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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pushing the Reset Button: Parenting In The Year of Jubilee

It's the 8th of January 2015, eighth day of the new year. I find myself lying in bed with the flu, not a particularly good start after having had our boys home with us for almost a week now since Mark and I celebrated our 7th anniversary in Kunming in the last week of December. It was a good Christmas break with lots of time spent as a family. Now it's time to settle down into a new routine, new homeschool year, new projects for our company, new roads to take and new opportunities for faith to be grown and deepened. 

I wonder if anyone reading this has started the year feeling tired? Anyone worried about what lies ahead, uncertain about family health or finances, or whether that child with special needs will be able to overcome further obstacles in the year ahead? Or if the one who struggled academically will be able to make it through another difficult year? Some of the friends we know went through more losses in 2014 than some people do in a lifetime. I thought of them often as the new year dawned.
I have always been the "glass half empty" person in our marriage. My husband sees new opportunities and challenges through hope-coloured lenses. He sees the glints of light through the storm clouds and is usually the one who tries to wing it by dashing to the car in a drizzle. I am the one who rummages through my bag, fingers safely clasped tight onto my foldable umbrella in case the rain should come again. We make a good team. Neither gets too wet nor overly worried, and in the end we both reach our destination none the worse for our differences.
The "Dream Team" - Celebrating our 7th Wedding Anniversary in Kunming, China.
December marked the seventh year of our marriage. On Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon about what seven years meant to the Israelites in biblical times. God meant for His people to work for six days and rest on the seventh; to toil the land for six years and leave it fallow for the seventh. Agriculturally, that made perfect sense. Financially, however, it was a whole thing altogether for an agricultural people who depended on the land to not work it at all and to trust that they would have enough for an entire year. 

What was even more interesting - God's promise that the harvest from the sixth year would be so bountiful that it would last them not just for the seventh year of Sabbath, but for the eighth and ninth year after! I am not sure what I would have done had I been living in those times as the seventh year approached. I'd probably have suffered from a nervous breakdown in the middle of the sixth year.
Abundance! Treasuring our holiday rest in Perth, Australia.


Then there was the biggie - seven years times seven! The Year of Jubilee. Every 49 years, God would hit the Reset Button. This was a huge thing. Not only did the land need to lie fallow that year, but everything would be restored to its original state. Land ownership would fall back along family lines. Slaves would be set free. The economy would go back to its original state. And God's people were commanded to rest. There's something so great about the year of Jubilee - it shows that there truly can never be any mistakes with God; whatever happens in those 49 years preceding, even those things meant for evil, God turns them all to good.

I'm not sure how many weary Mummies and tired Daddies who are reading this are thinking about the mistakes we have made in the past year. We long for a Reset Button. There are parenting choices and decisions we have made which we may regret, or continue to question the wisdom of in the new year. Certain traits we see in our children which we wonder if we could have done something earlier about. Financial and vocational decisions which have left us worried about how we will get through the year. All we long for is some rest to replace the worry and weariness. We long for a new year to bring a new start, but all it seems to bring are numerous unknowns. 

We feel like Peter staring out into the murky waters, suddenly realizing that our feet are not on solid ground. Thankfully though, there is no way but forward, into the safest Arms of Love there can be. We have no Anchor but God to hold onto. Thankfully, that is more than enough.

This year marks Singapore's fiftieth birthday. Our busy little nation is having its Year of Jubilee. I am not sure if as a nation we will be able to learn what it means to hit the Reset Button and rest. But that's what the Jubilee was meant to be - a year of rest and restoration. A year of trusting in Him.
What future do we have as a nation?


The fiftieth year is all about Faith - because we cannot rest without trusting God to take care of things while we are seemingly inactive. But true faith is active, and not an easy state to achieve. It is what we as a family hope to strive for in this year of Jubilee. To trust that He will provide such an abundant harvest of faith and fruitfulness that it will last us threefold years; that He will continue to watch over our children and let them grow in wisdom and favour; that He will give Mark and I wisdom and favour in our work and as we parent and homeschool our children.

Praying that you and your families will also experience the rest and restoration that have been intended for you in this year of Jubilee.
Looking into the future.

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