While the popping firework cannons sound the end of 2015, I’m bringing in the New Year in my pajamas with fingers tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard. I’m ending one year and beginning a new one in my childhood bedroom, which consequently is no longer pink and white with 92 stuffed animals– now I sit in what looks like the inside of a ripe avocado. The curtained canopy bed is gone and my mom finally removed all my high school choir tour photos from the back of my bedroom door. One stubborn piece of photo backing is all that stands of those years. It’s probably for the best. That much stonewashed denim and Aussie sprunch spray should remain in the past.
Nearly everyone in this house of safety is fast asleep, including my own little look-alikes, they went to sleep hours ago after a driveway parade that even my silver-bearded dad marched in. When the girls discovered a NYE Party box full of plastic leis, sparkly hats, and the LOUDEST party-blowers a sane person has ever survived– they immediately planned a marching band-parade- extravaganza for right before bedtime. In pajamas and rain boots they led us around the back of the house and up and down the gravel drive. My dad and their dad blew piercing noisemakers and followed behind this gaggle of their girls. We marched and blew, marched and sang, marched and laughed out loud at the awful high-pitched band of chaos we made. I’ve never actually heard six geese being rhythmically strangled with all deliberateness– but now I know. It’s LOUD. That was a good fun way to end 2015.
Can I be honest? This year was a challenge. Like putting control-top pantyhose on an octopus- challenging. As a family, we had a fabulous year. As a writer? I worked many months on a book proposal only to get to the very end of the year and recognize that perhaps I *could* go in a different direction. Harrowing. I floundered a bit here and there. I allowed the pressure of great opportunities to paralyze me into doing very little. I put my work out there and got rejected. Three times. In one month. That took an already small me and made me a bit smaller.
But let’s be honest. Small is good. Small is really good sometimes. Here I sit, in “my” bedroom in “my” old house and I feel small enough to be someone’s little girl still. I feel small enough for extra blankets and flannel sheets and snuggling down deep. I feel small enough to remember when these dreams were just beginning. When there was all fresh hope and lots of good stuff ahead on the cusp of tomorrow. I am small enough to remember that all that hope was spot on. That all that good, all those good plans, were good because they were God’s good plans and He is good.
And I trusted Him. And I trust Him still. And though we ended one year with lovely, boisterous, chaos and happy noise-making–
I’m beginning the next one with a prayer.
May we pause long enough to hear the needs inside us.
May we slow often enough to meet the needs around us.
May we laugh loud enough to share the hope within us.
May we feel small enough to recognize the big God that holds us.
And shapes us.
And saves us.
And covers us.
And comes for us.
May we sing more, listen more,
Pray more and say more– of what we should– and less of what we should not.
May we curl up with more books and read,
Curl up with our human-ness and rest,
And curl up with our children and just be– there.
May we see the things that need to change in us and then allow the only true Change-Maker– to take over and truly change us.
And then may we not be frustrated when we find we need more change still.
May we find and use and worship with the gifts that are ours–not hers or his— but ours… only ours given by Him who hands them out to His expectant children.
May we stretch and try and try a bit more and stumble and return to that drawing board or blank canvas or blank document or blank sheet begging for music. May we never stop using the gifts and living out our callings, all of them at once- and not waiting for someday.
May we never once doubt that we hold the light and we are in that city– that city truly on a hill and we must keep shining His light and His love and His creativity. Every single day.
Thank you for joining me this year. It was truly a privilege to share my little table with you here. I plan to share my 2015 Recap/ What I learned in the next couple of days. Hope to see you there. Happy New Year!!!