Month: December 2015

Checking for Watermarks

It’s the last day of 2015. Can you believe it?

Are you working on your personal vision for 2016? Goals, resolutions, themes…

It is easy to get swept away in planning to conquer the year ahead without ever stopping to take stock of how this year has gone. We so quickly think of the failures and defeats and rush to put them behind us.

Out of my way, you no good history! I’ve got a new year to dominate!

But wait! It doesn’t do us any good to kick 2015 to the curb without properly acknowledging our victories and learning from our less-than-stellar days.

Pause. Before the clock strikes midnight, take time to marvel at the days that have passed.


As I have been reflecting on the year in light of the framework I set in place, the image of watermarks came to mind. Have you ever seen the sea wall at low tide? You can tell how high the tide was at one point, even though the ocean seems emptier in the moment.

I think about my word for 2015, ADVENTURE, and I feel a void of success there. That ocean seems empty. “You are no more adventurous than you were a year ago”, the low tide whispers to me. But then, I take a closer look, and I can see watermarks of high tide.

-I started and completed my first journey through Whole30. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. But I did it. 

-I registered for my first quarter of grad school. This is a step that stirs all my fears of failure. I did it, even so. 

-I planned to go to Kenya to see what God is doing on the other side of the world. The trip was postponed and hasn’t happened yet, but that is part of the adventure. Remember our definition from this post?

-I asked for help when I needed it, even though rejection was a real possibility. And I asked for help again, even though rejection was a reality the first time. 

-I joined a book launch team with 496 women and 4 incredibly brave men. (terrifying…so much estrogen!)

-Then I went on a road trip with several of them to meet up with a couple hundred of them…even though the majority of us had never met. 

-I spoke difficult and dangerous words into conversations that are divisive. This is sometimes stupid, but sometimes right. 

-I was brave enough to not give an answer for every question asked. And brave enough to not demand an answer for every discomfort I faced. 

-I wrote my heart out here, over and over. 

None of these may seem like great adventures to you. But they are adventure nonetheless. And no, I may not be living in a perpetual state of being a risk-taker, but I have moments. I can tell because I can see the markings on the wall. Today, I may be hiding away. Fear may win and the empty ocean may convince me that there is no hope for me to live an adventurous life. But the watermark on the sea wall tells a different story. I’ve been changed by the high tide.

So what about you? On this last day, where is the waterline? Are you in the middle of low tide? Take a closer look. What do the watermarks tell you about how you have been changed this year?


A Christmas Eve Prayer: 2016

Good Father,

How glad we are to be here, to have arrived at this moment with You. How grateful we are to have life on this side of the first Christmas.

Over and over throughout history, Your people cried out to You from the darkness of this world and faithfully, You answered. But the darkness wasn’t only happening to them. They carried the darkness in themselves, as we all have.

So, in Your kindness, at just the right time, You broke into the dead of night, sending Your son, Jesus Christ. The Word of God in flesh. The Word that spoke light into creation, now living among creation as the light of the world.   And this darkness-invading baby, came to rescue us, to heal us.

Yet, we confess, Father, that our eyes are trained to see the darkness. Like the shepherds in the field, watching for the wolves who would attack their sheep, we have learned to watch for what we fear. But their night was interrupted by the good news of a baby born in Bethlehem, The Savior. While they watched for intruders who would bring death to their flocks, the world was invaded by You, Jesus, the one who gives life. And while fear attempts to turn our eyes from You over and over, we invite the interruption of Your radiant light.

In this light, weary hearts are met with peace. In this light, fear shrinks away. In this light, we find life. May our eyes learn to watch for the light, for the movement of the Spirit in the midst of this world.

Tonight we gather to celebrate, not only a day that has come and gone 2000 years ago, but the ongoing work of Christ. We celebrate that by You, Holy Spirit, the Light of Christ continues to be born in our lives, pushing back the dark of night. What better reason is there to celebrate?

The Savior has been born, the Light of the World. What good news! The glory of God, which is in the highest of heaven is now also with us!