The doorbell rang. My heart leaped as my three dear friends came bearing gifts and plates of food for our feast. I set out my favorite tea pot and cups. My friend Amy busied herself in the kitchen brewing chai. The aroma of cloves, cinnamon, and ginger swirled through the house. Terry warmed the homemade tortillas with papas and soyrizo. My tongue anticipated the flavors of her homemade roasted salsa. Yasmin burst through the door balancing a cardamom coffee cake on a platter.
Before I even took a bite, my heart was full.
We only gather a few times a year so this time together is sacred. When our kids were younger, we were together almost weekly. We forged our friendship chasing toddlers at story times, chatting at park play dates, and nursing infants on the sidelines of games. We savored long afternoons sipping chai while the kids ran wild through the house. Husbands’ jobs, different schools, and diverse career paths now take us in different directions.
After almost a decade, we still try to find a day in January for our Word Party. The gathering is our chance to reflect on the past year and to look into the future with eager eyes. We each choose one word to embody our year. We commit to studying, following, contemplating, cradling, and dwelling on that one word for 365 days to see what God reveals.
Every year is different. Every year God teaches us something surprising through these words. It’s good for my soul to pause with these friends and share what we have learned on the year’s journey.
I filled my plate and told my mama-friends that my word for 2019 was “abundance.” Perhaps this was a bold choice after several years of navigating grief and transition in our family. I was eager for a fresh start, a new perspective.
Deep in the earth of my heart, I felt like God was inviting me into a harvest season after a long stretch of pruning and resting. Looking back, now I know God started by excavating some of my misconceptions about scarcity and abundance.
Scarcity worries about not having enough. It’s focused on the worst-case scenario. It’s concerned about what everyone else thinks. It believes that someone else’s success or happiness will put you behind.
This past year, God showed me His abundance is quantified in a different way from the scarcity mindset and the prosperity the world chases. We cannot hustle, strive after, or claim entitlement to abundance. Abundance is not about storing up material wealth but embracing the abundant life God has fashioned just for us.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
I am learning to pivot away from the guilt, shame, and fear the Enemy taunted me with after my husband’s death. God gifted me a new husband, a new house, a new church family, a new chapter in life. He invites me to open these gifts and stop apologizing for them.
Psalm 31:19 reminds us: “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”
God has good things for all of us, starting with His lavish love and grace. Sometimes He gifts us community to lift us up. Sometimes He entrusts us with resources. Sometimes He may bestow on us a talent, a passion, or a gift that can be used for His glory. Abundance allows us to accept His good gifts and share them with others without hesitation.
Friend, is there a gift God’s given you that you are leaving unopened or burying in your closet?
This year God brought me some unexpected blessings, including a book contract and opportunities to speak and share His glory story with others. These were seed dreams of mine that today the Master Gardener chooses to grow.
Living in abundance isn’t about flaunting our prosperity or gifts. It’s an invitation into gratitude and generosity. I know in my heart the depth of my poverty apart from God so I am eager to share His abundance with those around me.
I believe God has abundance for you and me in this new year. Let’s lean in to look for it. Let’s stop acting like the Israelites in the desert who complained about the manna from Heaven. Let’s not be like that one servant who buried the talent entrusted to him for fear of losing it. Let’s live in abundance, pointing others to Christ with our attitudes and generosity.
This weekend my friends and I will gather again for our Word Party. This time, our friend Amy will host at her new place in Southern California. We will reflect and reveal our words for 2020. I’m sure there will be an abundance of food and chai, laughter and tears. This year, I’m spreading my wings and choosing the word “Soar” to guide me into the new year.
What’s one word or theme that you will be following in 2020?
*Dorina has a new devotional book, Walk, Run, Soar, that will be released in Fall 2020. Sign up for her Glorygram here and get all the insider details about this exciting new project!
Abundance allows us to accept His good gifts and share them with others without hesitation. -@DorinaGilmore: Click To Tweet