This morning, the first day of a fresh new year, my husband and I woke early and enjoyed a tasty breakfast out together sans the kiddos. We sat across the table recalling our nearly 24 years together and thought over years past, prior New Year’s and the road we’ve walked together; some portions profoundly harder than others. We ventured into a thought over our first year in marriage and the decision to relocate cross-country. We spoke about how it was life changing and guessed that, had we not made that move, things would have been very different for us, likely even harder. As we negotiated that possibility he stopped and said, “Wait, no. We can’t even go down that road because, well, Jesus.” He elaborated on what I knew to be true as well….God always prevails.  Even if we would have stayed put, one way or another, He would have shown through in our marriage and the end result would have been the same … HIS glory! It is so easy to think about what we desire for the coming year or years. To look back on the “yester-year” and bid good riddance, but shouldn’t we bid adieu with a nod of our head and a grateful heart….no matter what we’ve endured, I say that knowing full well there were years I slept through. As we went around the table at dinner last night, we asked our kids to name two things they will always remember ’15 for, and thankfully they laughed and smiled with fond thoughts over the year. But there have been, and there will be, years we walk steep hills and deep valleys. Those treacherous walks yield great things though and I am thankful for those journeys, each one. Romans 5 (The Message) reminds us they develop “passionate patience which in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next…..we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary, we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit. Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready.” The covenants established in Genesis, the first beginning, go far and deep and wide with us through all our journeys; cross countries, at home, in hospitals and courtrooms, when friends betray or discount us and family isn't family anymore, even when we've put ourselves in poor places. It doesn’t matter what we plan or aspire to do, we must remember that God is at work and there is great hope in that, not in our ability but God’s.  Romans 5: 15-17 “Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! …. Can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?”

As I move into 2016, I may have big plans, but unless I commit my heart, my will, my attitude, my work to Christ ... I can be sure that those plans won't see the results I desire.  This year, I will focus on turning my attention to the wildly extravagant life-gift of Christ. ~ B 

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