Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
It’s the final day of 2017 and, while New Years Eve isn’t a thing for me, I do appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the year that was and set intentions for the year to come.
This was a year of great sorrow and great joy; mountaintops and valleys. It was a year of growth, a year of settling, and a year of stepping out. This year brought things both unexpected and unwanted; and, alongside those, gifts of sweet delight.
It was a year of loosening my grip on things and people and circumstances and leaning in hard to the Creator. It was a year when I heard the sweet whisper of the Divine in a way I hadn’t before. It was a year of answered prayer and Love immeasurable. These things I take with me, with deep joy and gratitude, into the year to come.
And so I look ahead with intention to 2018.
I’m in the midst of a cleaning and purging in the woman cave and, with that, making decisions about what to keep—literally, as well as in terms of where I intend to put my focus in the months ahead.
Bins and cupboards filled with fabric and batting and quilting notions are being pulled out, relocated, and, in the case of some things, let go of. I put quilting aside years ago when I got serious about writing my book and have not returned to it. It served a purpose once, and maybe it will again one day, but that time is not now.
Clearing away the quilting paraphernalia will open up space where I can store—out of sight—photography props and equipment. Photography is definitely coming with me into the new year with a slightly different focus (pun not intended). I’m weary of following trends and coveting props (and on that note am seriously contemplating stepping away from Instagram). Instead, I want to produce images that point toward, not that which is created, but the Creator. (In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I’ve shot relatively few new images in the past month or so. I’ve been recalibrating my intention.)
The physical eye is meant to say to the spiritual eye, ‘Not this, but the Maker of this, is the desire of your soul’.
John Piper, A Peculiar Glory
Once there’s space for all of my photography gear to be tucked away behind closed doors, and I can get my bookshelves back to the state I want them (read: used for books and not random photography props), I will set my writing intentions for the year. Whenever I think about future goals, writing is front and centre where it always has been. It’s been a constant in my life. Yesterday, I was delighted to find some papers in the room my granddaughter slept in for the past few nights with the heading Chapter 1 – How it Began and the start of a couple of stories. Writing is in our DNA.
Routine is another thing I’m setting intentions for. I settled nicely into a routine this year (speaking of which, I posted here every day but ten in 2017–that says something about what routine can do.) but I’m going to tweak things a bit going forward, letting some things fall away and going deeper with others.
Of course, all of this intention and planning and looking ahead could come to naught if God has other plans. Does that mean I shouldn’t set intentions? On the contrary . . . so very much on the contrary. Without intention and focus I am apt to stumble and fall short of accomplishing what I was created to do.
I saw a television program a while ago where interviewees were asked why they believed we are here. All kinds of, shall we say interesting, responses were given. (Even as I write that sentence I think there may be some reading this who may be offended by it. But this is my space and, while I never want to offend, I do have the freedom to choose to speak my truth here.)
My response to the question of why I am here today comes directly from the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.) said differently and wonderfully by John Piper: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
And so, my intention with those select few things I choose to focus on in days I am allotted in the coming year is simple: to glorify God with the unique gifts He has given me, in the unique way He created me, walking in love and abiding joy as I come to know Him more.
Thank you for coming by this place and reading my simple words this year. Your comments, emails, and words said in person have blessed me abundantly. I don’t take lightly that, for a moment at some point in the midst of your day, you chose to come by. I pray you have found something worthy here and hope you’ll come along for another year of simple happy.
Happy New Year.
Soli Deo gloria: Glory to God alone.