Friday marked my 33rd birthday. I know we celebrate a new year on January 1, but I’ve been thinking about how my birthday is the beginning of a new year for me. Seen in that light, I was thinking today about what the Lord has in store for my 34th year. Well, I wasn’t thinking about anything specific because God hasn’t shared with me any details about the coming year; I was just wondering. I know people who choose a verse or a theme for each year. I think that’s kind of neat, so I thought about the past year in an attempt to discern a theme. I didn’t really see one. I am happy to announce that I will continue my trend of setting the bar low — I will not determine the theme for this year, either.
If, however, I had to choose a verse this moment, it would be John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The less I show, the better we’ll all be. I proved that again today.
Rudely awakened by my husband with a very loud Stevie Ray Vaughn guitar solo, bright light, and, “You gotta get up now if we’re going to be there by 8,” my day did not start well. Karl didn’t seem to care that I’d had the same headache for three days. “Awww, what do you mean, ‘Turn it down’? It’s Stevie Ray!” Then singing loudly, “I got a real…real bad feeling….that my baby she don’t love me no mo…”
Mm hm, probably because you woke her with your screaming guitar, I thought. I rolled out of bed toward the bathroom with a groggy, “I wish you knew how to make coffee,” and started my shower.
That was just the beginning of a long and ugly morning in which everything Karl and I said to one another was interpreted through the worst possible filter. Apologies, grace, getting out of the house, and 4 tall cups of coffee made for a better afternoon and evening, but I don’t enjoy those reminders that evil lies close at hand, that in my flesh no good thing dwells.
And so I’ll pray for this year that I will display more of Christ and less of Leslie. It’ll be a stretching, reaching kind of year, that’s for sure. This will be my prayer this coming week:
Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from thee, but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth thy praise, testify thy love, advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me, thy comforts to cheer, thy wisdom to teach, thy right hand to guide, thy counsel to instruct, thy law to judge, thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe, thy triumphs my joy. Amen.
–from The Valley of Vision