Some pretty spring color courtesy of Pike Place Public Market in Seattle, WA
Some pretty spring color courtesy of Pike Place Public Market in Seattle, WA

Another new year has quietly dawned. Some years we like to have a big party to celebrate the new year, but others-like this year-are spent with one or two friends in a night like any other. Dinner, time for the kids to play games together, laughter, jokes and the inevitable melt-down of very young ones up way past their bed times. This year we were asleep when the clock turned over to 2016; but somehow I feel very satisfied and content with that.

I ditched having it all together for the New Year quite a few years back, so that expectation doesn’t hold the weight that it used to on my heart. Now I look forward to January with anticipation! Because my new expectation is that I would take the whole month to ask God what the new year will hold. January has become the time where I reflect on our family and myself, as well as a time where I dream up projects, trips and goals.

I’d like to tell you that I have some neatly organized plan already figured out –  but I don’t!  I’m rejoicing in the absence of it. It’s like taking a pitcher full of water marked “2015” and pouring it out into a bucket with the same marker. Then sitting with my empty pitcher on my lap (now marked “2016”) and praying and preparing the vessel as I wait for God to slowly place new drops of water into the freshly drained pitcher.

a waiting vessel
a waiting vessel

It’s exciting to think of all that will happen this year; and even a little frightening to know deep down that it will hold pain and sorrow and sadness too. All the while I am grateful for the time to sit with this waiting vessel in my lap, to pray and seek and ask for guidance, strength, and courage for the things that will be hard.

Here is one of the tools I’m using this month as I think and pray.

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