What does the New Year hold for us?

When my vision for the year came to me about this time last December, I wrote it down with a mix of trepidation and excitement. 2013 would be a year filled with challenges and opportunities to step out into God’s plan for us!I heard God speaking to me as my family and I stood at the top of a hill looking down over a shrouded valley. My daughter and her husband stood a little away from us and I understood that their journey would be just as challenging but would be on a different road from the rest of us.  They would move out and begin their journey of a new family together.I could not see any of the events. I’m glad I could not see them. It was almost too much just to go through them. I barely hung on for the ride through the year.I started the year creating daily devotions based on my studies of the verse given to me, Joshua 1:1-9. Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed. For I, the Lord God, am with you wherever you go.I studied verses in the bible that had to do with strength and courage. I studied verses that had to do with not fearing, not being anxious, not being afraid. I saw that many were. I studied verses about not being dismayed, not being discouraged, not giving up.And in July, the avalanche of events began. Some were happy and joyful. Some were full of sorrow. Some I didn’t understand and some I may never understand. There was loss. There was change. There were visits and excitement and deep sorrow.In the midst of these things I held onto one truth. God is always with me. He holds me in his arms. He cuddles me. He looks into my eyes and understands my sorrows. He guides me through my days. He waits patiently for me to come to him. He helps me stumble through my days. He gives me the strength to keep moving. He gives me the courage to take a step, to make a stand. He gives me the strength and the courage to allow someone else to follow their path to God, find their place in this life, without interference from me. He gives me encouragement and peace when there is no encouragement or peace to be had.This new year will be filled with the consequences, the endings, and the culmination of the things that began in 2013. There will be excitement. There will be intense sorrow. There will be great joy. There will be hard work to do and strength needed to accomplish it all. In the midst of this storm called life, there is peace. There is joy. There is grace. There is mercy. There is kindness. There is gentleness. There is patience. And there is love. God is the center of my life and the source of my strength. He is the reason that I go forward.So what is the vision for this year? I cannot see a vista In front of me. I can barely see my family around me for the fog of life that surrounds us. We are in the midst of a battle or a storm. At times we feel lost and angry. Sometimes we are joyful in the small spaces of light and clarity. We seek peace and hope in a world seething with angry impatience and dissatisfied souls.I return again to the verses that have sustained me for years.Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;     don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;     he’s the one who will keep you on track.Jeremiah 29:11-13 I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.Deuteronomy 31:6-8 “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”

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