Today is the day, the first day of 2017 CE. Common Era. I love how they tried to eliminate the whole BC-Before Christ and AD – Anno Domini (in the year of our Lord), but really, what makes the Common Era, common? The division is still delineated by none other than the history changing presence of Jesus Christ on the earth. The world can try to erase His existence and ongoing influence…they can try all they want…
Moving on, today is the first of January in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen. And I absolutely welcome it. I’m not just wishing happy new year in a trite, habitual manner; no, I absolutely welcome 2017, red carpet rolled out and eyes bright with anticipation at what this year will bring.
Some people might say, “Yeah, I’m glad it’s here, too; couldn’t wait to say sayonara to 2016!” That’s really not my case. I am thrilled with the prospects of 2017 because of what the Lord brought to me during 2016. My heart is so filled with gratitude and thrilled to watch His hand at work in my life and in the lives of others – it was a truly fantastic year!
What was so fantastic? Well…
…My spiritual life – my understanding of God as my Heavenly Father and my ongoing relationship with Him through Jesus Christ – has become stronger. After years of wandering in a spiritual netherland, not really knowing what I believed or why or if I did at all, 2015 and then 2016 became an ongoing adventure in hearing God’s voice and learning to obey. I’ve experienced obedience as the way to my truest freedom and, although I’ve a long way to go in the trust department, I’ve learned far more readily trust my Father, even when I don’t understand what’s happening at the moment.
…My professional life has been growing in leaps and bounds. Again, starting in 2015, I experienced what can only be described as a miraculous, midlife career change, transitioning from social work to music education. There have been some major challenges along the way – re-entering grad school and, after only one year, a sudden, very unexpected transfer from primary to secondary music – but each of these challenges is forcing me to more fully rely on God (F.R.O.G.) day by day and is helping shape me into someone that looks a bit more like His Son.
…My personal life: when I see where God has brought me over the last two years (yes, one more time, going back to 2015) in my family relationships and friendships, I stand utterly amazed. There were times when I didn’t think our marriage would survive…we celebrated 19 years in August! We bought our first (and last, I think) house together two months ago! I can look at my husband today and truly confess that I love him more than any other human on this planet…and that’s only because God has so beautifully healed my once utterly broken heart and psyche. And in so doing, He has surrounded me with a web of precious brothers and sisters in Christ that pray with me, laugh with me, and mourn with me. And as they have borne my stretcher, dropping me into the direct presence of that Great Physician, I have found myself able to bear some of their burdens, as well.
2016 was a year of beauty, healing, and growth. Regardless of the difficulties along the way, I can only say, “Thank you, Father, for a great year…that and better will do!”
Happy New Year, and a hearty welcome to 2017!