Last year, after seeing several people choose a word for the upcoming year, I decided to choose one too. My word for 2013 was treasure. With that word in mind, I had three goals for the year. My first goal was to treasure and take care of the body God gave me and train myself to run a half-marathon. For my second goal, I wanted to treasure my mind and creativity by learning how to use my new DSLR camera and shoot manually. And my last goal was to treasure my heart and soul and learn twelve new Scripture verses/passages, not just memorize them, but know them deep in my soul where their truths could change me. And above all else, I wanted to treasure the people God has put around me, treasure my husband and strengthen our marriage, treasure my girls and my new opportunity to be home with them, treasure my friends and intentionally encourage them. I found my word for 2013 in Mary’s story in Luke 2. While everyone was talking excitedly about the Baby, the Messiah, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Mary knew the Gift she had been given.
Ironically, my word for 2014 came only one chapter earlier in Luke 1. A couple months ago I was writing in my little red Moleskin journal working on some writing for a future project, and I couldn’t get away from the word behold.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. “
Behold. That little word captivated me. It’s a strange word, not one I use often, but it’s used 1326 times in the King James version. I dug around a little and found that behold means to see or observe, especially a remarkable or impressive event. It was used when the writer wanted to grab our attention, cause us to truly see and understand the words and events that would follow. This little word behold introduces the news that will change everything. After all this time, after all this waiting, the angel adds a metaphorical exclamation point to his declaration. Behold.
Be. Take in what He has for me right now, even in the wait. See and observe the gifts all around me, what He is doing in me, what He is showing me about Himself. Lay my agenda down and worship Him for who He is.
Hold. Hold on. Don’t give up. Wrap my arms around Him. Wrestle with Him. Be it thin as dental floss or thick as nautical rope, be always tethered to Christ.
I’m still working on my goals for this year. I know one of them is to continue to write, edging myself to the crest of honest and vulnerable. And I know another is to continue running. Most of my behold moments come when I’m running, leaves littering the path like fall confetti or sunrises painting the pastel sky, or when I’m writing, pen feverishly moving in my little red notebook, heart cracked wide open.
And I can already sense another one will be to literally hold on. I have a tendency to run, to find another solution when things don’t look good, which is to say I have a tendency to control. There is much up in the air with Ethiopian adoptions right now, more news coming each day and most of it I don’t understand. I’m glad the angel mentions that Mary was afraid. I wonder if waiting is always threaded with filaments of fear.
But right there in the middle of her fear, behold. See and observe the Lord. For when I stop and look around, He is always there. I pray this year I am more intentional, more purposeful, more trusting, heart awakened, eyes wide open, ready to behold.