Last year on this day it was a balmy 70 degrees. We spent the entire day out on the back porch in our pajamas, reading, reflecting, and reveling in the time together.
Every year-end my ritual is to close out the year asking myself seven questions, declare the year over, and then ring in the new year with five expectant questions. I do this because I love Mondays and the firsts of the months, the thresholds of sermons and new babies. I love new. Whether I finish well or not matters little to me—I love the thrill of new.
The thrill of new has taken me all over the world, to life in different cities with strangers, to new experiences and new challenges, it has taken me places emotionally and spiritually that I never thought possible. It rarely disappoints.
But this year, at the end of 2012, I’m a little slow to ring in 2013. Maybe it’s the melancholy skies, the raindrops outside my window, maybe it’s the marathon 2012 was, or the marathon 2013 promises to be. I don’t know. I just want to stay the moments, if I can. I know I can’t, but I wish I could.
In 2012, some small miracles happened that let me take a month long sabbatical to spend working on a book. I know. A book?! It’s a book that is nearly complete, but for various reasons I won’t let out of my hands for some time, it just isn’t time yet. But 2012 let me write it, and you all helped.
In 2012, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the pilot year of a discipleship program at my church. For me it means waking up in the 4am hour, reading and wrestling through difficult portions of scripture, and attempting to do school again after many years absence. To spend ten months studying theology and each book of the bible, to grasp some principles of pastoral theology, and to be invested in by some great minds—2012 gave me that.
In 2012, all three of my roommates fell in love in a three month time span. I felt hurt, neglected, overlooked, and finally, beautifully seen by God in deep and rich ways. He did not give me the love I wanted, but He gave me some gentle fathering and better bread.
In 2012, I made it all the way through a one year lease and then some. This has never before happened to me in my life. We have just begun year two in this small home on Meadow Lane and never have I been more at home in a house. Thank you 2012 for making space for me.
In 2012, I walked into a publications scheduling meeting at work discouraged, tired, spent, ready for a change, though still deeply passionate about my job and place of employment. During that meeting I was surprisingly offered a position change for 2013 that was a direct answer to prayer in multiple ways.
In 2012, I asked for bread and fish and God did not give me the bread and fish I asked for. But He did not give me stones or serpents, as I’d come to expect, and this is growth friends.
In 2012, Sayable more than tripled her subscribers, more than quadrupled her readership, and quit using comments. She felt like work to me like never before, like trudging through mud to plant seeds where there is no guarantee of fruit. There are pockets of joy in her field, but to be honest, those pockets are harder to find. More readership means more accountability, more accountability means more joy—even if it is simply eventual joy. Thank you, dear readers, for pushing me toward the pleasant boundary lines, the places of deepest joy—even if it means staying out of other fields.
In 2012, God showed me what it is like to press through when the thrill is not there, when all things feel old, when nothing feels new, when skies are grey, and when it seems to rain on my parade. The Father is showing me what it means to stay the course, plant deep, subsist on today’s manna, to let tomorrow worry about itself, to trust that if the only new I ever see is that final and glorious day when He makes all things new—that is enough.