I have heard so many people say they were ready for 2016 to end and 2017 to begin.  I don’t recall this generalized a sentiment before.  Sure, I’ve heard it with someone having a specifically bad year of events personally take place in their lives that I was aware of happening.  People seemed eager to shut the door on last year.  Some really good things happened in 2016 for me.  And some really painful and disappointing occurrences took place.  So like most years, I appreciate the blessings I experienced and I have learned a great deal from the challenges. And I eagerly await what 2017 has in store for me and us.

There are some significant challenges I am already aware of both professionally and personally.  I have some big dreams for the next 12 months (like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in August and actually being able to do a full on pull up unassisted!).  Our church has some exciting opportunities I hope we will take advantage of and some typical problems to try and solve.  Greg and I have continued work to do in our shared life together and we both have families that need our love and attention.

But I keep thinking about this collective sentiment of wanting to move forward almost as if people are running away from something that has happened.  Or at least desperately wanting to look away.  Or maybe it’s look forward.  Or simply just look at something else, a change in scenery.

As the calendar turns another year and January begins, I was able to spend the New Year in the mountains where it snowed.  I love the snow.  As my devotional reflection a few snowmornings ago put it, fresh snow offers a fresh start, a new beginning.  It covers the stark and drab winter landscape with a layer of inviting white beauty.  The New Year stretches before us like a new landscape offering a fresh start.  As we step into this new year, may we embrace new opportunities, may we break the repeated patterns that continue to trip us up, and may we find courage to live fully into the beautiful person God created us to be.

If that sounds great but a little scary, or intimating or maybe overwhelming, consider the following quote.  A church members shared it with me as an encrouagement for the New Year.  I spent the Christmas Holiday bingewatching Crown on Netflix so I was already in the English monarchy mindset of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.  (BTW, Crown is an interesting watch to see how a woman leader carves her path in a male dominated realm.)

Maybe these words will bring comfort and direction as we ponder the path our life journey will take in 2017.  They were spoken by King George VI during his Christmas Address of 1939 when London was being bombed by the Germans.

“I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God.  That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.’  So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night.  And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone east.  May that Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all.”  
                                                                                                                                                                     King George VI
May you seek and find God’s hand.  Don’t be afraid of the darkness.  And don’t just trust the “known way”.  God may have something much more amazing in store for you.
Grace and Peace,
Lory Beth

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