One minute until midnight I lie curled up in bed, aches and chills surrounding me.
The hours had passed slowly, my husband having found a spare blanket and pillow for his comfortable night on the couch.
With a churning stomach and shaky fingers I grab my phone and manage to type out my message.
My phone chimes. “Happy New Year. I love you too.”
Instead of celebrating- running outside with no regrets, barefoot and giddy while banging on pots and pans and shouting blessings into the new year as I did as a child- I toss and turn.
More than being sick and alone and tired – I find fear entangling my heart.
The vastness of the fresh year lays out before me, and I’m lost as to how to move forward.
How do I train up six children in the ways of the Lord and stop raising my voice and start putting others first? How do I teach each individual and make play-dough and read countless books and teach multiplying and the sounds of each letter in the alphabet? How do I get over one-thousand meals on the table and keep up with the laundry and vacuum the crumbs off the couch? How do I learn to speak kindly and not to fear or to worry and to spend time feasting on His Word instead of on food daily? How do I encourage and build up, leading others deeper into Him, without staying stuck in the muck of my own sin?
And how do I step into the new- when secretly I want to have a do-over on the last?
No matter how glistening my life may look on the outside,
God knows the raw places of my soul.
He knows how 2012 was the year I didn’t eat any healthier, never set up a date-night, failed to clean out the laundry room, continued to put myself before others, all too often lost hope in what He was doing, still found myself hiding from the mess of it all, did not start preschool with my soon-to-be-kindergartener, lost the battle at teaching no whining or complaining, discouraged my husband when I should have kept my mouth quiet, read less in my Bible than my eight-year old daughter, and muffled the voice of my amazing Savior.
My failures pile high.
Each of ours does if we’re honest.
I roll over to find my phone once again. I can’t get out of bed without getting sick, so I wake up my love to bring me some ice cubes and white grape juice.
I see the picture of my littlest lady outside.
I whisper to myself how this is her first winter to really experience the snow.
Through the window she watched dazzled by the big snowflakes falling from the sky. “Snow! Snow!” She smiled. Each sibling dressed like a snowman joined in the picture, and her little feet burst down the hallway- “Side! Side!” she said pointing to the door.
Socks and snow-pants and boots and coat. Hat and mittens and she didn’t know what to do. My thumb-sucking, hair-twirling eighteen month-old was being forced to face the fresh glittering white without her security. On and off and on and off the hat and mittens went, until she caught sight of the fun out the door once again.
Her little feet, all wobbly inside of the boots, crunched down lightly on top of the snow.
And there she stood frozen. Tears streaming down.
No amount of cajoling and sled-riding could stop them.
Each day she’d gaze through the pane of the glass, and with glistening wonder show her delight. But when clothed in her snowsuit and surrounded by the white, she became too scared to take one step into it.
A few days later, the temperature warmed up, and hats and mittens were left in the closet.
My precious Ariya, so terrified before, stood in the snow and slid one tiny step forward.
Crunch and slide. Crunch and slide.
Her little feet slipped. Snow brushed her face. “Cooo-ooold,” was her comment as she looked up at me. I held my breath and helped her to her feet, and then I could see the twinkle in her bright blue eyes. Moments later, off she went clomping down the driveway once again.
She greeted a snowman and stole his carrot nose. And found the fun and beauty and good amidst the expanse of the cold.
I thank my sweet husband for being my nurse, and my great God for speaking to my heart.
For just like my daughter, it all seems too much. I see the fresh beauty of the new year, but sit frozen by the incredible expanse of it.
The good and the glory and the blessings abound, but I know all too well the bite of the cold and the pain of slipping.
But I have a choice, whether I will get back up in God’s strength, taking one tiny step at a time, gaining confidence from Him – or if I will miss out on experiencing all that God has in store, just because it is also scary and difficult.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”