I am a woman who loves to find the ‘theme’ in things. If I am going to a conference, I want to know what the theme is going to be. If I am working on a presentation I stay true to my chosen theme. When I am preparing for a new homeschool year I choose a theme to work around and arrange all our learning off of that theme (this year our theme is Ancient Egypt). Similarly, when it is time for a new year, I want a theme. I want to know what Jesus intends to teach me and what the focus of my spiritual growth will be. Instead of choosing my own theme, like I do with most everything else, I let Jesus pick my theme. Therefore, every year around December, I start to pray and ask Jesus to reveal to me what the theme of the year is that He has chosen.
I began this tradition 3 years ago. I was tired of making resolutions and then failing at them just a few weeks into the new year. I learned about praying to Jesus and asking for His theme from a friend and I decided to give it a shot. The first year I prayed for my theme, I listened carefully to His response. I heard “Restoring the Joy”. Let me tell you that year was anything but joyful. It was a year fraught with loss, pain, grief and heartache. At the end of the year I asked Him to make it clear why in the world he would call this the year of “restoring the joy”? His reply was startling and not at all what I expected. You can read that story at my personal blog http://www.littlebirdflies.wordpress.com under December 2014. The really cool thing is that even though I have moved to different theme’s, God still takes me back to his Joy, and continues to teach me.
The next year, I asked again for Jesus theme for my year and I heard “Celebration”. I was excited to find out how Jesus would teach me about celebration and boy did He ever! He started out by teaching me to celebrate small victories. Keeping my kitchen clean, getting my son enrolled with an OT, or reading my bible at some point everyday were all reasons for celebration. Over the year, I also had a lot of large things to celebrate. I met my future husband, my autistic son has improved socially and physically, my financial situation has improved immeasurably and at every turn I am able to celebrate Jesus love in deeper and more intimate ways.
Last year I asked and received the word “Grow. In my theme post I wrote:
“My family will be growing from 3 children to 8 when I join my life with my fiancé who has 5 kids. My skills will be growing as I complete my book. Our children will be growing both physically and emotionally as they adjust to our new normal. Our home will grow as we are looking for a place to live. My heart and my love will grow as we merge our lives together. I can only imagine at this point all the other ways in which growing will happen in 2016. I trust Him to show me, to grow me and to love me through it all. I find that having Jesus theme at the forefront of my thoughts all through the year helps me to grow closer to Jesus personally.”
I had NO IDEA what we were in for! Over 2016 a lot of what I expected happened. I got married, growing my children count to 8 instead of 3! My house grew as I we added 4 new rooms. My ‘stuff’ grew when my family moved in and we realized we could furnish 3 homes all by ourselves! We grew as a family as we figured out how to live together without killing each other. Our children have grown as they’ve flown through shoe sizes and clothes sizes. Our love grew, our faith grew and our hearts grew together in ways we could not have imagined.
Our hearts, faith and support system grew when my new son, age 15, contracted meningoencephalitis and he spent 7 weeks in children’s hospital in Seattle. We almost lost him. As my new husband and I learned to work together, hold each other up and support each other as well as our other children, we learned to grow in our trust of one another and of God. We had to grow in our faith as we walked through the valley of possibly losing our son and then again when we began the long road back to physical health. Growth continues as we keep walking the road to mental and social health. Finally, and unfortunately, I’ve grown as I’ve eaten my new husbands WONDERFULLY delicious Latino food! (something that will be worked on during 2017) Most of all, my heart has grown in love, patience and understanding of the adopted love God has for each of us every time He grows His family and welcomes a new member into the fold. Growing this year, as celebration also did, has lead to even more understanding of the previous theme of Joy.
Sometimes, I have to wait a while before I hear His voice and this year was no exception. This year, God has given me His theme and I am super excited to see how it plays out! This years theme is:
Dream!!!! God wants me to dream His dreams! He wants to dream for me! He has already put on my heart some pretty massive dreams that will take perseverance, work and complete trust in God to pull it off. I am scared to death to make this happen but I choose to trust in God’s dreams for me and I promise to do my best for His kingdom. His dreams are what matter and His dreams will give me the strength to do what He has asked me to do. So, I am prepared. Putting on the armor and believing in his promises will make this year worth all the work! So, stay tuned for the news of what is going down in 2017!!
I encourage each of you to ask Jesus what His theme is for you this year. It is really quite simple. Just set aside some quiet time to pray and listen actively. Listen for his voice, impression or word theme and then consecrate your coming year with Him. At the end of the year you can also ask Him to reveal any last words regarding the previous years theme that He wants to reveal. Keep a theme journal through the year that you can record how He comes through, Bible verses He gives you and what you learn.
Let’s Dream on this year and work for the Kingdom!
When He tells you what it is…I’d love to hear about it!