Wait…where did 2018 go? Anyone else feel as if you blinked and another year just scuttled past? So here we are, a third of the way through January 2019 already. It’s the month name you barely write down before it’s over and it’s the 4-week period you spend scratching out the 8 to write a 9.  But, for the first time, I feel as if my year has started well for many reasons. So if you’re interested enough to hear someone else’s thoughts on the new year, stick around!

 

I am often envious of people who get to start the new year with spring-cleaned houses and an impressive list of New Year’s Resolutions. And, even if they don’t stick to them, they look so much more ambitious…grand…exciting???(does anyone else battle to think of the word one wants to use during pregnancy??) than mine have ever looked! Or they are more specific than my vague “Be a better wife” resolution!

I also see some people pick a verse for the year. I wonder, do they spend time in prayer and meditation or have a closer relationship with the Lord than I do, that God “speaks” to them?

But guys, this time, I am the one with a fresh start and a verse!

I’m telling you, nesting is great when it happens over the Christmas season! Even better when it happens to a sentimental hoarder like myself! I got into everything, threw out a whole lot of random stuff and re-organised. And once the bug bit, I just wanted to…there goes the word again…rummage through everything and be ruthless. This is not normally a skill of mine so best I make use of it while I have it!

I look at the new year feeling ready (I think…) to bring a new baby into a decluttered house. And the things left to do, bar washing cloth nappies, are the fun things like organising my daughter’s new room and unpacking all the baby paraphernalia. That being said, I started washing all the newborn clothes this morning and suddenly didn’t feel ready for how soon our new baby will be born!

 

And here’s why this January has also started differently for me.

I feel a sense of peace.

Who can say they begin the year with peace? Determination? Maybe. Chaos? Most probably. Craziness? Almost definitely!

But peace?

 

Well, I am that person this year! And I would love to hold my head high and promise that I’ll feel peace in a month, a week or even a day. But I am a fickle human being and especially prone to a fluctuate with regards to my emotional state. But, the Lord has given me an assurance that is hard to question. And I am thankful that He’s granted me this not only because I need it right now, but also because it’s at the start of a brand new 365 days. I’ve been praying about the upcoming year and He’s answered right on cue.

 

I am a stay-at-home mom by choice. But, it was a very hard choice to make – not because I felt stunted as a woman and that I was sacrificing my career and sanity by being at home – but because we were financially secure at the time. Hear me carefully…there’s often a financial pinch for most moms toying with the idea. But for us, we have chosen not to be financially secure. It’s not like money is tight and we’ll have to cut corners but we can do it. Money is not! Money is non-existent. We are living by faith. We have no backup plan. It’s not just about sacrificing luxuries. We aren’t saving. We don’t always know how we will even pay for groceries.

BUT…

2018 was proof that we can live and survive without knowing what the future holds.  Some would call us irresponsible. Does it hurt? Sure! And yes, sometimes I question how responsible our decision was and is. But in those moments of my weakness and doubt, the Lord gently reminds me that He is my Provider. That’s not my job! That’s not my husband’s job either. It is by the grace of God that we eat every day. And let me tell you, it is by the grace of God that you eat every day too. It’s not because you have been more careful than we have (and I’m definitely not saying that there’s no worth in being good stewards – there absolutely is!) But our lives are hinged on a merciful Father who cares about the birds of the air. Birds that make no provision for themselves for the week, who have no meal plans or investments. Birds that don’t even know how they will feed their nest of little ones in the evening. And yet…they eat! They are sustained. And I can just picture the compassion in the eyes of the Lord as He looks earnestly into our eyes and asks,

“Are you not much more valuable than they?”

 

Each time I question God’s provision and each time I wonder if we’re being good stewards, He assures me. Sometimes in ways that a human could plausibly argue was just “lucky” or a “fact of life”. But sometimes it’s in ways that are virtually unheard of. And then, no one has an answer.

 

This year, I haven’t been reading anything different or followed an alternative Bible reading plan. But I have “stumbled” on verse upon verse reminding me that God is our Provider. He knows our needs and, in case we think that that particular verse refers to believers as a whole, He throws in the part about knowing the number of hairs on our head! Now that’s specific! I’ve felt this peace wash over the cracks of worry and doubt in my heart and slowly erode them away. I was recently reminded that hundreds of thousands of Israelites probably feared trekking into the desert and having to find food. I mean, to find enough for one person on a good day is quite an ask. But for hundreds of thousands to be sustained every day…impossible! And yet God fed them. But they could never take more than they needed for a day. If they did, it would go bad. Why? He was teaching them they He is the Life-Giver and Sustainer. No matter how well or how badly they had saved and been “good stewards” up until that day, they were all in it together. Each man depended on God for his daily bread (ever wondered where that saying came from??)

And that’s how we have chosen to live. We are depending on God for our daily bread.

Sure, it’s flippin’ scary! We have no certainty about tomorrow…

but then…does anyone??

And I won’t lie, I have wondered if this year is going to be even harder financially than it ever has been before. The pessimistic, glass-half-empty side of me wonders if God is just telling me that maybe these are lessons He’s going to remind me of throughout the year. That maybe, even though I think after 2018, I couldn’t trust Him much more than I already have, I’m about to learn what real trust is. Those thoughts have crossed my mind more than once!

 

But at the same time, is God malicious? No. Sure, He says ‘no’ from time to time. But He also says ‘yes’. And sometimes, He blows my mind and gives me more than I need and even more than I desire – things whispered in the secret corners of my heart. And, again, when He provided food for the Israelites, they said,

“Thanks but we’d like something else.”

God didn’t have to give them what they wanted. They were being well nourished.

But, in His mercy and grace, He did. The number of hairs, guys, the number of hairs!

 

So although this year holds a lot of unknowns, it also holds a lot of new beginnings and new possibilities. I don’t know how we’ll cover expenses, but God does. I’m looking forward to the arrival of our new baby but I don’t know how each of us will cope with the change. But God does. I don’t know a lot about what I’ll be able to handle but God does. Because He knows me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows the deepest thoughts of my heart. He knows my fears. He knows my doubts. He knows what brings me joy. He knows what I can deal with. He knows and loves me. I am much more valuable than the birds whom He feeds. He promises to be our Provider. He is the Shepherd who looks after His sheep. He is the God of Wonders who listened to the people’s food preferences in the desert. And that same God is holding me in the palm of His hand.

 

So here’s to 2019! I am held by the One who made me, knows me and loves me!

And because of that, my year has started with peace.

 

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Luke 12:7

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matt 6:25-27

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matt 6:33

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