You know that feeling when life is finally leveling out and you know you are going to get a chance to take a big deep breath soon? Getting close to the new year my husband and I were talking with excitement about how we could feel that moment coming. Over the next few days, multiple blessings began to take place reminding us that our cries for some peace and steadiness in our hearts had been heard. Advent was easy to celebrate and remembering what Christmas was truly all about came without much work.
For a few short moments, we could breathe.
Well, you know that moment when you can also anticipate the unexpected things that make you want to crawl up in a ball in hopes to avoid them? Yeah, before the “New Year” even got here we were right back to feeling like life had us on a roller coaster we couldn’t control. That deep breath of peace and rest was stripped from us the second we thought we were holding it in our hands. We soon found ourselves searching for the oxygen masks yet again.
It’s funny you know, how some people seem to breeze through life never facing any “big” battles and others seem to spend most of their lives battling thing after thing that is out of their control. Cars break down, health crumbles, money is short, jobs are lost, relationships are hard, life-life happens. I have seen it time and time again where good people constantly seem to have unfortunate things happening all around them. I have seen good people fight battle after battle only to barely repair their wounds before heading back into the trenches.
My husband and I have found ourselves in what we call “our war seasons” more times than we would truly like to acknowledge. In those moments it is easy to become bitter and distracted. It’s easy to find ourselves angry and even taking it out on the people around us. Unfortunately, probably more times than not, we have chosen that path. If you don’t believe me, ask my mom what our conversation on the phone was like yesterday. She was literally laughing hysterically because of how dramatic and ridiculous I was being regarding the drivers around me on the highway. I’m pretty sure at one point I sped past a funeral procession waving and saying “I’m so sorry someone died, I’m rushing to the E.R. again. Please forgive me, and if another nurse sticks me with another needle so help me, I might flip a lid!”
Eventually laughter turned to tears when I started crying and explaining that I was just exhausted and angry. I muttered the words “It’s supposed to be a new year, this was supposed to be the year of GOOD things”. Immediately, my mom piped up and stated “No Mam, do not say that! You can’t throw away a whole year because of a few hard weeks. It’s only January.”
As much as I hate to say it, she was right. I think often times when tough things happen we let them steal way more joy than they deserve. Don’t get me wrong here, there are hard days that sometimes turn into weeks and even months. However, even in the midst of those periods, there IS also still joy all around us.
Ironically enough, on New Years I talked with my husband about how crazy it would be if we woke up each day with the same excitement that we wake up with on New Years. What if each day we started out at our best knowing that we had a fresh start and could leave the past behind us? What if each day we celebrated new beginnings and we took a step towards a happier and healthier self? What if each day we focused on the good things that the seasons before us had brought and on the hard things that we made it through? Yesterday once everything calmed down a bit, I found myself asking the same questions in my head. What if? What if? What if?
The truth is, that thanks to a loving and gracious God, we do have the ability to do that. We have the ability to wake up and treat each day like it’s a new day. We have the ability to leave the pain from the past behind us. We have the ability to be new and renewed with a fresh outlook doing our best to prevent “life” from stealing our joy. We also have the ability to be broken, yet comforted and counseled through the Word of God. Even in the fiercest of storms, there is a calm that can not be stolen. Maybe tomorrow the sun will shine a bit brighter, but for today there is still peace and warmth in knowing that there is no battle that we have to fight alone. For that I am grateful.