Thursday, January 1, 2015

Words I wished I had written, but glad I've read

Marcia Moston

I stare at the new journal, pages blanker than a Vermont meadow after a snowfall, on the table next me. Every January 1st morning, this is my dilemma: what word, what wisdom, what prayer, petition or thanksgiving will be the first I commit to these pages.

Oh, that life would be so tough, you say!

I know, it’s a writer thing, and I am thankful that’s the extent of my dilemmas this morning, but here’s why it means so much to me.

I can easily be an info addict, a glutton for useless information, enamored by the sound of an idea, lured into learning about all kinds of things (did you know Japanese first-graders work at solving puzzles 40% longer than American ones?) rather than doing anything.

So before I start listing any intentions and resolutions for this next 584 million miles about the sun,
I want to look back and see what I did with the words and wisdom I thought so important in 2014.

Prayer dominated the pages of my year beginning with words from E. M Bounds: Few Christians have anything but a vague idea of the power of prayer, fewer still have any experience of that power. Prayer is our most formidable weapon…

I want to know and use that power God has given me.

So I take Jeremiah 33:3 to heart: Call upon me and I will show you great and mighty things you know not of and determine to pray with purpose and expectation. My first-of-the-year prayer was to understand and appreciate God’s forgiveness in a deeper way. Several months later, He answered by showering me with the grace to truly forgive someone who grievously hurt me.

I prayed from Isaiah 49:2 to be an arrow in his quiver and shot off prayers for unknown captives in far-off prisons, later discovering I was a part of the prayer cloud that surrounded Meriam Ibrahim long before I even knew of her.

I prayed for healing in family and friends and even for a lost dog who miraculously showed up at home miles away.

 Savoring the reality of the highways to Zion in my heart. (Psalm 84:5), I prayed for opportunity to tell someone else’s story and was invited to write for the Journey Christian newspaper.

My prayers to teach were answered by invitations to Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and OLLIE—the life long center on the Furman campus.

Truly I can say, the Lord heard my prayers and answered them.

And although I laughed at the hissy fit Naaman threw when Elisha didn’t respond to his request the way he expected him to: I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper, I tucked the reminder in my heart for the times he delayed and I felt like having a few conniptions myself.

One of the books that impacted me this past year was Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God, by Mark Batterson. I wrote down some of his keepers I wished I’d thought of.

You can’t simultaneously live by faith and be bored. (This might be a paraphrase)

Coming out of the cage means giving up the very thing in which we find our security and identity outside of Christ.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

When God puts a passion in your heart it becomes your responsibility.

You’ll never finish what you don’t start. And, It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

Lastly, my friend,Cathy Baker got me going with poet Mary Oliver. She starts her poem, “The Hurricane” like this: It didn’t behave/ like anything you had /ever imagined. (Ha!)

And in describing a wren singing in the privet, she says, He was positively drenched in enthusiasm.

Don’t you love it. Words so simple, so right.

I’m thinking sometimes God doesn’t behave like anything we have ever imagined, but let’s determine to be “positively drenched in enthusiasm” as we pursue him this coming year together.

Thanks for looking back with me. Hope you received some encouragement. 

Maybe I can go mark up that new journal now…

Blessings friends, blessings abundant,

Marcia

7 comments:

  1. Rich words, Marcia -- theirs AND yours! I always enjoy your thoughts and look forward to more of them in 2015. Blessings to YOU in the new year.

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    1. Thanks Susan. So good to hear from you. And the looking forward is mutual as I always receive something special from your insights.

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  2. "...positively drenched in enthusiasm." I love that!!

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  3. Marcia:

    Nice intro to this new year for writers and lovers of words. On April 2, my Journal will be 40 years old! You've named my all-time favorite poet, Mary Oliver, in your post. I am privileged to own 14 of her books. She writes with simplicity, deep awareness, and extraordinary perception. The sidebar of my blog contains a permanent quote by her from "Instructions for living a life:" "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." This is the driving force, the motivation behind my writing.

    Blessings to you for 2015.

    ~ Richard

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    1. Richard, always a pleasure to have you stop by. It's no surprise Mary Oliver is your favorite. You see a similar simplicity and beauty through the lens of that camera of yours. Blessings, surprises, and deep joy this coming year.

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  4. How inspiring! As a result, I'll gaze at my blank pages with more intention this year. Mark Batterson's book has remained #1 on my book list for years. Have you read his first book, In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day? It too is a keeper. But of course, I had to smile when I was reminded of Mary's poetic lines. Thank you for sharing yet another beautiful post with us, Marcia. Happy New Year my huggable friend!

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