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Heaven

2004 Went AWOL!
By Corinne Smelker

January 1st 2005

I canít believe itís 2005 already! Where did 2004 go? Did I even achieve all the things I so confidently said I would? I know I got blindsided by a couple of things during 2004. Momís passing was hard, and having to find a nursing home for Dad was even harder.

Bill losing his job made me wonder whether mine was in jeopardy. And then I got a promotion Ė which surprised me, but then I knew I was golden with the company. So, I achieved my career goal. Career goals have always come pretty easy to me; Sharon says itís my bull-dog attitude. I guess sheís right.

But itís my personal goals that are lacking. I went to the beginning of my 2004 diary, and read my personal resolutions. Here was my first one.

      1. Read the entire Bible in a year.

Huh. Well I got derailed halfway through Leviticus! Who on Godís green earth Ė apart perhaps from some health official Ė would be interested in all the rituals the Israelites had to undergo? Now, I did better in the New Testament. Well, except for Hebrews. Did the translators even get it right? I knew I was reading English, but none of it made sense! And as for RevelationÖ

So, in all, I read about 20 books Ė not bad, but Iím sure I could do better. What was my next resolution?

      2. Pray an hour a day.

Oh yeah right! How do people do it? I started this time last year. I prayed for me, for Sharon and the kids, for extended family, people at work, people at church and then for world peace, looked at my watch and still had 50 minutes left!

I tried again the next day, but Jack Jr. knocked on the door and asked me if I was all right. When I informed him I was praying, there was silence, followed by a snigger and then, "Mom. Dadís praying!"

I was less than comforted by Sharonís incredulous "Your father? Praying? Probably asking God to help his golf game." Funny.

I have tried to pray more this year, I donít know whether itís better or not, but I think I did OK on the next one:

      3. Spend less time on the links and more time with the kids.

Sharon definitely nagged me less about this, so I should do all right on that this year too. I did make a couple of Jackís baseball games, and a few of Allisonís dance recitals. But Sharon doesnít seem to understand I need downtime after work, and on the weekends. She gets her PTA meetings, and her Ladiesí Bible Study, doesnít she?

Thereís probably room for improvement though. Oh. Here was my fourth one.

      4. Witness to two friends, who will tell two friends, who will share with twoÖ

Wait a minute! Thatís AMWAY! I must have been joking around when I wrote that. But Ė did I tell anyone about Jesus? I told my boss I couldnít stay late on Wednesday nights because I have to make it to church. But I donít think I really mentioned Jesus in conversation.

Why am I such a failure when it comes to my Christian walk? I look at the other guys on Sunday mornings, and at the menís breakfast, and they seem to have it together. They say things like, "God saidÖ" and "I believe the Lord is sayingÖ" How do they do that? I never Ďhearí God.

Why canít I follow my own resolutions? I start off with such good intentions, but the longest I generally last is about two or three months. Oh God, how can I get better? How can I improve?

I do remember our pastor preaching the other day about us leaning completely on God, and being confident in God, not in our own confidence. I even took notes. Ah here we go:

"For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us." (Phil 3:3 NLT)

He also said, "The true Christian is the one who puts no confidence in human effort. Our faith is no longer in ourselves to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. It is now in God to see what God wants to accomplish."

"All the self-confidence and self-esteem classes are not of God. All they do is put pride in the flesh. We are not self-confident, we are confident in the Lord. We are confident because of what Christ has made us."

Boy, I remember the buzz that set up in church! Is he onto something there? I know itís not about me, but how do I take the focus off me, and put it on God? I get so busy with work, the kids, Sharon, the churchÖ

OK, now Iím making excuses! I think the key is to find out more about the character of God. If someone were to ask me about Him, I donít know that I would know what to say. How well do I really know this Jesus I profess to love? In the secret of this diary, I would have to confess, not very.

Perhaps I have been going about this all wrong. Perhaps how much I read a day is not as important as what I get out of what I read. And do I really know the Helper, the Holy Spirit Jesus left for us? I donít think so.

I donít think Iíll write any grandiose resolutions this year which I probably really have no intention of keeping. Instead, I think I will open 2005 with a prayer, one that I can return to and see my progress:

Lord God, I canít promise to pray one hour a day, although I really would like to get there. But I do resolve, and determine to seek hard after You, and find You. You promise in Hebrews 11:6, "that He rewards those who diligently seek after Him." Please help me as I search Your Word, and talk to the guys at the menís breakfast, and find out how they do it, and what practical steps I can take.

I determine that 2005 will be a year of discovering how I can allow You to work through me, rather than me doing things for You. I want to discover who You truly are, not who I perceive You to be.

Thank You Father that You will help me in all things, and give me Your strength. Amen.

You know, I think Iíll stay home with Sharon and the kids today instead of playing golf. Better go and call SteveÖ
Corinne Smelker is the mom to five kids and wife of one husband. She is a self-employed writer and also the administrator for Prophetic Life Ministry, a Christian Ministry located in San Antonio. Cori also writes and posts daily devotionals to that site. You can contact Cori via the Your Letters page of this Magazine..

LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4 NIV) Throughout 2004, the Lord has shown me more of what the above verse means in my life. I have always loved this verse, but even more so this past year. He has shown me how He has redeemed so many things in my life and has restored so many of the desires of my heart to use to honor and glorify Him. Thank you Jesus, may the desires of my heart, forever be the desires you have planted there in the the first place, for your name to be glorified (Diane Exner)

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