In Calgary it was cold this morning. -15C. I went out to the barn, which is quite a drive, to see my mare. She’s being ridden by a local trainer and she costs every spare penny I have. We are struggling, but I haven’t let her go yet. I don’t know if I can. The trainer calls her “difficult”. She’s only been ridden for 45 days, so there’s still time to find a nugget of talent in her. But she’s difficult. She’s a bit temperamental and she loses focus when she should be working. She isn’t sure that she likes someone else in control. In short – she’s like me in horse form. It’s hard to explain to my husband why I scrimp and save to pay to keep her. If there’s hope for her, there’s hope for me.
This will be my year of hope. Not just professionally but personally as well. I am choosing to be a better person this year. For a little while now I’ve been praying before bed each night, “show me what I am supposed to do, Lord, please help me to stay in your will” and for a long time I’ve just been asking and praying without any sort of answer. But the other night I received an answer. Clear like the blue sky and in a whisper like the wind I heard “make time for me”. That’s what I need to do. My mind is so busy these days, trying to figure out how to make time for writing and working out and getting to bed on time and getting to work on time … it’s all about the time. But I leave out God. I multi-task him by trying to fit him in to nooks and crannies. But He wants more. He wants me to make some time for Him.
So that’s what I’m doing for 2008. I’m making time for God so that he can make something of my time. It’s no longer an option to miss church and it’s no longer an option to not pray at night or in the morning. The first book I open each day will be my bible or devotional.
But even deeper than that… I am turning over the sins of bigotry, racism, hate and judgment to God. I’ve allowed it in my life. I’ve allowed people to make racist jokes in my presence and I haven’t told them to stop. I’ve allowed people to denigrate both women and men in my presence and I will not let it continue. Has anyone read Maya Angelou? There is a quote from one of her books that I always remember:
This will be my year of courage. I will be courageous and tell the people I love that I love them. I will be courageous and forgive what I thought was unforgivable. Because there is no joy, no honour, no peace in holding on to anything, waiting to be asked for forgiveness. If you have a moment, I’d love to share a story I read last night.
“I will not sit in a group of black friends and hear racial pejoratives against whites. I will not hear "honky." I will not hear "Jap." I will not hear "kike." I will not hear "greaser." I will not hear "dago." I will not hear it. As soon as I hear it, I say, "Excuse me, I have to leave. Sorry." Or if it's in my home, I say, "You have to leave. I can't have that. That is poison, and I know it is poison, and you're smearing it on me. I will not have it." Now, it's not an easy thing. And one doesn't all of a sudden sort of blossom into somebody who's courageous enough to say that. But you do start little by little. And you sit in a room, and somebody says -- if you're all white, and somebody says, "Well, the niggers -- " You may not have the courage right then, but you say, "Whooh! My goodness! It's already eight o'clock. I have to go," and leave. Little by little, you develop courage. You sit in a room, and somebody says, "Well, you know what the Japs did then, and what they're doing now." Say, "Mm-hmm! I have to go. My goodness! It's already six o'clock." Leave. Continue to build the courage. Sooner or later, you'll be able to say out loud, "Just a minute. I defend that person. I will not have gay bashing, lesbian bashing. Not in my company. I will not do it."
I’m reading Max Lucado’s book, Every Day Deserves A Chance, and hearing this story struck home for me: the forgiven must forgive. So I choose forgiveness for every transgression committed against me, while I ask for forgiveness as well. I have certainly not been innocent and have many times brought everything on myself. But God has forgiven me and I forgive others. This will be my year of forgiveness.
Matthew 18:23 – 35
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
I asked the other writers on Mama Needs A Book Contract to share their one wish and I thought I had shared mine, but this morning when I woke up I knew there was more I should share. So I have shared. I hope there is something you can receive.
God bless your year.