And yet, in reality, our New Year did not start in the most relaxing of manners. After our car broke down on the motorway on Boxing Day, the remainder of our holidays were spent significantly housebound and on the hunt for a car that would fit us all in... its taken up a lot of headspace and led to me being shorter, more snappy and more easily frustrated than I would normally be... add four housebound children into the mix, and it's not been the idealistic start to 2018 that I had imagined.
|Standing in the freezing cold behind the barrier of the motorway on Boxing Day! Yup - that's the girls under s blanket!|
And yet, as I've journalled and prayed my way into the start of the new year, the word that the Lord seems to be laying on my heart is thankfulness. Even in the unexpected stresses and disappointments, the lack of 'bearing with one another' and the relentlessness of training a toddler, we have so much to be thankful for... and as I've thought ahead to the year before us, its a trait I long to see growing in our lives, and in the lives of our children.
Because thankfulness gives you perspective.
Because thankfulness is the antidote to entitlement.
Because thankfulness keeps you humble.
Because thankfulness points you back to an old rugged cross.
Time and time again.
So my hope is that this year I will grow to be more thankful... grow to recognise all the beauty of life, even though I don't know what this year holds. When I journalled at the start of last year, I wrote of the joy there was in trusting in a faithful God in the light of an uncertain year ahead. It was hard at times - there were building sites, scary illnesses, a complicated pregnancy, sprained bones, hospital confinements, a traumatic birth, broken down cars... but there has been so very much to be thankful for... Heidi coming off her medication, a beautiful baby boy, a new job for David, the completion of our building work, safety on the roadside - a taxi driver who came to our rescue and refused to take a penny for it.
When Heidi was ill back in 2013, someone gave us a little ornament. It hangs now in the girls bedroom... it reads...
When it rains, look for rainbows,
When it's dark, look for stars.
If we truly believe that God brings all things together for his glory, and our good... then thankfulness should always be possible... in any and every circumstance.
So this year, I'm praying I'll be thankful - for the gospel, for hope, for Jesus, for the daily mercies, the common grace, for loved ones and family, for the silver linings of the frustrating clouds, and the stars in the darkest night sky.
Will you join me?