I approach every new year with the same kind of fearful, joyous anticipation. I send up a quick prayer at midnight as I kiss my husband - and now our Lucy girl, too - that the next twelve months will be filled with a bit more love, a bit less fear, and a whole lot of faith. I remember that in the weeks before New Year's 2013, I felt a heavy sense of dread. I won't say I think it was the Spirit trying to prepare me for ugly things ahead; instilling fear in us is not a part of His character. Rather, I think it was the enemy trying to catch me in a vulnerable moment. And I let him succeed. I gave in to the underlying fear I felt of being newly unemployed -having been laid off just two weeks prior - and the very real prospect of motherhood. At that point, I hadn't been on birth control in over four months. Just one week into 2013, I had what I sometimes refer to as "the breakdown." It happened on a cold, sunny afternoon while I was home alone, having just finished working on a script for a client, and the heavy despair of that day followed me around for months. It was still fresh when I found out, less than two months later, that I was four weeks pregnant.
Last week was the two-year anniversary of that day. And I still felt a bit of fear about what this year would hold when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Day. But the voice of the enemy was much quieter. I recognized it for what it was, as I have been learning to do for some time, and the voice of the Spirit rang true over all the things my broken, human mind could imagine:
"I am with You. And you can trust Me."
I don't know why January 1st is any more important than any other day. It's not, really. But the beginning of a new year feels fresh and exciting because, at that moment, nearly everyone around the world is hoping. Waiting. Trying to believe in something different than perhaps they have before. And there's comfort in that community, knowing you're not alone in wanting to feel better, live better, love better.
2013, as it turned out, was the most challenging 365 days of my life. I experienced the inky black darkness of depression and anxiety, the joy and anticipation of pregnancy, the palpable relief of healing, and the exquisite pain of motherhood. And in all those moments came a peace that surpasses all understanding.
So far, that is what 2015 has been. Peaceful. Not without its anxious moments. But they don't have the final say these days. I let them stand up and shout until their voices go hoarse, and then I move onto more important things.
Like Lucy. Pierce. Reading a good book. Digging deeper into the Word. Sitting quietly on my bed with a mug of coffee and JJ Heller streaming on my phone.
I know that life will never be without mess. But just because things don't always end up like I want doesn't mean they don't end up like they should.
Here's to a new year. And all the beautiful chaos that comes along with it. May we embrace what comes our way with the confidence and hope of Christ, our beloved Savior.