Somehow, in the hurry and bustle of the Christmas season, I needed grace. I needed calm. I needed peace.

I started counting gifts again, paying attention to the grace-gifts God had given me and writing them down. (Once again, when I need a reminder, the best way for me to process is to write. Go figure.)

And I kept reading the books God laid on my heart. From Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift and Revelation, God kept showing me this theme: He makes all things new.

Towards the end of the year, God showed me my word for 2014: shalom.

Shalom is more then just simply peace; it is a complete peace. It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being and harmony,” says The Refiner’s Fire. And, y’all? The idea of completeness and wholeness scared the mess out of me.

When our previous years had been so, so hard? When there were so many issues, so many hurts, so much pain? When things had looked so grim for so long, how on earth would we see shalom?

When I announced my word for 2014 on Instagram, I muddled through the explanation, saying that I doubted it would look like an easy climb or an immediate restoration. And it hasn’t been.

We’ve had several twists in our story, several times this year when we questioned what we were doing, and several times when we thought things would work one way and then they didn’t. At all.

For the rest of this month (all 9 days, and possibly after), I plan on sharing just how God has moved in our lives this year. In ways that I didn’t expect and in ways that I had only hoped. The rest of the posts should be shorter, but I make no guarantees.

Advent means coming, and this year has been a long time of coming.

This post is part of a 31 Days series on Raising My Ebenezer, part of my story and my own testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. As the song Come Thou Fount says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thine help I’m come.” For the month of October, I’ll be writing our story, outlining the Ebenezers in recognition of His mighty hand on our lives. His doings and His workings because of and sometimes in spite of our best efforts. My hope is that you’ll see a lot of Him and little to none of me. Because in the end, it is by His help that we have come this far.


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