January slips by quiet. The world is all in a rage, my head spins with it all. My own little world hidden in these four walls spins, too. We begin packing. We are moving from this rental because our landlord plans to sell it to a friend next month. We plod along with schooling, with work on Phoebe’s health. It seems most days I can barely keep up with the demands. The kids and I have been sick for the last couple of weeks with a bad respiratory virus. We’ve been inside and home more than usual, letting them rest and heal. On the sunnier and warmer days, we’ve been out, walking our usual routes in the neighborhood. I’m saying goodbye in my own slow way, imprinting things in my memory, detaching, shifting. I’m thankful for some time left to do that.
For many years, since college really, I’ve leaned in close and quiet at the beginning and end of each year. Many people make goals and dream dreams, and I’m all for that, and often have a few quiet goals of my own. But the passing of each year heightens my awareness that time is slipping by, speeding onward. My life is being spent faster than I realize. What interests me most in the reflection on that is what the Lord is doing in these days. In the last weeks of December, I’m prayerfully asking Him to direct my steps in the coming year, specifically in the Scriptures. I seek a word form Him, usually a theme for the coming year, something He is going to teach me from scripture, something He wants me to attend to. Last year He led me to Psalm 93. He seemed to say that the coming year (2016) was going to feel a bit like being in a tumult of rising waters, but He reminded me that He sits enthroned above the waters. He is sovereign and mighty to save. That scripture ministered to me over and over again in the year as we faced one of the hardest years of our married lives. I think it’s what kept my head above water. I felt a bit of trepidation asking Him again this past December what He would say to me about 2017. The week of Christmas we received some of the worst and scariest news yet about Phoebe’s recovery/health and also flooded with medical bills we have no way to pay. At the same time, our landlord called to inform us we had two months to find a new place to live. I have cried a lot of tears. I have been brought low, back to the painful and sweet place where I remember that my God is sufficient, He is all I need, He is my strong refuge, my reward, my shield, the lifter of my head. It’s that place where whatever my heart is set upon gets sifted and my soul remembers its true end. I am made for God and nothing else will satisfy. Not even a secure home to live in. Not even the basic finances we need, or the health of my child. He is able to provide these things, and I am confident He will take care of us. But my heart cannot be set on my changing circumstances. They are fickle and uncertain.
In the tumult of these emotions and the quiet place of just being laid bare before the Lord, He spoke to me Revelation 21:5: “Behold, I am making all things new.” He kept speaking it to me everywhere I would turn, though my heart resisted it. Resisted hope. Hope is painful! It’s easier to brace for disappointment. It’s part of why it’s been hard for me to write about it on the blog–there’s a part of me still afraid to hope. What does He mean that He is making all things new? Will we see our girl finally turn a corner this year and truly and fully recover? Will we find a home that we love, a place to raise our little brood, a place to set down roots and live out the kingdom? Will we find some rest this year from the onslaught of difficulty? I can’t say. Maybe we will be made new, even as our difficulties continue.
We walk quiet through the familiar trails, children happy to be in the sun and fresh air. Everything seems colorless, bleak, brown. Winter. I breathe deep. It’s bleak and barren now, but spring is barely a whisper on the wind. It will burst into color soon enough. One way or another, all this death, destined for a resurrection.