With Outstretched Arms

The Christmas tree ornament in the picture above rates in my top three favorites, along with the plump sugar plum fairy with the dangling legs and the vintage plastic gazebo looking ornament with the metal inside that twirls from the heat of the tree lights. That was from my mom’s collection. Notice I didn’t have to pretend anymore that my favorites were the toothpick framed second grade school picture of our son or the glitter-bedazzled mini dixie cups. Those have been promptly delivered to their adult creators to deck their own halls … or not.

I love this ornament because it makes me smile. The carefree joy on her face and the way she seems to be flying with outstretched arms in a wide-open space are things that I long for. Especially after the year we have just experienced, a very confining year.

But not a wasted year.

Yesterday I pulled out a book I hadn’t looked at in a while entitled The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. The title of the reading for the day, December 30, was “Laying the Foundation.” She states, “The groundwork has been laid. Do you not see that? Don’t you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose? There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release. You have been prepared.”

She then goes on to use the analogy of a builder and how they must tear down the old to make way for the new. 

What is old and decayed must be removed, replaced or reinforced. If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense.

This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.  

Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.
Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.
It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Congratulations! You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.
Now, you shall see the purpose.
Now, it shall all come together and make sense.

Meet God in the wide-open spaces of this new year. Meet him with outstretched arms in joyful gratitude for all He has worked and healed in you.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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