The Bible records a story of ten men whom Jesus cured of leprosy. No doubt, all ten were joyful and grateful, but only one of them took the time to come back and thank Jesus. Beginning a new year is not only a time to plan for the future, but also a great opportunity to thank the Lord for all He has done in the past.
As I reflect on 2016, I am grateful…grateful to God and grateful to you. I think of all of the women I met this year while on the road speaking. I think of the letters, emails and messages we’ve gotten about how God has used this ministry to encourage, to teach and to bring healing. I’m thankful that we are ending the year with our bills paid because many of you sent in year-end gifts. I’m so thankful that I get to be a small part of proclaiming to the world the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
You probably don’t know some of the behind the scenes struggles, difficult decisions and God stories of Authentic Intimacy. This ministry began by faith in 2012. Neither Linda Dillow nor I knew what the ministry would become. We simply took each step as the Lord showed us what to do next. Linda has taught me the difference between asking God to bless my work and diligently seeking to know and do the Lord’s work.
Many ministries (and marriages) begin by God’s initiative, but then we take them over with our own planning, wisdom and resources. “I think we should…” “If only…., we could…” Paul scolded the Galatians for this, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). While God wants us to be wise and to seek counsel, He doesn’t want us to live by our own wisdom and provision. There are times when it’s much easier to create a 3 year plan than it is to be daily dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a tension I often live with as I lead Authentic Intimacy.
I share all of that to let you know that my heart’s desire for 2017 and beyond is for the Lord to be in charge of this ministry. He has asked me to relinquish my plans and to be sure we consistently seek His will. I believe that we serve a God who speaks, who leads and who provides.
Within the first few months of the new year, we may be announcing some changes to the vision and structure of Authentic Intimacy. Would you pray with me that God would make His ways clear? He is the One who came to set the captives free, to give us eternal life, and to expose the lies of our enemy. He is the One who can bring healing and freedom to the millions around us who unknowingly have been taken captive by the devil to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). He is the One who knows why He started this ministry in the first place!
Thank you for caring about this ministry, for caring about God’s glory and for caring about those who are hurting around us. I look forward to all the Lord has for us in 2017! Buckle up… it’s likely to be a wild ride!