A Fresh New Year

January is always so bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I am sad Christmas is over. Usually we have just come back from visiting my family in Florida (like we just did) and it is back to reality all too quickly. But on the other hand, I love the newness of a new year. I like looking forward and planning ahead. I like anticipating what the year could bring. And who doesn't like a fresh start?

January, with all it's dreariness, does bring with it a sense of new beginnings. It reminds us that we are getting a second chance at this whole life thing. As Christians, that is an encouraging reminder. God is in the business of second chances and giving us grace to try again. He doesn't leave us to ourselves, but instead provides us with a way forward through Christ.

I look forward to the new year not because I have it all together. I don't even come close. Instead, I look forward to the new year because I have seen God work in the previous year and I am anxious to see him work again. As we reflected on all that God did this year in our own family, we were filled with wonder and excitement about what he would continue to do. For us, it was hard to top this past year. We started the year anxiously awaiting the arrival of our twin boys and ended the year with two happy ten month olds. We started the year in a two bedroom apartment and ended in our first house. It definitely was a year to be remembered!

But as we prepare for 2014, we are reminded that not every new year started with such great memories of years gone by. Some of them started with much sadness and longing for God to act. Every year we have had together has been from his gracious hand. And we thank him for all of it. The sweetness of 2013 was only made sweeter by the bitterness of 2010, 2011, and half of 2012. We knew what it meant to be longing, and we knew what it meant to be filled.

For me, this is what the new year brings. Fresh hope. Hope that God will continue to complete the good work be began in my husband and me. Hope that by his grace I will be more like him next year than this year. Hope that my children will continue to grow and thrive. Hope that he will daily give me the grace to love them and raise them, as he so faithfully has done every day this past year.

As I look into 2014 I have no idea what the year will bring. But I do know this. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In 2013 and 2014, too.