Standing in the kitchen after our dinner party had ended, I picked up the beautiful China plate that was my husband’s grandmother’s. We purchased it at her estate auction. I admired the sweet pink roses that patterned the milk white glass as I washed and dried the fragile family heirloom. As I was placing the plate into the cupboard for safekeeping until the next dinner, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. I stood there – frozen – looking at the broken remains of what was once one of the most beautiful treasures. I was upset, and angry at myself. How could I be so careless?
I picked up the pieces and stored them in a box until maybe one day I could fix this plate in some way. My sad attempt, I guess, to make myself feel better.
One day finally came. I sat out back of the house on the picnic table. The sun was shining and the birds were chirping and I felt good about restoring this plate… into something, even if it wasn’t a plate any longer. I just couldn’t let this heirloom be trashed. I just couldn’t.
Instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore, in their land they shall possess a double portion: they shall have everlasting joy.
Isaiah 61:7 ESV
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see what God sees?
I know what I see and I don’t like it. This is what shame says to me…. “You’re an old gray haired overweight woman. I know what you did in your past. You are so ugly. You are not good for anything. You’re worthless and good for nothing, Who do you think you are to lead women? You are stupid.”
My shame list could go on and on!
So, where does those thoughts come from? The father of lies – Satan.
See, he does not want us to influence anyone for Christ – not your family, friends, people in line with you at Walmart! Satan would like nothing more than to render us useless for God. He takes great joy in seeing us wallow in our shame and self-pity – totally unproductive – to keep us isolated from others and God.
They are running together; like a flock of birds. Their manes are blowing. I can see the muscles in their calves move with amazing strength, and the thunder beneath their hooves can be heard a mile away. How majestic they seem!
Until… One of them seems even more spectacular and comes to a sudden stop.
I look in amazement at the beauty set in front of me. She looks like a horse; yet she’s different.
She has a glow about her and has a horn pointing up to the glory of the Lord. She is a unicorn!
I was excited to see Queen Esther at Sight and Sound! I love the smell of the roasted almonds, seeing the rows of seats, hearing the music and seeing the stage ready for the curtains to be drawn.
Hadassah was a young Jewish girl who absolutely loved the Lord. She studied God’s word with her uncle Mordecai after both her parents died. She was beautiful, full of life, and had so much joy because she knew the Lord. Then, one day she was stolen away by the Palestinians where it would be horrific if she let them know she was a Jew. So, instead she became Esther who would eventually outshine all of the other maidens simply by being who she was. She shined differently because of the Lord our God.
I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which isChrist himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So, you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:2-4,6-10
Have you ever been deceived by a false teaching? Maybe led down a path that seemed good, that appeared to be biblical? I know I have! Early in my walk with Christ, my husband and I were introduced to a teacher who spoke of healings. Christian friends whom we have much respect for and who were leaders in our church, introduced us to this teacher. We were soaking in this teaching when our first son was born. We noticed some developmental delays that soon led us to an autism diagnosis. You can imagine the emotional rollercoaster we were on, especially since the teaching we were soaking in was telling us that he was not being “healed” because we lacked faith. We just were not doing it right. We lacked faith. WE were not enough.
Girl… Life. Is. Hard. Life is messy. Life sometimes takes turns and twists and sucks the joy right out of us. How rude!
Life plainly gives us the most sour of lemons at times. Life can chew us up and spit us out and leave us feeling like we are in a million pieces with no instructions on how to pick ourselves up and put ourselves back together again. (Humpty Dumpty has no idea how good he had it to have all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to help him!)
There we are… BROKEN!
Wait a minute…
Girl, you know I am not gonna just leave us sittin’ there all broken. Nope! That ain’t my style!
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19
I understand 2020 has stretched us – but if we’re honest, hasn’t every year?
I’m not taking away from the toll that this year has taken on many. Each year brings about unchartered waters & a continued opportunity to put our trust in the Only One who can truly sustain us.
In 2020, I’ve seen miracles happen literally right before our eyes. A man who doctors said had 3 months left to live is still here, over a year later – and his cancer is SHRINKING. A baby with heart failure is alive with HIS OWN HEART beating in his chest. I’ve seen beautiful couples begin their new life as one. I’ve seen the gift of new life with precious babies born this year.
We have the choice of a clean slate every moment of every day. Not just because we’re starting out a new year. But because of our God’s faithfulness. He exchanges old for new. The Lord’s grace is sufficient every day. Every hour. Every minute. I know many people love the idea of a “new you, new year” – and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But what if we viewed every day with the same drive and desire that we have at the crest of a new year?
I’m not taking away from the trials and difficulties of 2020. But I believe if we look just beyond that – beyond what we’ve endured – there is so much on the other side. The resiliency, the determination, the creativity, the compassion that have risen up in so many this year in a new way.
We can look at 2020 and see all the “bad” that it’s brought us. We can make statements when an inconvenience happens to us, stating, “It’s 2020, of course this would happen.” But dear friends, we are NOT victims.
Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” It doesn’t say we’ll just barely get by. The verse says we are MORE than conquerors through Him.
What if we looked at 2020 with the lens of 1 Chronicles 16:12, which says, “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.”
I don’t know about you, but there are some things that 2020 have taught me that I don’t want to forget.
I realized I was living 100mph, and had stopped finding joy in certain things because I was too busy. Along with 100mph living, I neglected time to allow my body to rest and recover, even in the midst of ongoing health issues. I would take out my frustrations on my husband, while simultaneously trying to “people please” because I was too prideful to admit that I was overwhelmed and needed help. I have learned SO much about my body and what it looks like to treat it as a temple of the Holy Spirit. I’ve grown deeper roots in areas that I didn’t even know were shallow.
One of my favorite songs in this season is called “The Story I’ll Tell” by Naomi Raine. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. What an anthem of truths of who our God is and how He carries us through every season. It’s so important to declare His truths over your life – no matter what your season looks like.
One of the many attributes I love about our kind and merciful Father is that nothing surprises Him. He’s never caught off guard. He knew your situation long ago, and He made a way. It’s yours for the taking.
Let’s claim and walk in His promises as we continue into this new year.
Thank You for Your faithful hand in our lives. I am so grateful that we have never lived an unloved moment because of You. I pray for anyone reading this that You would intentionally and lovingly minister to their hearts in the way that only You can. I pray for peace and perseverance as we continue to press on. Thank you for being our strength in times of weakness. Our encouragement when we lose hope. Our praise for heaviness that You exchange, our mourning for joy and bring beauty from ashes. We’ve seen You do it before and we know You’ll do it again. We praise You for who You are and what You’re doing in each one of our lives. You don’t waste a thing. We love You, and give You all the praise and glory in all things.
In Your holy name we pray, Amen.
Katrina Sipe lives in Chambersburg, PA and married her husband Corbin on May 2, 2020. She loves to hike, kayak and be outside in nature. Coffee is her love language and she really enjoys cooking and baking gluten-free foods. She is on staff at Grand Point Church, Shippensburg and loves seeing the way the Lord is moving in the local communities.