Text: 73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their own towns.
Teach: Home. Safety. Normalcy. These are things we crave. The people had worked hard and now they were going to reap some of the fruits of their labor. But this was about so much more than building a wall. Consider the things the people learned during the process: the value of hard work, the treasure of friends and family, the love and provision of God, the importance of prayerful leadership.
Take: Dorothy declares in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” Before she journey’s back she’s asked what she learned and she replies, “Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?”
Task: What blessings do you find in your home, with your family? Take some time today to count those blessings and thank God for them. And if your home doesn’t automatically bring you joy, what provisions and people has God placed there for you?
Before Dorothy can leave the Land of Oz, Glinda asks what lessons she has learned:
I feel a little like Dorothy. This year has been quite a journey. Not all of it has been good. I didn’t reach many of the goals that I set for myself.
Part of me wants to stamp the file that holds this year with a big fat: FAILED!
But is it a failure? What did I accomplish?
1. I finished a job. The woman I provided care for died in November. I was with her right up to the end. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
2. I did some writing. But more importantly I put my book out there and have started the arduous process of editing and rewriting it. I have started a second book. I completed a daily devotional online for Advent and headed up a published Advent Devotional for my church.
3. I have connected with Word Weavers International and am involved in two online critique groups—one of which I’m leading. This has increased my vulnerability and accountability.
4. My husband and I did some major de-cluttering in our home, reclaiming space and rearranging things for better use.
5. I have made a major dietary change as the result of a major illness and subsequent chronic issues that developed. I have been gluten free for four months.
6. I spoke at three retreats and two speaking opportunities scheduled for next year already.
And that’s just a start. So perhaps not reaching my goals isn’t as much a failure as I initially supposed.
Perhaps God had other things planned for me. I can’t say I enjoyed being sick or the residual effects, but there has even been gain in that pain.
So what do I have to look forward to?
I’m not sure completely, but I know that there is much writing to do, a part time job to secure, a writers’ conference to attend, much Scrabble to play with my mother, and weight to be lost—for good!
The rest is grace and gravy…gluten free of course!