As a kid, and really as long as I was in school, which was so many years and well into our marriage, I looked forward to August with great anticipation. I loved the reprieve from hot summers, from boredom. I relished in purchasing new school supplies, the obligatory pair of gym shoes, new Keds. New books, new notebooks, new pens, a new planner. The expectation of seeing old friends again. A new classroom. New challenges and expectations lay ahead, ready for me to exceed them. I loved fall and the starting over and newness it brought.
But I'm not in school anymore. June, July, August, September...until recently, all pretty much the same to me. When we undertook to teach our children at home, the thrill and excitement of a new school year was overshadowed by impossible expectations for myself, to create and stick to the perfect schedule, to choose the just-right-for-us curriculum, to do it all perfectly this time. All while effortlessly continuing and excelling at my other not insignificant charges, like my paying job, laundry, meal planning and preparing. Oh, and friends and time in the Word. Yeah, then August became an albatross. My love affair with August is over for now.
But January. Ahhh, January. By January, I've usually so thoroughly disappointed myself in the previous year, I know that the coming year can't help but be better. Also, since I'm a sprinter and not a marathoner (in the metaphorical sense only; I don't run, unless there's a kid heading into the street), I know that I have just half a school year left to accomplish my goals for the year. So I like the pressure. Less than half a year before the summer months roll around, when we plan summer family fun. And a break from the dark, cold days of winter will come in just a few short months. So much to look forward to, so much to accomplish. No time to waste. The promises of a new year.
I have great expectations for what the new year holds. We have high hopes for progress on our adoption process. For what our boys will learn academically and how they will grow in the Lord. How our home will more accurately reflect the glory of the One who established it. How our Father will draw us closer to Him this year and continue the work He has started in us.
While I could have done without the heartache we experienced in the last twelve months, I have in no small way seen how the Lord has worked all of our pain for our own good and for His glory. I am closer to Him, knowing that two of my children already worship in His court. He has given me the new lifelong expectation of reuniting with them. In light of our loss, He has fanned the flame in our family's heart to adopt. He has surrounded us with loving friends and supportive family. He has blessed our extended family with new life. He has tested and strengthened our marriage. 2010 was a year of devastation for us, of tearing down and refining. He has begun the work of building up, and we have every expectation that our God will accomplish it.
Our need for newness, for starting over, to be refreshed and recreated is an imprint from our Creator. Our Maker's mark, wherein we long to be made new, just as we are created for eternity, not this vapor of a life. We long for everything around us to be new again. We long for a time and a place where everything will be made new, will be in order, will not fall apart. What a stark contrast to the world we live in, where death and age and illness mar a new creation. What an amazing promise that in the midst of this old world that we can be made new even now. My prayer for you is that you would be made new in the Lord this year, and that He would continue the work He has already begun in you.
Thanking God for the work He has done and for the promise that He will once and for all make all things new, happy new year!
Oh, and just because I don't usually share these, but because I love him so, my tiniest fella. Isn't he so serious?