Sunday, January 25, 2015

Take Two

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Prov. 16:9

I had a plan. This was gonna be the January my house was so organized that Martha Stewart would personally visit to take notes. Instead, I had to stay in bed for days just trying to breathe as I fought off some flu imposter. For the new semester, I was going to be so prepared that I would dazzle my students with my knowledge of literature and my rapier wit. Instead, I showed up to the first day of class with a bad case of laryngitis and a hacking cough. And that exercise plan? It went out the window and was replaced by a regimen of vitamin C, zinc and antibiotics. Sigh. I had a plan.

God has a plan too. He promises in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a good plan for each of us. Ever-faithful, ever-prepared, ever-gracious, my sickness did not derail His plan. He protected me all fall semester from numerous illnesses to which I was exposed and allowed me to enjoy the holidays before I got sick. He used friends to minister to me and remind me how much I am loved and how to bless others when they are in need. Still, I missed my new year’s rituals of contemplation and simplification. But with God, every day can be a new beginning. So now that I am nearly well, I am re-starting my new year and I am excited to see what God has in store for it. Instead of hoping my plan comes to pass, I will be praying that God’s does.

“Father, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year, Lord

“For all the blessings of the year, we thank You, Lord.”

As 2014 was slipping into 2015, I kept singing the line above which comes from a Thanksgiving call to worship. The words remind me to thank God for all the blessings of the past year. For friends and family who support and encourage me. For new friendships that have blossomed and old ones that have deepened. For work I enjoy and through which I can see God’s hand at work. For miracles in my life and the lives of those I love.

God’s blessings have taken many forms this last year. After four years of not seeing them, I had two opportunities to spend time with friends who are more like sisters and are separated from me only by the physical distance of hundreds of miles. I had the joy of planting flowers in my yard and then watching them bloom and attract butterflies and hummingbirds which brought me the gifts of wonder and delight. The children and teenagers in my life have often renewed my spirit by sharing their innocence and their exuberance. As I started an additional job adventure, colleagues and co-workers offered much-needed advice, help and encouragement.

And there have been tremendous gifts from God Himself this year, both seemingly big and seemingly small. He has given me wisdom and guidance when I needed it most. He has afforded me strength and comfort as I continue to grieve and heal. And He has given me an inexhaustible supply of joy. So, as 2015 begins, I thank God not only for all He has done in the past year, but I thank Him in advance for all the blessings of this new year.