january

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She’s a red bird out in the winter landscape
all barren, bleak and brown
but made new
Because a child is here
and wherever a child is, there is life and curiosity and wonder
all things made new again.

It is early January and we woke on Sunday without electricity.  We lit our fire and got a text that church services would be cancelled for the day, so we snuggled in for a cozy morning.  Ice came down, blanketing everything, turning our bleak ordinary into something new, magical.  As soon as she had eaten breakfast, Phoebe bundled up in her red Phoebe sweater which I knit for her a few years ago (it still fits!) and went out to explore.  I went with her, exploring our usual and ordinary little plot of ground which looked so transformed by the ice.  All morning we heard limbs cracking and exploding in our neighborhood.  Generators were running.

I’ve been in a reflective state these past couple of weeks.  It used to be that I spent much of December reflecting on the end of the year and journaling, setting goals and listening to the Lord for His Word to me for the coming new year.  Now with two children’s birthdays and the Christmas festivities, I am far too busy in December for much reflection at all.  I’ve realized that January has become that time for me, and I give myself the whole month to go slow, to put my ear to God’s Word and listen.  It has been good to be in ordinary time, no big celebrations, just the quiet return to old paths.

I still haven’t processed it yet, this changing of years, the closing of the last and the start of the new.  I find myself more discouraged, tired and overwhelmed this year than I think I’ve ever been.  I feel like my plate is incredibly full, even as I watch other women juggle far more than I.  I feel my smallness.  I feel quieted.  I also feel more hopeful and trusting of the Lord than I think I’ve ever been going into a new year–can all those realities coexist at once?  I’m not sure how.

I find myself disoriented by it all, like somehow I’ve lost my way a bit.  My ear is to the ground, my face set firmly on His, my feet retracing all the old and worn paths.  It is good; He is my good.  Nothing can separate us from His love.  Nothing else will satisfy us.

I pray you and I hear His voice early in our year.  That we seek Him about the year to come and wait for a word from Him, a glimpse of Him, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  That we persist like a lover in pursuit of her Beloved.  I pray that we see the little red birds in the bleak winter landscape, all things ordinary made beautiful and new.  All the things we think are tired, old, lost — redeemed.

“You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no longer be termed Desolate
but you shall be called ‘My Delight is in Her,’
and your land ‘Married,’
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice in you.”
Isaiah 62:4-5

 

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