The new year is upon us now, but as is common at this time of year, it has me reflecting on the past year. As I think back on the past year, one word comes to mind: Messy. I lost several loved ones prematurely for my liking. Several relationships proved challenging and difficult. Changes in business and ministry direction occurred which I wasn’t expecting. And several friends and I received painful cancer diagnoses and began treatment.
Those were things that primarily happened to me. Things I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Yet our messes don’t just include the things that happen to us, do they?
It’s that time of year again—that time when we naturally start taking an assessment of how our year has gone, and an inventory of the goals we both did and didn’t achieve over the course of the year. How does that make you feel?
Every year we seem to start off the same way. New Year’s Day comes and we are filled with anticipation, excitement, and resolve to make this the best year yet. Frequently, somewhere along the line, our motivation or perhaps our momentum gets suspended. Often, we mess up and give up believing not only have we failed, but we are a failure.
Does the end of one year and start of the next leave you frustrated or disappointed? Was last year all you had anticipated it would be? Did things go as you planned, or at some point did you find yourself upside down or inside out from where you expected?
If you had asked me a year ago to bullet point for you what my year would hold, I can tell you now, I would have been way off base. I never would have predicted neck surgery, a boating accident with my son with subsequent surgery, being directed by God to close my private practice and enter into a season of rest before being diagnosed and undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer.
He looked deep into my eyes before pulling me in close for a hug and kissing me on the forehead. My son, preparing to graduate from high school, now towers over my petite frame. “It’s going to be ok, Mom.”
I smiled, not quite sure who he was trying to reassure—me or him. “I know it is, Son. God has big plans for you and I can’t wait to watch you explore the path He has set before you. And no matter where that is, I’ll always be your biggest cheerleader!”
The start of a new year reminds me a bit of freshly fallen snow covering the old debris and offering a new blank canvas to write the future. But with the onset of every new year, I find myself first reflecting on the year past: the pitfalls, the mistakes, the trials, the joys, and the blessings. [more]