Happy New Year! It’s so good to be back! I love spending time with my family during Christmas, but I missed this space. I was thinking about all of you a lot, wondering how you were managing the holidays, if your joys were greater than your sorrows, if church felt good or made you cry, or both, etc. I hope you know even when I’m not writing; I’m thinking and praying for you all. You’ve become like friends to me and you’re all really special to my heart.
Our Christmas was nice. There were a few grief hiccups, but all in all it was good. We brought lots of happiness into our lives just before Christmas. It was an unexpected joy, and one I don’t regret. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, be sure to like my Extra Grace Required Facebook page or follow me on Instagram – sometimes the first scoop happens there. Oh, I can’t stop myself – here it is – the new guy who loves us unconditionally. Meet Charlie! I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with him.
I warned you I was obsessed with this cute little guy!
But despite a great Christmas, filled with puppy kisses and lots of laughter, the New Year brings a little sadness for me. I thought it was just year one, but it happened again this year. I think it’s the brand new number that serves as a giant reminder that I’m one year farther away from the life I shared with my husband. He died in 2016. When the calendar flipped to 2017 I remember feeling very sad – a new number. And now 2018 – TWO numbers away. I know it may seem silly, or a depressing way to look at it, but we feel what we feel, right? It isn’t anything I get hung up on; just something that I notice hits me harder than some of the other “holidays.”
So, anyway, it’s a new year before us and I’m not going to sit in sadness about it. It’s certainly full of possibilities and new experiences, but it’s also full of UNKNOWNS. No matter how many years I practice being faithful; I’m still not a fan of unknowns. I know I’m absolutely not in control, and yet I still want to be. I have a hard time balancing trust in God with whatever my role is supposed to be. I mean, I have an important responsibility in this life I’ve been given. I have to be smart, cautious and hard working in addition to being faithful. But how much is too much of me? And how much is not enough of God/faith?
It’s especially something I wrestle with when making great big decisions. Maybe it’s fear that tells me it’s not really God’s intent for me. Maybe it’s doubt that causes a lack of confidence that says God doesn’t want you to do this, this is just YOUR crazy idea and it’s dumb and you’ll fail. Is this just me? Or does this happen to you too?
Yet I can’t help but feel the time has come to stop being afraid and just jump. 2018 is the year I jump. It’s the year I find the bravery to chase my dreams. Am I scared? TOTALLY! But as a dear friend once said, “What would you attempt to do if you KNEW you could not fail?”
I have lots of work to do to get ready to launch this new business idea. I can’t wait to tell you all about it, as it is an extension of Extra Grace Required. I’ll need your help spreading the word when the time comes. I hope you’ll be as excited about it as I am. And I hope you’ll pray for me as I prepare to jump. Pray that I find peace and balance in the how much faith versus how much free will and hard work dilemma. You know, as much as I now know, how short life is. It’s too short to not chase our dreams! Sure, I may fail…but MAYBE I won’t.
I challenge you to reflect on your 2017 for a minute. Maybe it was the worst year of your life. Maybe it was the year you just survived. Celebrate that. You SURVIVED! Think about what you’ve overcome in 2017. Reflect on the hard decisions you made last year or the other moments you braved. What did you accomplish that you never thought possible?
And now let’s look ahead to 2018 with evidence from 2017 that we CAN do hard things! That we CAN survive! That we CAN DO THIS! I want to hear your goals for the New Year. I’m on your side, rooting for you. I’m way better at believing in YOU than I am at believing in ME. But one thing is certain – our God believes in US. He’s with us, for us, and has a great big awesome plan for us. So strap in! It’s going to be one heck of a year! Bring it on, 2018! We aren’t afraid of you.