December 31, 2011

The Dawning of the Old Year - Time to Let Go

There have been year's end when I couldn’t wait for the new one to begin. Recent years, where so much begged to be left behind and a new year seemed the perfect opportunity to begin again. Joy and anticipation filled me with hope that I would begin anew, leaving the pain of past days behind me like closing a door and walking away.

I am blessed with a perpetually optimistic approach to life. My glass is usually half to almost full. So when these days, like today, dawn with clarity but less than optimistic ideals, I wonder what happened to deflate my balloon.

It is a reality that all days are not sunshine and roses, and the gloom of yesterday’s rain left me in a fog that confined me to warm covers of my room. In the middle of the night, awoken by my old, hungry cat (this is a nightly routine), looking out into the night sky I saw the brightest of stars right outside my window.

Thinking it was merely a reflection from some light inside, a closer look revealed that the clouds had indeed cleared and the stars were so close I could reach out to touch them, or so it seemed. Orion loomed immense on the western horizon, his feet almost standing in the level of the marsh. It was so beautiful I was tempted to don my winter coat and hat and go for a walk at 3 a.m. But that’s crazy talk in December in Wisconsin, even with a winter as mild as ours has been so far.

After hours of tossing and turning, sleep found me again. And now it is the morning of the last day of this year. I am not sad, but neither am I filled with anticipation at what lies ahead. Out with the old, and in with the new. Promises to myself to eat better, exercise daily, finally clean off my desk… these are nothing new and hold no real strength for diving into a new year with hope.

Why do I not feel that boost of energy, of anticipation? What do I need to jump start my new year with a feeling of hope, anticipation and joy?

Perhaps this is how others feel; people who do not ride on the highs and the lows of life like I do, but who keep a more steady flow in their lives. It isn’t a bad feeling, it just is not me.

Ah, the clouds are clearing and the sun slants across the grass still showing green at year’s end. The wind is low, and the temperature beckons a walk outside to breathe and to pray. As always, I will put my hope in the One who has a plan that I cannot see. I will trust that His love will guide me through all of my days and nights to come. And I know I will feel joy, love, hope, pain and suffering in this year. That is life. But I will hold tight to the love that never fails, never changes, and is always new for me each day – the love of my Savior.
Though I live on the ebb and flow of my emotions, the one constant I have come to know is the steadfast love of God in my life. I am thankful for this buoy to hold onto when I am floundering in vast seas of uncertainty. He keeps me afloat, and presses me onward to fight the good fight. I’m smiling now, the sun grows stronger and I realize my strength comes from beyond this earthly place. Hold onto hope. The Light is your beacon, too. He will guide you on the path of your future. Big smiles now. I’m going outside to greet the day.

Here are some of my favorite Bible verses to bring us hope for the new year and beyond:
God has a good plan for you …   “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

God is always faithful …   “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23

God is always the same …   “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

God’s love endures ….   “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”   Psalm 100:5

                “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107

All verses taken from the New Living Translation

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