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Mosaic (Jan 5)



Happy Friday!

It's the first week of the New Year! I pray we continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom in the coming year.


Grace & Peace,

Amber


Content: This Week....

 

Five Things: Ringing in the New Year With A Rule of Life

I've learned that if I don't plan to grow, I'll be less like Jesus than I could be.[1]

Isn't this the reality for all of us?


Yet we're caught in the stormy winds of tending homes and children, serving in our churches and communities and blessing others in a professional capacity through our work. Yes we're crazy busy and desire to grow in being faithfully present, but when we hear the word resolution, we start feeling like we've hugged poison oak.


A single year—52 weeks, appears with a steep incline and distant snowy peak, always seems out of our grasp, even insurmountable.


Especially difficult when I find myself unaware of which day it is. (I may have set up my office downstairs for an online meeting and came up to grab my coffee when my husband asked, Isn't it Wednesday?? Yes, yes it is. We're still on Christmas break over here, clearly).


But I want to grow. I long for the substance of spiritual food, to be participating in the good works God has for me.


So here's what's helped me enter the new year:


1 A shift in perspective.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1).

Rather than resolutions, I propose a method of spiritual planning called a rule of life.[2] This framework helps us begin with the end in mind. It's a guide we prayerfully create, outlining how to spend our time and energy, to prioritize what and who are most important. No matter how much is on our to-do list, our love for God and love for others are the sun to our earthly orbit.


This reflection invites us to consider 5 areas of life—relationship with God, personal life and health, relationships, church, and work—discerning where we want to develop habits or practices to equips us in running the race God has set before us.


2 Breaking commitments into bite sizes

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty(Prov. 21:5).

When my kids have food left on their plate after dinner, a common encouragement is, "only 3 more bites!"


If we think about what and who we want to commit to for the next 90 days, the enormity of the year slackens. By breaking time into blocks, our commitments realistically don't get any smaller, but they become more manageable.


In Canada, all four seasons are quite distinct, so moving through quarters has fit me well.


3 Reviewing is not a test.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).

Recording our commitments is important. It provides a way to keep ourselves accountable and a way to evaluate how things are going.


But, here's where we can get hung up: failure.


Often, we don't want to review because we may face an area we're struggling, as if we're being graded on an exam. Paying attention to the shame we feel is worth noticing, but not dwelling on, because "there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us." [3]


4 Holding our plans loosely

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Prov. 16:9).

Once we've spent time in reflection and prayerfully planned...things can change. We've all encountered seasons when, even after lengthy time on our knees, the blueprint takes another shape—one we likely didn't intend.


The Lord is sovereign, and though we endeavour to seek him in our coming and going, divine interruptions present at our back door (because we surely didn't invite them through the front), redirecting our energy and efforts. We're faced with readjusting; shifting our focus to the immediate.


There is grace in these moments even as we pare our plans, and lean in with faith.


5 Journaling a year-in-review

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old (Ps. 77:11).

To travel ahead, it's helpful to look back at where we've been. God has worked in the days past which gives us confidence for the days ahead. A year-in-review illuminates the hand of God, our weaknesses and his strength, our frailty and his strength.


May our efforts toward faithfulness bring God glory in the new year.


 

On the Blog

This week I wrote a reflection on the benefits of journaling a year-in-review, complete with prompts so you can explore the last year on your own.


You'll also find 3 ways you'll be inspired by the life of Everett Swanson, the founder of Compassion International. This was a story I didn't know I needed! I reflect on 3 ways his story is inspiring.


On My Shelf

I finished Counterfeit Kingdom (VT reading challenge 1 - on a current issue). This was on a few favourites lists this year as well. It addresses the teachings of a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, as evidenced most prominently through the Bethel Church in California. There was a lot of helpful content, it's clear through their research and biblical focus how the practices stray from historic Christianity. The tone isn't gentle, so it wouldn't be one you'd recommend to someone influenced by these teachings, it's best for your own learning.


I started Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. After really enjoying The Wager last year, this one popped up as something I'd enjoy. Seems exploration and adventure are increasing favourites of mine.


I also started This Homeward Ache by Amy Baik Lee, it was one someone's favourite list from 2023, so I was able to grab it on Netgalley. Her words are drawing me to dissect my own feelings of longing. It's really well written.


A Free Opportunity

When you considered your goals for the year, was writing on your list of areas to grow? Or, have you always wanted to write, but aren't sure how to start or who can help?


The Writers Bloc is offering a FREE one month membership! (offer ends Jan 7). In our community you'll find weekly teaching, a community of writers who help encourage you along. So, come visit us!



In Articles

A girl can dream right?


This article wavers from my usual share, but the story reminds me of the blessed faithfulness of Christian educators.


Jana shares one question with us for when we feel overwhelmed and clueless.


This is a really encouraging, humbling prayer.


"One kind of writing holds a special place in my heart. It stands out because it doesn’t involve my words but the words of God. It’s the writing of Scripture. I love to transcribe the Bible." I write a few verses in my journal, but never thought about doing more, this is a neat practice for getting more in the Word.


I enjoyed these thoughts hearkening back to an old favourite, Lord of the Rings. We ought not to be too hasty.


In Snapshots


(a beautiful sunny day walking across the frozen lake)


(Winter holidays at the lake wouldn't be complete without sledding!)



(so apparently this was an easier way to get breakfast to the table; the brother as a food tray. And I promise those PJs were washed in between all the events)


LISTEN: The Cabin at Night

We were listening from the safety of our cabin, while our neighbor went to explore a little


Previously On The Mosaic

4 Years Ago


3 Years Ago


2 Years Ago


1 Year Ago


 

[1] Jacob Crouch, Plan to Grow

[2] Sacred Rhythms has been a useful tool for me. I'd also suggest the Rule of Life workshops by Jen Pollock Michel.

[3] Richard Sibbes, A Bruised Reed


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