Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A year of jubilee continues on

I am often asked, “Theresa, what is it that makes you keep going when you want to give up”?  Depending on the situation and my mood, the answer may vary because there are many things that keep me motivated. The most important, however, really has little to do with me personally, but rather, is fueled by a desire deep within me….a call if you will…to help others.  It may sound trite, but honestly, that is what energizes me and keeps me going when I am weary.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week because it today is my 51st birthday and I’ve been a bit melancholy for several days in anticipation of this day.  I’m certainly not depressed about getting older; in fact, it’s just the opposite. I rejoice that I AM ALIVE to celebrate another birthday after so many years wondering how long it would be before someone found me dead.

As I’ve been reflecting on this day, it finally dawned on me that my ‘’out-of-sortness” (how’s that for making up my own words??) had nothing to do with age, but rather the ending of my YEAR OF JUBILEE. For those of you that are not familiar with the concept, biblically, the 50th year is called a year of jubilee…a year of great favor from God; a year when prisoners were set free; debts cancelled; a year of great blessings.  Last year I was SO EXCITED to turn 50…and although there have been many wonderful days in my life, I think my 50th birthday is on the top of the list. It was just an incredible day….and the beginning of a wonderful year; certainly one of GREAT FAVOR from the Lord!

This morning I have been reflecting on this past year…and I actually had tears of gratitude in my eyes as I sat in the darkness…because I have been so blessed. In the past year so many incredible things happened….things that I would never ever dreamed possible.  New experiences like riding a Harley, standing on the top of a dune with a dear friend, fly-fishing, getting my first smart phone AND high speed internet, appearing in magazines, radio, TV, sharing my story with literally hundreds of people all over the world, meeting new people and making new friends. The list could go on and on.  By far, it has been the best year of my life….thus far.  There have been ups and downs; I’ve grieved the sudden deaths of friends and loved ones; experienced triumphs and tragedies; had good days and bad; shed tears and laughed….you get it……and YET, through it all, I experienced a year of God’s Favor in a way that I’ve never known; nor could have ever imagined! It’s no wonder I’ve been a bit blue thinking about the ending of this year.  But… I prayed and reflected, I asked myself, “Does it really have to end?”  Hmmm…… I don’t think so!   

When my 50th birthday arrived, I had the expectation that this was my YEAR OF JUBILEE…my year of blessings and favor.  Expectation…hmmm…  Because God said it, I believed it…and expected it…and looked for it….and expressed gratitude for it….and connected EVERYTHING…..good and bad…that happened to me this past year to my year of favor. My mindset was completely different this whole year and even though I am moody and emotional and struggle just like the rest of the world, it always came back to the mindset that “This is my year of favor”….that everything that happens, every person I speak to, every opportunity that comes my way……is part of God’s plan for me, even if I don’t fully understand what that plan might be. I just knew…and know….that all the pieces will come together in due time.  Why?  Because it was my Year of Jubilee, of course….and because I sincerely believe that the whole purpose that God blessed me with this miracle…this new life…. is reflected in the following scripture from Isaiah 61. 
The Year of the Lord's Favor
1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 2To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.…
How else can I explain how/why this story keeps circulating the globe…over and over….and has now appeared on multiple continents and has been translated into languages I’ve never even heard?  I can’t explain it…. I simply have to be grateful….and willing….and open….and trust. It’s the same expectation and belief I had when I started this journey a few years ago. I believed…that I could do it with God’s help….and when I wanted to quit, I drew strength from this belief. You, too, must believe that your miracle will happen.

I’ve decided today that I don’t want my YEAR of JUBILEE to end….and so today, on my birthday, I am declaring ANOTHER year of God’s Favor.  In fact….how about a DECADE or a lifetime???  I am going to greet each day with the same expectation that I did each day of my 50th year….with the mind-set that I am blessed with God’s favor…and that He has equipped me with all I need to do all I need to do….and that He is in control of my life….my eating, my body, my thoughts, but I must surrender them to Him each day.  Today…and tomorrow….and next week….I am going to continually look for and expect the blessings that have been promised to us. It’s a mind-set….that is the key….to our journey.  

So, my friends….as my birthday gift, I am asking God for a year of favor for ALL OF US….. a year of great joy; a year of victory and strength; a year when we will be set free from all that holds us back; a year when we will be renewed and refreshed, and mostly, a year when we will BELIEVE, like me, THAT WE CAN…and WE WILL….CHANGE OUR LIFE!!!!!    Tell yourself this each day….in much the same way as I will tell myself….and express gratitude….. that I AM ABUNDANTLY BLESSED with God’s favor, not just for a year, but for a lifetime!