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Last year, on the front page of my journal/notebook/scratchpad, I wrote out the first part of Isaiah 61.  That wonderful passage of scripture is always the old testament reading for January 1st on the PrayNow app, which I adore. It’s also one of my favorite all time passage of scripture and so with it written on page 1 of my notebook, I read it most days and thought about it and mulled over it and tried to superimpose my life over it.

Jesus was handed the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah at the synagogue in Nazareth when he spoke these astonishing words:

 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.”

These are the words that Christ spoke about Himself. He is the One who brings good news, and binds up the brokenhearted and opens the prison. He comfort those who mourn. He raises up the ruined cities.  Because of His overwhelming love for us, we live in the year of the Lord’s favor, the jubilee year, the year that debts are canceled and slaves are set free.

I want that freedom.  That’s why the first few days of the year has always been my very favorite.  A new year, a fresh start, a slew of resolutions, and goals—it’s the perfect storm for holing up in my bed for a few hours with warm socks and warm coffee and an oversized sweater and planning for THE BEST YEAR EVER.  That’s what I tell myself every. single. time.

This year was different.  My uncle died late New Year’s Eve so we spent the first few days of the new year on Brown Mountain, eating ham, soup beans, cornbread and too much mocha cake, sharing stories and stale pots of coffee for too many hours to count.

Our little buddy was with us too.

All that to say, I didn’t finish my book yet and I didn’t finish writing out all my goals.  I don’t even have a word yet for 2016 like all the cool people do.

To top it all off, the combination of crying and laughing in equal parts with equal vigor for the last few days left me puffy eyed and exhausted this morning—the day I was hoping would lead all the others days to goal reaching nirvana.

So, I’m raising my glass (of rewarmed for the third time coffee) to choosing people first over goals and projects and really everything else.  I hope I to cultivate more of that kind of courage in my to do list.

My botched up plan is this:  post Isaiah 61 everywhere I spend my time so that it informs and inspires the rest of my goals.  Sugar detox? Sure, but why?  So that I have more energy to help pry open some prison bars.

Pray on my knees everyday? Yes, but why? So that He will give me new eyes my to see the brokenhearted.

Increase my income? Yes, so that I can bring good news to the poor.

Launch a book? I sure hope so.  Because I pray He uses me to comfort those who have mourned this messy thing we call life.

It’ll probably be the end of January before I get all my plans in order but I sure hope that the God of all grace continues to give me a voice to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We are free. Not because of what we can gin up in ourselves on the coat tails of a resolution high, but because He has set us free.

And because of that freedom, we set our sights on them—the precious ones He is putting right in the way of all our tasks and hopes and dreams.  They are not an interruption to our best life ever.

They have been sent to raise up the former devastations of our self obsession.

They are messengers from Him.

I hope we are brave enough to listen.

21 comments on “The Year of the Lord’s Favor”

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I wanted to let you know that I don’t get to read every article you post but every time I do, I am blessed, encouraged, challenged and hopefully, changed. Thank you for speaking into the lives of so many women around the globe. I am praying for your family through this loss. God bless you and I pray you have a fantastic 2016!

  2. So very sorry for your loss. I am always inspired by your posts. Can you tell us more about the PrayNow app? I can find it for my phone but not for my laptop.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  3. Edie- What a positive way for my start to the week, to read your writing 🙂
    So good to see/read you here. Sending sympathy for the loss of your Uncle- prayers all around-
    People first, that’s what we try to live by here- Thank you for sharing the Isaiah passage. Right on time for me. Self-obsession, I sure hear you! One of my daily prayers is asking to be relieved of the bondage of self, so that I can better do His will-
    Keeping you in positive thought & prayer for your book and your life. And yes to everything you shared! Thanks so much-
    Happy New Year & Happy Birthday to You 🙂

  4. Beautiful words, thank you for sharing on this Monday morning when I needed to hear them:) I will be writing this verse down today so that I too, can reflect on these meaningful words throughout the year – what a great reminder. I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle – prayers to you and your family. Happy birthday to you as well – may it be a sort of rebirth to start off your new year. Blessings to you!

  5. Amen and amen! I hope I can focus on the ones in my path this year as well. I’m always glad to read your posts, I’ve missed you! Blessings and peace to you and yours as you grieve.

  6. I have inconspicuously followed your blog for about a year now and this is my first comment. Let me first say that I admire that you keep your post true to your convictions. Truth sometimes hurts but it also shapes me and keeps me coming back for more. You’ve inspired me to dig deeper into the word and your thirst for it makes me thirsty. Secondly, I am a new homeschooler and so appreciate that you’ve shared your experience! This has been a journey I NEVER thought I would go on yet has been surprisingly rewarding! Thank you for choosing to pour yourself out for your blogging followers!

  7. And yet you capture the realness of life AND it’s beauty. Thanks for the passage, was looking for this, and will also plaster throughout my home. Prayers for ya this am!

  8. It takes me most of January to process the old and welcome the new year. For me, February 1 is usually the beginning of the New year. So, see, you’re not late at all! I’m sure when you are through processing you will have great things to share with us.

    Condolences on the loss of your uncle and I hope your new year is truly blessed. Thanks for sharing the beautiful passage of Scripture from Isaiah 61.

  9. Edie, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words are a blessing and I find so much encouragement on your blog. Thank you for this post. This is one I will probably bookmark and read again.

  10. I feel like there’s so much that I’ve procrastinated in the past 7 days of this month but along with you I hope this is the greatest year of blessing to my family and our ministry. We pastored for over 15 years and suddenly had to close our doors a year ago and 2015 was a very tough year for us financially & emotionally. We have taken a year off to just mend and breathe! But I’m so ready to be used again by God in the field of praise and worship and ministering to the hurting and the unsaved. May God grant your every request this year and many many blessings to you Edie! You have such a sweet smile and seem like a sweet person. I don’t know you but I love reading your blog and following you on Pinterest. God Bless <3 Scarlett, NC

  11. I am sorry for your loss Edie. How wonderful to have family to share the sorrow and wonderful memories. May God richly bless you and your family.

  12. In this 11th day of 2016, my resolutions have not begun, my word for the year still floating around in space somewhere, and I feel disjointed. I needed to hear that not everyone was game on since Jan. 1! Happy New Year, Edie. You never fail to inspire.
    I love you from Spring Hill, TN. and I am sending blessings to you and the family! I will seek my word today, and I will do some serious pondering on those goals for the year. Please keep writing. I need it. We all need it!

  13. What a beautiful passage! Thank you for sharing your heart-I am a grateful reader. So very sorry for your loss.

    I’m curious-have seen you mention your little “buddy” on at least two occasions, but I don’t know who he is?

    God’s blessings on this new year!

  14. After three weeks of round the clock care (by family) with support of hospice, my father in law passed away in the evening on New Year’s Eve as well. We surrounded his bed and loved him through his last breath – – we went through that as we were also wondering how to get through the first Christmas without my own father, who had passed unexpectedly in June. I have no plans for 2016 – other than to get up, love God & my neighbor, and laugh often. Grateful for a Savior – the Risen Christ.

  15. i’m sorry for your loss, edie. and i’m glad you were surrounded by family during such a time.

    i know you hear this all the time, but on a very personal note, this was the perfect verse for me to read at this very moment in time. i’m pretty sure God works that way for me… leads me to my computer and to this blog and to those words right.now.

    thank you xo

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