Why We Can Face the New Year

My Facebook account has this “See your 2013 Year in Review” feature on the sidebar of my profile page. I click on it and various pictures of my year flash across the computer screen.

It’s like time stops for a second and freezes, except the hands on the clock are still ticking.

It’s my heart that’s standing still.

I blew into church late on Sunday with Susie Stoll, the spunky one, and four of our girls from the city.

It was hard to concentrate at first because my baby was sleeping there in the car seat, his soft breathing and those darling puckered lips captivating my full attention.

Then he woke up and sat there on Aubrey’s lap, playfully growling, and the girls all laughing and me trying to hush them all. The more I hushed, the louder he growled and the harder they laughed, and I know it was one messy back row fiasco but I had to laugh too.

It all died down, eventually, and I heard the wise elder man talking about remembering.

Thoughts spin fast when he asks us to reflect on our year, and those moments we don’t want to forget.

My mind full up with the moments all reeling, like a washer load on its final spin.

Hard ones, scrawled in thick longhand, bleeding ink.

Memories I want to erase.

Sweet moments I cherish.

Photographs capturing moments I don’t mentally recall.

How do you remember when the remembering is hard? 

We bought a house this year and I got to paint all the walls exactly what I wanted. Lots of brown and red. We brought a baby home from the hospital and I fell more in love with tiny fingers and toes than I thought possible. I made lots of memories with my family. I traveled to happy places, drank lots of yummy, gourmet smoothies with my husband, and heard my baby laugh for the first time.

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Sharp words.

Impatience.

Fear-based actions.

Self-righteous condemnation.

I argued with my husband and flung words I wish could be reeled back in. I had to take medicine that made me struggle deeply with anxiety and depression. I snapped unkindly and tore people to shreds with words behind their backs. I got impatient with Leo and frustrated with Kyle.

My memories are messy.

I try to separate them, so I can move past the ugly parts and just remember the good things, but they’re all tangled together like a skein of yarn that tears the harder you tug.

I really just want to know.

How do you remember when the remembering is hard?

And then it comes to me.

In February, I led a group of volunteer Christian women and a handful of Youth Club girls to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a girl’s retreat I helped to organize. That whole weekend, God-ordained, insanely beautiful, wildly miraculous. God taking me on an unforgettable journey I will always remember. IMG_7673IMG_7511IMG_5538 IMG_5523IMG_5194IMG_5205IMG_5455IMG_6134

God is always Emanuel. He doesn’t leave when the going gets tough and the heart rends. He is with you, even in the corner of a couch. We’re standing outside an empty grave. Our Redeemer lives and He is within us, within our messy, weak, faltering lives…He lives.

He lives! He lives within our humanity and He guides and He transforms and He takes our weak efforts and He gives grace, above and beyond and always, always sufficient.

2 Corinthians 12:10 — “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”

Why?

“But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

This is why we can remember, when the remembering is hard.

Because all of the moments in a year – first baby giggles, crawling your way through grief, special moments with the man of your dreams, and medications – are covered in grace. 

I remember the good and gruesome and He gives me eyes to see it for what all of it is.

A story of His power being made perfect.

A story of the sufficiency of His grace.

A story of death being swallowed up in Life. Because God is alive in us, living in our messy, faltering lives, at work redeeming

This is why we can remember.

And this is why we can face the New Year.IMG_7413

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