It was the year of Joy. Twenty-eleven. Only, it came in the most unexpected adventure. January of that year had no hint of the journey we’d take in July to bring home two children from Ukraine. When that year began, adoption was not on our horizon.
But God. He expands our horizons.
And Joy came that year in the tiny, untamed package of a little girl which was given and then grew into the name.
And if our horizons were expanded in twenty-eleven, it was my heart I expected the Lord to Enlarge in twenty-twelve.
That was the word He gave me, without a doubt. I had expectations for Him to Enlarge my heart and open my eyes to see more of Him, more of His greatness.
But again, my winding path this past year was over unexpected terrain.
It was more like the year of the Broken. And not just in dishwashers sitting still and empty for months before repair, or ceiling fans hanging silent. Not just in the broken plans of the Hard-working Husband finally getting the job we’d hoped for, only to lose it a few months later. Not just in the broken hopes of finding the home we really wanted and be unable to purchase…
No. It seemed that in order for my heart to be enlarged, and my eyes to be opened to His greatness – what I first needed to see clearly was the brokenness of …me.
As each month passed my brokenness – our family’s brokenness – took shape more clearly before my eyes. Failures. Selfishness. Sinfulness. Pride.
For only when I see clearly my own state – only then can my heart and my eyes be enlarged to take in the depth and greatness of His Mercy and Grace.
And at the very end of twenty-twelve, that’s when I saw her picture.
My friend – my dear sister – from ages past. The one the Lord was gracious to wind my path with briefly in college before she married a ‘Jim Elliot’ and I sang in her wedding and her beautiful feet went to far-away soil.
What I love about her is that heart always laid open bare. Her struggles un-hidden. Her seasons of heart-wrenching grief raw and accessible. But through it all, laid low, she is hidden in Jesus. This has always been her way. His way in her.
It was the end of my year of broken. On her 40th birthday, I saw her photo posted. She is simple and small of stature, and has always been beautiful. But this was more. She was – radiant.
Like Jesus Himself was shining around those light-colored eyes.
And in that moment I knew. I hoped.
Could I, in my brokenness, be hidden in Him, and thus be so radiant with His light?
That I could decrease enough that His light would increase in me.
In my storm, hidden in the cleft of the rock, covered by Him… radiant.
Twenty-Thirteen… The Year of becoming Radiant.