This morning, I felt Him nudging me toward the book of John for our next study (didn't finish Proverbs, but it was time for a change). The book introductions in my Bible have a "what to look for" section. For John, the author wrote "profound simplicity".

~I started reading Simplify Your Time: Create Order and Reduce Stress by Marcia Ramsland. She correlates a simple and organized space with tranquility (thus, peace). She even uses a CALM approach (C = Create a Plan; A = Approach by sections; L = Lighten up & let go; and M = Manage it simply). I feel great about my plans for our home.

~My blogging friend, Rachel Anne, has started a year of Sanctuary in the Small Things. It's not too late to join. I highly recommend subscribing to her blog feed. You'll be glad you did!

As you can see, I'm surrounded by messages of peace and simplicity. I'm all tingly just thinking about what God's going to do! I'm looking at a very long project list for this month (see my sidebar), but I'm trusting Him. He will speak peace to His people, and He sweetly reminded me today that this promise applies to me because I am His daughter.

But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.
~John 1:12 (AMP)

Can you believe that the Almighty God grants us the unspeakable privilege of being His children?! When we receive Him and welcome Him into our lives, He gives us that right. Even better, we have all the privileges that come along with being a child of a king (except He's THE KING). We are royalty. We have authority in His Name.

I've found myself in the midst of some pretty intimidating circumstances lately. When I reached the point of absolutely not being able to handle it on my own, I heard Him ask, "Melissa, do you trust Me?"

Well, I want to, Lord. But I can't see my way out of this mess.

"Then can you trust Me for just one more day?"

Just one day? I can do that. In fact, it's pretty easy!

I've been trusting Him for just one more day for several weeks now and what do you know...He's been faithful! Today, right now, this moment, I'm trusting Him to speak peace over my life. I'm relying on His Name and His power. Realizing that I can't do this on my own, but knowing that my Abba Father has given me authority over my circumstances.

Dear friends, I can't even begin to tell you how much peace that thought alone brings.

The journey continues...

January 1, 2008

And So It Begins...

The Year of Peace and Simplicity is here.

I've made only one promise to myself...move slowly and deliberately. S*tan knows that I am easily discouraged when I fail to live up to high (and often unrealistic) expectations I set for myself. I'm planning to disarm him from the start. I'm prayed up and ready to move forward!

Last week I was searching the Scriptures for verses on peace. The first one I found was so fitting, I didn't look any further (for now).

I will listen [with expectancy] to what God the Lord will say, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints (those who are in right standing with Him)--but let them not turn again to [self-confident] folly.
~Psalm 85:8 (AMP)

This is my verse for the year. I'm waiting, with great anticipation, for my Jesus to speak peace over me. He will do it. But first I must be in right-standing with Him. I've spent the last week seeking His forgiveness and cleansing. And I'm already praying that once He speaks peace over me, I won't return to the folly of relying on myself. It's gotten me nowhere.

As I open my new calendar, it's time to close the book on the old and say good-bye to self-reliance, self-indulgence, self-importance, and self-righteousness. Yet I don't want to forget them. In one of my favorite movies, Sally suggests that the song "Auld Lang Syne" means we should remember that we forgot our old acquaintances. If I'm going to truly put these sins behind me, I've got to remember that I actively forgot them and that I don't want to pick them back up again.

And so it begins...