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I will do something new!

by Lancia E. Smith for The Cultivating Project 



The year 2016 has passed silently now into history and overnight a new year has been born.

2017. Just to say it is an expression of relief. tweet

Last night was a quiet acknowledgment of 2016 coming to an end. Peter and I celebrated by ourselves and then for a few glittering moments at midnight shared the celebration with neighbors who were setting off fireworks beneath dark star-studded Colorado skies. The two of us toasted with Sparkling Martinellis on our back deck and prayed in the new year as we have done for decades. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we ended the year beaten, but we did end the year changed. We ended quieted. The smoke of a year of battle seemed to be dissipated along with the smoke of the fireworks, there so ephemerally and then moments later, gone.  

This morning the gift of a new year being given to us comes as a revelation of grace and wonder. The air is clean. We are tired but in some mysterious way, we have crossed over an invisible but real boundary. In my heart crossing over into 2017 feels like crossing into the promised land leaving a long period of bondage forever behind us.   

For weeks in my devotional times I have been coming to a place of overwhelming quiet, coming to the end of myself, I believe, after a year of tremendous inward conflict and outward responsibilities. This morning the Lord brought me back to a verse I have spent time with long ago, Isaiah 43.18-19.

I will do something new - Image (c) Lancia E. Smith

Once again, I hear The Lord’s strong, personal, commanding voice. The voice I first fell in love with as a new Christian, the voice I still love better than all other voices. I hear His quiet, comforting admonition to let the past go, to not dwell there or bring it into the present. I hear His Kingly voice as God and Creator speak the words of a new life, a new chapter, a new day. I hear Him say it again in such a living way – to expect great things of Him who makes all things new. In the deep of winter, He brings spring. If I am willing to look for it and give heed to it, I will see a way made where there has been none, and find streams of refreshment in the midst of a dry land. The issue here is not whether The Lord will do it. He said “I will”, not “I will if” – there is no contingency here. What is in question is whether I will be aware of it. In some translations of this verse ‘aware’ is phrased as ‘give heed’ or ‘perceive.’ What am I looking at and where am I looking? Am I willing and courageous enough to expect The Lord to make a way for me through the wilderness – the wild lands? Am I willing to believe and expect Him to do the impossible again and make water in the desert? Our experience in life depends on what we are willing to believe and expect of Him. 

I want to linger here with Him, and I want to invite you to join me in this. This verse, this day is not only for me, but it is an invitation to you as well.  Whatever your past year held, friend, you are invited to lay it all safely down in the Lord’s keeping now. I am laying mine down and listening to our High and Holy God lean close saying quietly and full of promise that He is doing something new. What will it be? 

This is the time of standing still in His presence and seeing what He will do. This is our year to keep company with Him and to courageously expect great things of Him. This is our year to see what He will bring to life. Will we each not give heed to it and be aware? 

This is His year.

“Those who invoke His name, rehearse His wonders.”

Psalm 75.1



roses-engraving-godeys-graphicsfairybrn1

The image of the stream was shot this summer at Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District of England, a place very dear to me. 

For this new year, friends, I pray every blessing and grace be yours and I give thanks for you.

You are also very dear to me. 

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  • Lynn Severance

    And a blessed new year to you and Peter, Lancia!
    It brings freshness with it, that I agree.
    The Isaiah verse God has had me living in for many years is Isaiah 40: 3-5.
    And this is the year He has said I am walking out of the wilderness for the path is ready – for me but more importantly for the revelation of his glory.

    Part of that is my book being published for wide-distribution on Feb. 12.
    The other part is my trust that in walking out of the wilderness, I remember his grace accompanies me for what He will ask me to do.

    Amen to his faithfulness!
    Love,
    Lynn

  • This makes my heart happy for you, dear friend.

    What a … strangely full and difficult year that particular 365 days of 2016 seemed to be, no? As we walk into a new one, I feel as though I step more carefully, more aware of the unseen yet expected difficulties that will surely populate my calendar as each dawns, one after another. And yet, there’s hope, too, as I’m also more aware there will be joys we’ve yet to anticipate in measure hopefully at least equal.

    May the path before you be clear and well-lit, friend.

    Your scripture here is one which we had read at our wedding. Which still makes me giggle, because we were such babes I’m sure we had no idea what was truly implied within the words. I think they were somehow prophetic. May the promise be revealed in this new year for both of us. <3

    Grateful to walk with you toward home~
    Misty

  • Lisa Simmonds

    Thank you for writing this as it beautiful and haunting; how strange (but perhaps not really) that your thoughts reflect myself and a close friend of mine. It has been a hard year of battles. I am relieved that 2016 is over and hopeful for what the Father has prepared ahead for us all.

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Lancia, I’ve heard this theme echoed in more than one place–draw in close and listen. God is willing to do a new thing in us and for us (but the “in” part is the most important). The question is, as you say, whether we will perceive it. My desperate prayer in my walking around days is “Lord, give me ears to hear you.” I know in His presence is the only place where I will be changed.
    May God bring this word to pass in a surprising way this year. Thank you for all you do to make the interwebs a beautiful place, Lancia.

  • Kirk Manton

    “Our experience in life depends on what we are willing to believe and expect of Him.” Amen, sister Lancia. props me to remember my another favorite verse – “Ascribe to the Lord the glory do His name.” (Psalm 29:2). He fills are lives and we will see filling when we are looking, and ascribing to the Lord the Glory due His name. May this year be a year of ascribing and seeing, all those new things.

  • Dearest Lancia, what a beautiful photo that is, and what a beautiful piece of writing. This sentence especially struck me: “Our experience in life depends on what we are willing to believe and expect of Him.” That has been one of the deepest lessons our Lord has been teaching me this year–just how much is possible for the one who believes.

    Lilias Trotter writes that when it comes to the needs of our souls “we do not need to come again and again to wring an unwilling answer out of our Father, but to search in His Word till He gives a promise which meets our case and then to step out on it in the bare faith which believes that it receives.” That has become a sort of mantra for me: believe that you receive. It’s amazing how much more fully I sense God’s presence simply for believing that He is with me! So much good comes when we, as you say, “courageously expect great things of Him.” Here’s to a year of courageous expectation!

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