Hello & Happy New Year!
I hope you had a Merry Christmas spent with loved ones celebrating the birth of our Savior.
We had a wonderfully busy Christmas season all the way through December 25th. Our break began on December 26th, in the wee hours of the morning as we headed to the mountains of North Carolina. We left the warm sunshine for significantly colder weather and a much-appreciated change of scenery. This was our second year heading to the mountains to experience a little winter fun. Our minivan was packed full with the six of us, lots of luggage, loads of excitement, and anticipation!
This feeling of expectancy was one I’d hoped to hold on to as we headed into 2019 a week later. We were on our way home and headed down the mountain for a stop in Charlotte, NC. On the way up the mountain we completed our trip in one day, but decided to take our time heading home. It had been a fantastic week, filled with snowy adventures, board games, exploring a new city, and only a few squabbles between our three kiddos. Our pace slowed as we adapted to mountain time, creating time to breathe and enjoy the slow pace of this small ski town.
As New Year’s Day arrived I felt a heaviness I couldn’t shake. A heaviness I didn’t want to embrace. I was heading into 2019 with a few things I didn’t want to be facing:
The weight of unanswered prayers and areas of my life where I felt God had been silent in 2018.
The weight of parenting challenges that I hoped to be on the other side of this year.
The weight of changing seasons which has led to changes in relationships.
The weight of hurt and disappointments I thought I was “over” and didn’t want to drag into another year.
But in order to go forward, and embrace the “NEW,” my word for 2019, I was beginning to realize a digging up of old pains and hardened areas of my heart must occur. Then the new could take place. I’ve been listening to a song by Hillsong entitled, New Wine. There’s a part of the song I can’t get out of my head –
“In the crushing – in the pressing – You are making New wine
In the soil, I Now surrender You are breaking New ground”
I was excited for the new things in 2019, but wasn’t prepared for the necessary surrendering of the old.
Nearly a week later the heaviness finally started to lift. A week of praying, reading my bible, asking God to allow the heaviness to lighten. I asked my husband and a couple of close friends to pray for me. I also trusted that this would pass, even when it didn’t feel like it would.
Nevertheless, it was a week of pushing myself be present and appreciate each moment. We were still on our trip home and I didn’t want to miss out. I wasn’t going to let the heaviness consume me to the point that I couldn’t participate in the end of our winter break adventure. I have been through seasons of sitting out in the past; where hurt, grief, difficulties, disappointments, and physical illness kept me on the sidelines. But not this week!
When we returned home, I had a few fun things planned with the kids and I wanted to continue being present. There were a couple of days scheduled with friends at the park and the beach. These outings were something I needed as much as they did. I also attended a charming baby shower and a fabulous lunch with some beautiful women that weekend. And I enjoyed them both! I knew God was renewing me in the midst of the heaviness. A heaviness that I couldn’t fully describe and couldn’t share with everyone. God was working, I needed to be still and continue walking in faith.
I don’t know if you’re carrying anything heavy into 2019, but God does. Don’t lose heart! Keep trusting; day by day, and even moment by moment. The digging up of the old feels painful, heavy and even unnecessary sometimes. However, in order to truly be made new, the old has to go! Matthew 9:17 says, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
I’m praying for the new God wants to do in you this year; especially the new He wants to bring about in areas you might think could never be made new. I’m Trusting God that it is no coincidence you’re reading this. The best gift of all is the abundant, undeserved, never-ending grace of Jesus. This amazing grace allows me to miss the mark day after day, still get up, and try again. It’s because of His grace upon grace that I get to share my story and continue being renewed day by day. I hope you embrace the gift of amazing grace poured out for you on the cross.
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8