CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | February 2024 EDITION
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Published January 2024
By Melanie Stevenson


Photo: Pinakeen Bhatt

The start of a new year often ushers in a sense of hope and wonder where new beginnings and new adventures await, an anything-is-possible mentality. Other times, it carries sorrow as you look back at the past year bewildered that it didn’t unfold as you had imagined. Perhaps you find yourself somewhere in between, lacking a sense of purpose or anticipation. Whatever the place you find yourself, as you enter 2024, I wanted to pass along this blessing I wrote a while back in hopes that it will stir your faith and rekindle your heart to God, for it is there, in that sacred place with Him, we find hope, healing, and comfort.

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I bless you this year, that you would rise and give your Maker the first fruits of your time. May you draw close enough to hear his voice, the breath of his gentle whisper into your soul, the gesture of his hand beckoning you to sit awhile and listen to things too wonderful for you yet meant for you alone.

As a child longs to be gathered onto her father’s lap, to be dandled on his knee, to be comforted, may it be your irrepressible desire to draw in close to the Lord. As a lover longs, with bursting heart, to be with their one true love, may the Lord’s love likewise overwhelm you, fill you, and warm you with a burning desire to remain in his presence.

May you remove yourself from the entanglements of the world, the snares, and numerous enticements that war for your time, affection, and very soul, and come away to be with the Lord. Jesus made a way for you to enter the Holy of Holies, “for the veil was torn in two” (Mark 15:38). So it was that the physical barrier that separated us from God was removed.

May you enter boldly (Heb 10:19-25) and lay your offering–your very life–at his feet. In that secret place, may you be devastated by his love, utterly undone in the presence of Almighty God (Isa. 6:1-8). May you be transformed, renewed, washed, filled, as a love deluge washes over your soul, cleansing away the soul-silt and rocky barriers that prevent you from being both cleansed and moving forward.

May you leave that place carrying the aroma of God, like incense, with a lingering cloud around you; the very scent of heaven saturating your skin, spirit, soul. May you be ushered into the places you are to tread, where those nearby would stop and lift their faces, and breathe deeply of God’s love, goodness, and mercy that is affixed to you.

May you leave that holy place confident of his abundant love for you, filled to overflowing with his outrageous love, so you will likewise love others without limits and barriers. May you walk in the knowledge of the miraculous things of God, fully expecting his kingdom to come on earth, your faith bolstered by all you have heard and seen, so that nothing can convince you otherwise. For you have lingered in the presence of God and will never be the same.

May you have the desire to return again and again, that action would replace longing, so that you dwell in the secret place, humbling yourself in his presence. Jesus being your intercessor, may you enter freely, fully, and often, so that your iniquity be taken away, and your sin purged (Isaiah 6:6), that you may be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2), in the world but not operating by the world’s system (John 17:14-16), and set apart to speak to the nations (Jerimiah 1:5).

May the winters of your soul melt away, the rains disappear, the flowers blossom within your spirit, and your life.

Blessings to you this new year, in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come. ~ Song of Solomon 2:10-12

Award-winning author Melanie Stevenson
Born in England, Melanie has never lost her love of British tea and gardens. Her family immigrated to Canada when she was five years old and settled in southern Ontario. Years later, she entered the University of Waterloo as an English major and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Growing up, Melanie was passionate about reading, writing, and drawing. She wrote her first novel at age twelve. Since becoming a Christian at age eighteen, she has filled countless journal pages with prayers which became the inspiration behind her devotionals.

One More Tomorrow (September 2019) is Melanie’s debut novel (the first line of which was conceived in an airport terminal) and won Best Romance at the 2020 Word Guild Awards. Her second book, Soul Focus – Trials (November 2019), is a selection of devotionals written over a span of ten years. Melanie was the winner of Best New Canadian Author at the 2020 Word Guild Awards, and received runner up for Best New Manuscript at the 2021 Word Guild Awards.

Passionate about the arts, Melanie is also an abstract painter who specializes in acrylic and oil. For over twenty-five years, she has been involved in theatre and has written and directed numerous stage plays. She continues to teach acting classes to young people and adults.

She and her husband, Ralph, are parents of four amazing humans: Kurtis, Konnor, Elanna, and Keira. For eighteen years, Melanie homeschooled and passed on her love of the arts to her children.

Melanie is passionate about telling others of the healing love of Jesus, and championing others in their faith journey through both the written and spoken word.