It’s hard to believe that another year has come to an end. This year, I find myself in a very different place than at the start of 2013. New house, new town, new job. I’ve even had to say farewell to my old, memory-filled, faithful (but not reliable) van. There has been so much change in our family this year, it has definitely been the year of transition for us. And it all pretty much happened at the same time. I’d be lying if I said that it has been easy. It hasn’t. Crazy steps of faith often don’t come with a “that was easy” button.  My personality in most settings loves change, I’d say that I even thrive on it at times and require it to stay challenged. But relational change, that is harder. Change that involves people – not so easy. Rediscovering who I am, now that I am out of a familiar context that was my framework and heartbeat of life for almost 20 years has been an adjustment, and I know that my family has felt that and struggled through that as well. It does make my heart hurt sometimes.

We have been obedient. We have listened. We have taken steps of faith. We have trusted.

And God has been there every step of the way, making the way, clearing the path.

We’ve never looked back, because HE leads us forward.

I remember last year, sitting at my desk in my old house. I knew in my heart that the year ahead would bring about something different for us, I knew that new things were stirring. Here I sit today with a much different scene looking out over my new street. I’m thankful. I know I’ll sit here next year and do it again and look back and think about this moment (and the really unhealthy snack I had as I was writing). My reflections will be different, but my God will be the same – and that’s what gives my life peace.

A good friend got me into the discipline of naming my year every January. I take it seriously, I pray and reflect over it. The word that keeps ringing in my heart, in this new season for 2014 is COURAGE.  I’m out of my comfort zone, and I want to thrive in this new season. My family is in new situations and relationships. I’m excited out of my mind as much as I am terrified, which strangely inspires me. I want the boldest, strongest COURAGE just to rise up this year. In every area of my life. No matter what I have to face. Impact, not for my glory or ambitions but for HIS.

I’ve seen real courage lived out this year. I’ve seen friends walk through unimaginable loss and grief with incredible strength and grace. I have friends who have moved their families around the world to serve God and hurting people. Individuals who have quit their jobs to go and make a difference in struggling nations. Remembered and celebrated an amazing and courageous young girl who’s life has left an incredible legacy. I know some amazingly courageous people. They have inspired me. There are battles far greater and more serious than any I face going on in our world and all around me.  I know that moving and changing jobs isn’t really that courageous. In fact, on the courage scale – it’s pretty small. But I long to be more courageous, so that I can be what I am meant to be in this world. Whatever that looks like, however that presents itself to me – I want to be ready.

He is good.

He is faithful.

He requires courage of me.

I pray that for you as well. As you look back, you can embrace where you have been and move forward with confidence to what is ahead. The past is valuable, it teaches us things. But there is a blank year ahead. The next chapter in your story that is waiting to be written. Write it with the passion and desires of your heart and make every word count.

Deut 3:16 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Happy New Year!