On this New Year’s Day I am sitting in a very old house, surrounded by ancient oaks and one remaining corner of a cedar tree fencerow planted as a demarcation line 100 years ago. Though remodeled and updated through the years, the old farmhouse sits on the original foundation; uneven original pine floors prolifically marked by decades of footfalls.
Not unlike the playhouses my brothers and I used to make out of assorted corrugated boxes, this dwelling is an odd collection of rectangular shapes with varying ceiling heights, windows added where doors used to be, and walls thick and thin and slightly uneven.
I’m spending the week with my now 92-year-old mother. This is no “have to” in my mind but a “get to,” a privilege I know many wish they still had with their parents.
My sweet mom had some rough days in 2017. Hardest of all was the time she had to spend in a rehab facility last March. I’ll never forget her sitting on her new bed in room 105. The little girl in her looked forlorn and anxious.
But thankfully it was a short stay and she’s now living at the farm, in this old house where she was born, sleeping every night under the cerulean blue tin light fixture that illumined this same space in her childhood.
Her mind is sharp. We talk about the weather, politics, family members, books she’s reading, and the Andy Griffith show she watches with regularity. She isn’t driving her car anymore like she was a year ago, but she has a fancy new chariot with four wheels, hand breaks and a seat that doubles as a tray for transporting whatever she wants to carry around the house. She’s quite mobile with her new wheels.
Watching her age is reminding me of two unchanging truths. The first is death is unavoidable no matter how much we exercise, control our diet, use hand sanitizer or essential oils. The end of our days on earth cannot be avoided. I feel a growing sadness as I watch her losses accumulate. I also can feel my own anxiety knowing I’m following the same path.
Happily however I’m reminded of the second unchanging truth. God takes immense joy and delight in new beginnings. Restoration is and always has been His specialty. My mother’s constant pain in her back, her arthritis, her bad knee and a multitude of other maladies I don’t know about because she rarely complains, will all be changed and her body made new one day.
And so it is with each of us as we fear or welcome a new year. We are walking simultaneously toward death and new beginnings. God has already gone ahead of us into both heaven and 2018. What looks like a great unknown, a blank slate, a fresh start is known by Him. He is there. Jeremiah told us God knows the plans that He has for us. I sigh and relax at the sound of those comforting words.
Even more wonderful to me is God’s never-ending creativity in all He does. He doesn’t just restore but He makes everything better. All things become new. Because He didn’t stop being creative when He rested on the seventh day in Eden but is endlessly, giving us new life, new ideas, new dreams for our souls.
As our little team at Ever Thine Home looks ahead to 2018 we are praying about where God wants us to go, trusting Him for the plans He has for us. We all want to be led by His Spirit to learn and create and grow for His glory and His pleasure.
Here are a few new beginnings to watch for.
- January is always full of resolutions and we are going to propose to you and ourselves a list of five that we believe can really change your life! Watch for One Minute Prayers every Wednesday. A change to note this year; the prayers will be Scripture focused and they will be crafted in much smaller bite sized servings.
- February will be a full month as the 14th is both the start of Lent and Valentine’s Day. Watch for beautiful biblical resources to help you focus your family on God’s love on this holiday.
- Our biggest focus will be on getting ready for Easter! If you have followed our blog even sporadically in the last few years you’ve likely caught the emphasis we’ve placed on making much of Easter. I’ve written many posts urging and challenging us all to elevate our celebration of this life-altering event, the Resurrection of Jesus. Watch for how to videos, inspirational ideas, a new Easter Advent banner and calendar and more to help you and hopefully thousands of others show the world Jesus is Lord and King!
There will be more ways to worship and adore Jesus post Easter in the dailyness—yet sacredness—of our homes, but for now that’s enough to whet your appetite I hope.
As I admire the beauty of giant bare oak arms with hundreds of fingered branches silhouetted against a winter sky here at the farm, I rest in a favorite promise. Jesus said, “I am making all things new.”
My mother’s hope and mine is founded on the promise that God will one day restore her body and at the same time will welcome her to a new home with Him and her husband, her brother, mother and dad and beloved family and friends I’ve never met.
My hope is the same, for my destination is the same. God’s word gives us both the same assurance.
We invite you to join us as we learn more about Him, discover a deeper relationship and greater joy and fulfillment in following and loving Him.
Welcome 2018. We step across this new threshold with hope because we know Jesus is already there.