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Jan14

A Year of Abundance

I have always loved the ritual of creating New Year’s resolutions. As my childhood friend Sarah can attest, I’ve jumped at the chance to recreate myself every January since we were in junior high together. I would always commit to something extraordinary like: “This year I will change my personality!”  “I will practice perfect posture!”  “I will memorize at least one poem every week!”  I put so much emphasis on the magic of starting a brand new year, like a do-over, I thought the slate was wiped clean and I could remake myself. Back then, I wanted to be the shy, quiet type that the boys seemed to like. For those of you who know me, you immediately recognize the grand feat necessary for me to “change my personality” and the unlikelihood of which not even a miracle could supply.

Twenty-five years later, I still relish the notion of starting something new and fresh; re-examining old goals, naming new ones. But my “resolutions” are no longer plural. I followed the lead of a friend who challenged us a few years ago to bear in mind a single word or phrase to guide us throughout the year. I’ve adopted that habit and found it to be freeing and focusing at the same time. Not to mention, it’s easier to keep instead of abandoning by the end of the first month.

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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 Is printed on the number “4” to remind me of my resolution all year long.

I was very intentional last year in declaring my word as “Abundance.” Tired of settling for the norm and what had become mediocre, I wanted to know the abundant life promised in Scripture (John 10, Ephesians 3). I spent a long time in January crafting a large art piece that would consistently remind me of what I had prayerfully set out in the beginning of the year to find.

I clung to that word “abundance” looking for evidence of it anywhere and everywhere. But by the end of October, I was beginning to think that God misunderstood my message.

2015 began with a colonoscopy in January and ended with a double ear infection and thrush in November. Peppered in between those health concerns the year held injuries and nutrient deficiencies. Job, asset and relational losses were also among the wreckage. I literally thought to myself that the signals of prayer to the heavens were crossed and the message was heard that I wanted 2015 to be a year of abundant…burdens!

I am still trying to make meaning out of the past 12 months. But there was a moment in August after I had endured a vocational crisis where I was able to experientially grasp the concept of Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” During that month of mourning, Karl was there at every turn to comfort me and literally hold me together. I would wake from terrifying nightmares at 2 or 3 in the morning and beg him to just put his arms around me tightly so I could feel safe again.  On the weekends when I still couldn’t break the chains of anxiety, I would weep and ask him to rub my back.  I called him or texted him numerous times each day asking for reassurance or the chance to process my feelings.  In 15 years of marriage, I never needed him like I did then. And when I needed that desperately, I was finally comforted in an abundant way.

Never before have I ever been the touchy-feely type. I didn’t understand what was so special about giving and receiving hugs, or snuggling or hand-holding.  But after a painful year of desperate need, I found comfort in the human touch.  Now, Karl says with a wink that I’ve gotten a bit greedy in my need for his comfort. “Hold me? Snuggle with me?, Scratch my back?,” I say daily.  I know where to find the soothing I need. And he offers it to me in spades. But it took an abundance of need for me to find the source of abundant comfort.

And as I look at other instances from throughout the year, what becomes clear, in hindsight, is that there was an abundance of trials, to be sure, but for the first time in my life, there was also an abundance of comfort.  So, maybe the wires to heaven weren’t crossed all along and God understood my message perfectly.

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6 Comments

  1. Shauna Gauthier
    Shauna Gauthier

    I’m so glad you never succeeded at changing your personality. And I am so moved by this: “…it took an abundance of need for me to find the source of abundant comfort.” So good. So raw and ironic, maybe even subversive. Can’t wait to hear about the word/phrase/thought/hope for 2016. <3

    1. Krista Law
      Krista Law

      Oooooh…I love that you introduced the word “subversive.” It feels appropriate, but I almost can’t even name why. I will be thinking on that more…

  2. Sarah Isakson

    I love this…thank you for sharing! I got chills when you mention finding comfort in the human touch. I just envision you wrapped in your hubby’s arms and that abundant love/comfort washing over you. Beautiful! Has this experience made you excited or anxious for your new phrase to guide you through 2016?

    1. Krista Law
      Krista Law

      Love your questions!!! They give me a chance to think just a bit more – push the thought just a bit further.
      You know, I am actually nervous/anxious that 1). this coming year won’t shape up to be as powerful as the last, or 2). that it will be just as great, but come at just as high a cost. I love where this year has taken me – I even told Karl I would do it over again because it opened me up to receive from him in ways I was never able – and it wasn’t just for that little bit of time – it is still like that today. It’s like I received the gift for the first time and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. So, I would do it again (go through the suffering like I did last year as painful as it was) if the benefit was just as great. But if I anticipate only the pain/turmoil/crisis/devastation/worry/anxiety/unknown/crazy-making – not the other side of all of that pain – I get really scared to suffer again. So, I’m on the fence. Do I hope big and anticipate big suffering? Or do I keep my expectations low and then expect that not much will happen???

  3. Sarah
    Sarah

    Do you think those are the only two options…to hope big and anticipate great suffering, or lower expectations and expect less suffering?

    1. Krista Law
      Krista Law

      You know what…I never thought of any other option. What would you imagine in between?

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