2017…the year that for the past year and a half we’ve been praying into and believing to be of great significance. A year filled with expectancy. A year filled with anticipation…it’s finally here.
I don’t know that I have ever anxiously awaited a year like I have this one. Yes of course I looked forward to our wedding day, but Daniel and I got engaged and married within the same year. 2017 has been in my heart from the moment Daniel talked about his idea of being able to travel the nation blazing a trail of fire together as a family back in the spring of 2015. From that moment, that’s all I have been able to see. I would continually tell Daniel, “all I can see right now is selling everything we have and traveling together in an RV for 2017 and unless you tell me that the Lord is saying something different, that’s where I’m putting my faith.” We prayed, sought guidance from spiritual leaders, trusted friends and family and then prayed some more…okay we prayed a lot! Over and over, confirmation after confirmation we felt the Lord was saying this was His plan for our family in 2017.
It’s one thing to hear the Lord and know the direction that He’s set for you to take and another thing to actually follow through with it. Why do we often think it is so hard to obey what the Lord has said? I always tell our kids, “it’s a lot easier when you listen and obey.” Truth. The consequences of listening and obeying are far better than the consequences of the decision to disobey or choose to do things your own way (can I get an amen?!?).
Saying yes to the Lord means we fully surrender our lives to Christ and He is Lord of ALL. It means that you allow the Lord to have complete control of your life, that you trust Him and that you will follow where He leads. Too often when people come to Christ, they pray a prayer, but continue to live the way they want to live and never come into the fullness of what it means to live surrendered. I realize that can be a scary concept for people who like to be in control and cringe at the idea of not having every detail of their lives planned. I understand. I like having a plan. I like things to be organized and knowing what is going on. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t find living a life of complete surrender worrisome, I find it to be full of freedom! Placing my life into the hands of the One who sees my tomorrows and knows the plans He has in store for me is the best decision I’ve made.
That doesn’t mean that life has been a bed of roses and everything is always perfect. I’ve faced trials. I’ve gone through hardships. I’ve had times where I didn’t understand, couldn’t see His plan and asked the why question multiple times. Yet, my answer and commitment to Christ remains. I still say, “yes”!
Yes. Such a simple word, but packed full of power. Sometimes it’s simple to say yes. Other times it can be more difficult. Not too long ago a friend of mine asked me what was the one thing that is critical to surviving and thriving in ministry (and I would add that it’s not just in ministry but being a follower of Christ as well) for the long haul. Loaded question, right?!? My answer was simple…you said “yes” when He called. “Yes” to His plan, His purpose and His will. With that “yes” you were also agreeing to the hard times, hurt and disappointments you would receive from others. “Yes” to every battle you would face. “Yes” to the victories. “Yes” to the successes and failures because it is through those times, though painful, you experience true growth. “Yes” to trusting Him with every detail of your life. “Yes” to getting out of the boat when He says to come. “Yes” to the future though you can’t always see what’s ahead but at the same time remembering that you have nothing to go back to. You’ve burned the ships and abandoned everything by choosing to say “yes”. And it is that “yes” that pushes you to press forward and fulfill His purpose upon your life, not for your sake but for the sake of the ones you are called to serve. “But let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’…” Matthew 5:37.
Every Christmas we do our best to make sure our kids know that the reason we celebrate is because Christ came. Emmanuel, God with us. We ask them what they want to give Jesus for His birthday. One year, Reijah gave Him a key. If you ever visited our home, you would have noticed a large key perfectly placed on the wall by our front door. She wanted to give Jesus a key so that He could come in any time He wanted. He was welcome. He is always welcome. One year, they drew Him pictures and placed them under the tree (I’m sure He put them on the giant refrigerator in heaven!). This year, Caden thought Jesus might like Disney Infinity characters to play on the Xbox. Chase thought He needed something yellow. Reijah kept contemplating on what she could give Him. One day as I was in prayer, I remember saying, “Jesus, as a family, we say ‘yes’ to you”. Then it hit me. What better gift could we give Him than our “yes” ? So it was off to Hobby Lobby I went to get supplies for our family gift to Jesus. I bought three wooden letters…a Y, an E and an S and a pallet board that we could adhere them to. Daniel sat down with each one of the kids as they each painted a letter. Reijah said, “why are we painting the word ‘yes’?“. And then followed that up with “ohhhhh, is it because we are saying ‘yes’ to all God has for us?”. Bingo! You got it girl (proud momma)! We then together talked about how this year we would give a family gift to Jesus for His birthday. Our “yes”.
So this year, as we embark on a new adventure, we the Norris family say “yes!”. “Yes” to His perfect will. “Yes” to the adventure. “Yes” to the assignment He has placed us on. “Yes” to seeing the country in a new and different way. “Yes” to 300 square feet and no personal space. “Yes” to the late nights and early mornings. “Yes” to the tears. “Yes” to the laughter. “Yes” to contending for revival within our nation. “Yes” to educating our children both in the natural and spiritual in a somewhat unconventional way. “Yes” to the moments of frustration and feelings like I’ve failed. “Yes” to the victories that will outweigh the struggles and frustration. “Yes” to the stretching. “Yes” to the growth that will take place because of the stretching. “Yes” not for our sake, but for our kids’ sake and the sake of those we are called to serve. It’s that simple. We say “yes”.
What about you? Are there areas in your life you need to fully surrender to the Lord? How is Jesus calling you and what will your answer be? Why not start 2017 and join us in saying “yes”.