I’ve been breathing fresh the hope of the new year these past five days, and while I’m not a fan of the weather, I certainly appreciate the air of anticipation that January ushers in.
I don’t necessarily make new year’s resolutions or pick a word for the year, but I do love what has become my own little new year’s tradition. That is, sitting down with Trent over a venti Starbucks while remembering the year passed and chatting over the year to come. Inevitably my memories seem to magnify both the bitter and the sweet. What is it about a new year that amplifies the extremes? Or my husband might say that’s just my personality.
This past year proved, like always, to unfold in unanticipated ways. I started 2015 with feet planted firmly in Milan, but Trent and I somehow found our way back to beloved France. I discovered new depths of gratitude and heights of admiration for the loyalty and support of my family. I’ve known them my whole life, so should this ever come as a surprise? Well, they’ve managed to astonish me anew. Then there was the sweet surprise of friendships forged over Turkish fare. The kind that make you linger longer over delicious food, but mostly because of the people you get to share it with. 2015 was the one where I gradually, albeit unexpectedly, let go of the need to control—circumstances, schedules and outcomes. Sometimes it was by choice, and sometimes it was the only choice. Still there were other surprises of 2015. The hoped-for surprises that never actualized. Yes, I found myself surprised by the expected-turned-unrealized. I anticipated a baby, or at the very least a bump, and that proved to be perhaps my past year’s greatest lesson in the illusion of control. But it was on the other side of that blow I unexpectedly found myself the beneficiary of some of life’s most beautiful lessons that are birthed only out of bitter places. It was the tenderness and patience of a husband who showed me that, just maybe, in the very places life threw curve balls and left me wanting that I’d actually found myself—surprisingly—not lacking anything.
In re-living many of the moments of 2015, I sat there feeling thankful for all that was, but also timid in hoping for what is to come. As we shifted conversation to the year ahead, it all seemed so unsure, so shaky. What could I really know? I was hesitant to project, predict or even discuss. Ultimately, and after much consideration, this is what I’ve come to. I can pen my plans and write my resolutions, but that’s not what will determine the quality of my 2016. Sure, there are things in my relationships, my routine, my health and my heart I want to work on, to tweak, to change. But even the most masterfully crafted step-by-step instructions might not get me where I want to go. I don’t know how all of it will play out. I just can’t. So maybe the most important part of 2015 wasn’t what happened, but what was learned. Maybe it was learning that in letting go, I lack nothing. The reason I can look ahead to 2016 with hope and promise and excitement and joy is I know regardless of how it unfolds, I will not be left needing. And neither will you.
Whether you do resolutions or detoxes or words of the year or nothing at all, I hope you’ll look ahead in hope. Relax in the security of a God who provides. One who never leaves us lacking. One thing’s for sure, 2016 won’t go completely as planned. Not your plan and not mine. As much as we’d love to believe otherwise, there will be good and not so good twists and turns. But we always have a constant. His provision is constant and will carry us through.
Now that’s something I can take with me into 2016.