Was it Venezuela? Maybe Siberia? It could have been St. Petersburg, Russia.
I don’t remember now.
All I know is a million years ago when I was in my young 20’s I met a teenager named Alece Ronzino…we met over a mutual love for the mission field. I think she was a carnivalite because for some reason I can picture a painted triangle on her cheek, but mostly I remember her amazing smile, how her eyes lit up as she laughed, and her undeniable positive attitude in spite of our meager missionary circumstances.
Alece is a grown up now and has lived more life than I know she has wanted. All of it, however, has molded and shaped her into the godly, authentic woman she is today.
We haven’t kept in touch over the years, but we were reconnected thanks to small worlds and the Internet a couple years ago via our mutual friend, Sarah Markley…another godly, authentic woman.
Alece is the real deal. Her blog, Grit and Glory, speaks for itself in the title. I encourage you to head there and be challenged and inspired to draw closer to God’s grace and unconditional love as a result of reading some of her story.
Anyway, why am I writing about Alece? Well, she has founded a movement called “One Word 365” of basically putting into words what has been on my heart for quite some time now. I encourage you to head there to check it out.
This post isn’t actually about Alece, though I’m thankful to her for the creative way to share. It’s actually about:
|I’m actually being intentional to physically write with ink and paper this year, as opposed to just typing…|
Last year in early fall I began a Bible study with one friend that I know and love dearly and a room full of other women, some whose faces I knew and others I learned that day. We had gathered to study the book of Daniel together and though I had read that particular chapter of the Bible a couple of times over the years, I wasn’t sure what was in store for my heart.
All I knew was I was grateful for a setting where I didn’t know everyone, I wasn’t in charge, we had a focus and purpose, and I knew God would meet me face to face because time was being set apart specifically to study His word.
2012 was a year of intention for me, particularly in the area of loving myself. I appreciate how it sounds, though I’m not talking about lipstick kisses on my mirror and splurges at the shoe store. I’m talking about 40 years of not loving myself, never appreciating that God made me for a reason, hours, days, years spent wasted on hating myself, all the while giving the Devil more and more power over my thoughts, fears, and dreams. The theme of loving myself manifested in many ways, especially in the pursuit of more time one on one with God’s word. On practical levels it showed up in outing myself as a closet eater, signing up for a massage of the month club, having more dates with my husband, telling the lies in my head to go to hell, sitting for hours reading Seuss to my 2 year old and other hours reading classics with my 10 year old. I loved myself by flying to Austin, Texas, to meet old and new girlfriends intentional in the pursuit of sisterhood. I re-launched my non-profit, Bevy Girls, and have loved the small group of women gathering with similar passion. I sat with my 90+ grandpa and asked him important questions and held his hand as I listened. I’ve had some good heart to hearts. I bought a treadmill and some dumbbells. I read more. I listened. I said yes. I said no.
And there were many days where I totally screwed up and was intentional and hell-bent on hurting myself, not seeing myself as a person worthy of my own love, let alone feeling God’s.
I think the theme for 2013 will be similar, however the wording is a little different and the focus.
I still am learning how to love myself. However, I really don’t like focusing on me. It leaves a nasty aftertaste.
No, I want to live with INTENTION, sure in loving myself and taking care of myself, but first and foremost, intention with my dear and beautiful, gracious and loving God. He’s never been anything other than steady in my life. He’s loved and pursued me with intention, yet there have been seasons where I have not reciprocated.
Practical application of INTENTION: In the Daniel study I am doing, the book starts out with Daniel being intentional in his health, study, leadership, and stewardship of gifts, and not for himself only and the benefits he would reap, but for God and His bigger picture.
It says that three times a day Daniel knelt down to give thanks to God.
It doesn’t say he gave God a short order, every prayer request in the book, or a list as long as Santa’s.
It says he knelt down three times a day and thanked God.
My translation: Daniel was INTENTIONAL in his pursuit of God…and everything else followed thereafter.
So far as I’ve sat INTENTIONALLY with God, I haven’t found my life to be perfect, however, I have found when I am INTENTIONAL about putting Him first, everything else is doable, even those things which appear insurmountable.