Celebration, Gratitude and Hope

By Nora O. Lozano

Para leer en español haga clic aquí.

It is a new year, and there is much to celebrate, be thankful for, and hope for.

To start, I want to celebrate the CLLI blog’s first anniversary. Thanks to the good work of all the monthly writers, the editorial committee, the translators, as well as our blog coordinator and publisher, Anyra Cano, we are completing one year of publications. We are also very grateful for you, our faithful readers. Thank you for reading the blog every month. I hope that during this past year your life as a Christian leader was enriched by each one of the published pieces.

As we start our second year of publication, the blog will deal with different topics that are pertinent to the life of the Christian woman leader. We invite you to continue reading the blog every month. We trust that you will be blessed, encouraged, and challenged as you continue your journey as a leader.

In addition to the blog’s anniversary, we are thankful for many other things. The CLLI trainings continue with great success, helping to develop many Christian women leaders here in United States and in Mexico. The CLLI donors and friends continue giving generously to help us achieve our goal of transforming women’s lives in the name of Christ. The CLLI faculty, coordinators, and staff continue working diligently to serve all of our students in the different sites, while the Board continues to oversee and guide the CLLI ministry. I am so thankful for all these people who play a vital role in the life of the Institute. They are indeed a gift from God!

Furthermore, we are looking at the future with much hope. This is the year that the CLLI Board will be charting, together with the staff, the new strategic plan that will guide the CLLI course over the next five years. We are excited about this process, and we cherish your prayers as we discern God’s will and plans for the CLLI.   

I hope that you have welcomed also the New Year with much celebration, gratitude, and hope.

I invite you to celebrate and be thankful for the small and big things in your life. Take a moment to remember the things that we often take for granted, such as health, shelter, work, clean water, food, clothes, family, and the presence of God in our lives.

By the time this blog is published, it will be almost the end of January. Perhaps at this point in the year, many of us are facing broken New Year resolutions, and are frustrated with our lack of commitment. 

Regardless of your situation, I want to invite you to continue to look at the New Year with a sense of hope. While our yearly resolutions may be broken, I encourage you to make new plans— perhaps monthly or weekly resolutions— that may be more easily achievable and will keep you motivated. If we set a weekly goal, and we break it, very soon it will be Monday again, and we will have a new chance to start again.

Since our lives are very diverse, I am assuming that our goals for 2020 most likely are also very different. However, I am reminded of John Maxwell’s affirmation that a good leader must first learn to lead herself or himself. 

As you learn to lead, ask yourself what areas of your life you need to change? What do you need to improve in order to “be a truly effective leader, the kind people want to follow” (John Maxwell, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, p. ix)?

While this personal work is important, I want to invite you also to keep working on the most important foundation of your life: your relationship with God.

Psalm one offers good advice to establish a solid foundation for life. In verses 1-3, the Psalmist invites us to delight and meditate constantly in God’s Word, and to stay away from bad companions and evil doers. These actions will lead us to be blessed persons, indeed. The Bible compares this blessed person to a strong tree that is planted by steams of water, yielding fruit in its season, and without losing any leaves. This kind of person is prosperous in everything that she or he does. 

Regardless if you are facing any particular challenges right now, any good leader always has room for growth and development. May this Psalm inspire you in the New Year to anchor your life in God’s word and in the good actions that will come from this relationship. May it inspire you to become the leader that God wants you to be, and that people would want to follow.

And as you grow and develop this year, please remember that the CLLI is here to help you in your development as a leader. So let’s pray for each other as we continue with our leadership journeys, and let’s support each other as we pursue God’s plan for our lives.  

The year 2020 is still young, and thus a blank slate. Under God’s blessings, let’s make it a prosperous and blessed one! May it be so!

Dr. Nora O. Lozano is Executive Director of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute, and Professor of Theological Studies at Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio, TX.