Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ringing...I Mean Singing in the New Year

If you asked me at 7:00pm yesterday what I was going to do to celebrate New Years, I might have told you I wouldn't be awake to remember.  After a day of girls' playdates coming and going and the sweet but tiring victory of a new jigsaw puzzle I was feeling lethargic, indifferent, and a little melancholic.

But, when the girls came in ready to make their masks for the Masquerade Ball, I got my game on again.

After some quick paper, metallic Sharpie and elastic string action we were ready to hit the dance floor. 

 Dance Parties on the ship are some of my favorite events.  Not just because I can bust a move safely within an audience that protects me from (well, laughter, but also) getting hit on by creepy, intoxicated, overeager, girating hormones, but because I get to watch the girls come out of their shells.  Watching them interact with their friends, their "aunties" & "uncles," teachers, role models in this fun environment is a joy.  I've seen Kylie learn how to moonwalk, do the worm, and learn a bit of swing dancing with the help of our Australian friend, Nick, our Canadian friend, Jeff, and our Togolese friend, Kevin.  These are the moments that make me smile and chime loudly in my heart that we are in a GREAT place for our family.

After more than two hours of dancing last night, the room was transformed back into the International Lounge and prepared for a special time of Creative Worship as we ushered in 2012.  Um, do you mean a Prayer Meeting?  For an hour?  That sounds so.....BORING.  Yeah, I think so too.  But, this was not.  It was a special time to be purposeful and reflect on things from this past year and listen in to God's leading for the next. 

We had ten different stations set up around the room that we could navigate at our own leisure while we chewed on these areas of life:
  1. What situations/wrongs am I still holding on to that I need to let go of? (with an example of the Two Monks)
  2. How is my financial integrity - what are the needs I need to share to the Lord?  Does money make me nervous or anxious? (2 Corinthians 8:2)
  3. What areas do I want God to be more fruitful in this next year?
  4. Where is my life tired, parched or dry? (John 4:14)
  5. Where am I vulnerable & need to know God's protection?  What verse would God give me to shield me? (2 Samuel 22:3)
  6. Who can I encourage today to shine like a star?  How can I be an encourager today? (Philippians 2:15)
  7. What part of God's Word will sustain me in the year to come? (John 6:35)
  8. How can I encourage my soul to trust in Jesus as my one and only anchor? (Hebrews 6:19)
  9. Spend some time creatively expressing the story that God has put on your heart (poetry, drawing, painting, writing a song)
  10. What is in God's vision for me for this next year?  What is the direction that He wants to take me?  How can I stay on course? (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Young and old participated here, with tangible activities at most tables (write the situations on a paper and rip it up, eat a piece of fruit as a reminder, write an encouragement to someone and give it to them, paint a picture, write it out on a bookmark, take a coin as a reminder).  We closed with a song as the clocks changed to 12:00am, 01/01/2012. 

It was a powerful reminder of Majoring in the Majors.  I'm not usually sentimental or good about wrapping up what is happening from one season to the next, but this evening was good for me, as God spoke some very clear, simple words that I will be putting into practice this year about priorities and expectations.  I include all these prompts here in case you wanted to carve out some time to look at your 2012 as a new season as well.

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