A new year…

It’s a new year.  Fresh opportunities.  Bright new goals and aspirations.

…Ehhh…well, that’s the hype and hope, right?  So far my experience with the new year has been denial of my own age, that of my children (Isaac’s really not almost 7, right??), painful news near and far in the relationships I’m a part of in the form of  injuries and illness.  Not the start to the year I was hoping for…

Yet it’s still fresh.  Because God’s mercies are fresh every morning…every day dawning is a chance to sing praise again.  Even if it’s in the midst of gut-wrenching emotions, fears trying to be quenched, weaknesses trying to be overcome and just the general weariness of life sometimes.  I may only be able to whisper praise through sorrow, shame, or fatigue…but with every breath I want to be faithful to do so.  I’m not talking about “shiny happy people” faces that deny painful events or circumstances or put a bandaid on a gaping fatal wound.  I’m talking about crying in the midst of the storms of life, admitting before the throne of God the questions He already knows I have and the anguish that can come in uncertainty.  It’s knowing that “He in all ways was tempted and did not sin” (Heb 4:15).  And while I cannot attain that goal, I can obtain it in Him who died for me, and dwell in the shadow of His wing.

So I look at the horizon of the new year and thank Him for mercies new.  For being 36.  For the rocky road of raising children in each and every stage.  For goals and dreams unanswered, and for those that may, yet unknown to me, rise out of the ashes of those lost. For the preciousness of life…and the eternal life we can have in Him.  Because He makes all things beautiful and new…even if I cannot see it all the time.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

that they may be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3, ESV)