It did take me some time to read and reflect on my journal entries of 2011. I could have approached them from different angles. It could have been: what have I done in 2011- a question of doing. Or it could be what have I become – a question of being, of character, or self-understanding, of relationships. Or I could explore what God has done and said to me in 2011? I have opted on a little bit of all and what God has “been” to me.
2011 would be a year of restoration for me and the Lord has been my Shepherd and to use an updated metaphor, my Programmer. In January, I was still praying about whether to go into retreat in Chiangmai. In March I wrote, “He is active. He can update our software. Permission to adjust the program files in our system is needed. Lord, update my program”. Cannot believe I actually prayed this prayer and then forgot about it till now. In May I was still reluctant to go back into pastoring although I knew I had to.
June which was the period of retreat was so full of rich, insightful entries every day. This was where I saw Jesus being my Shepherd in a most sensitive, tender and powerful way. Only he can help us see light in His light, and change the desires of our heart so radically. I left the retreat center restored and enthusiastic about going back to pastoral work. He has actually updated my pastor software program files! Remarkable.
From July to September I was co-leading the CRMS Focused Leaders course for some pastors and doing my MTh modules. I have made some progress with my modules managing to complete 3 this year. Helpful stuff for pastors and Christian educators and lecturers. At the same time, in November, I was disappointed with one of those “I regret to inform you…..” letters from the Brash Trust to which I applied for a scholarship for my MTh.
October I returned to work in church. They were considerate and let me in gently: less preaching, welcome cake, kind encouraging words. Then it was a period of adjustment and updating on all that has happened while I was away. The months before I started work had provided a buffer for me to develop a rhythm of prayer and reflection and this was tested out from October to December. It was good for several weeks before I noticed a decreased desire and an increased assault of distractions. I picked up a new habit of “early to bed” and felt the higher energy level for some time, but this habit began to erode with time. Reflection helps me to be aware and to pray for God’s help.
2012 will be an interesting year. I continue with enthusiasm to see how God’s work in his church will unfold, like reading a mystery book. I look forward to deepening and enriching my newly established rhythm of prayer, work and reflection. It is always re-assuring to know that I am deeply loved and highly favored and greatly blessed in 2011 and will experience more of that this year!