Please Be Kind, 2019

First Snow 2019.JPG

We woke this morning to several inches of fresh snow. After breakfast, we bundled up and took a walk in the back field.

It was glorious.

The snow has a way of resetting things. Of ushering us into another world. Of showing me that something new, something spectacular, is possible. If only I cultivate the eyes to see it.

2018 has been difficult for me. I had two surgeries because of an unexpected tumor. I experienced significant betrayal in my work by two people who I counted as friends. I came really close to significant burnout after leading a giving campaign.

And the reality is, on paper at least, I don't have much to show for all of my efforts, and heartache.

Those that betrayed me have done little to mend things.

We're still struggling financially at the church, really in ways I've never encountered, and that are really unsettling to me.

My lip, where the tumor was removed, is still strangely numb and stiff and scarred.

That's how 2018 has felt to me. Wounded, broken, and scarred.

As I've reflected on 2018 this past week, hope has been elusive to me.

I've cried. I've felt sad. I don't know if everything in my life will recover how I'd like it to.

But here's what I know.

There is still goodness, and beauty, newness in the world.

In my life, there is still a partner who wants to do life with me, little boys who adore me, passions that take me in all the way, and a church family who puts up with me, and even kinda likes me sometimes, at least enough to let me do my work in their midst.

There is still a God who is present to me too.

In the darkness, in the rough and tumble of life, in the not yet of waiting, there is still a Father who sees my grief and disappointment and says that he is with me, that a new year and a new season bring new opportunities to know that I am worthy of love and belonging, and that my life matters, because I've been invited to become whole, and somehow, in some crazy way, help others become whole too.

It baffles me, because I often feel more messed up than anyone probably cares to know.

So in this new year of 2019, I don't know what lies ahead. There is massive uncertainty for me, and lots of hopes and wonder that God might be up to something new.

I hope to create new things this year.
I hope to write a book this year.
I hope to work with some pastors who are feeling stunted this year.
I hope to lead on in our church this year.
I hope to have a stronger marriage this year.
I hope to be a better Father this year.
I hope to enjoy some fly fishing, and skiing this year.
I hope that God guides me and meets me in these places this year.

I have goals, I have plans, but 2018 has taught me those don't matter all that much. Because sometimes, life unfolds in such a way where all my goals and plans crumble to pieces.

The snow is beautiful today. The sunshine is glorious. And when I mix all that together, I can begin to see that the sum is greater than the parts added up.

So, hello 2019. It's nice to know you.

Please be kind to us. 
May God go with us this year.

To help us step out in courage
To help us be brave.
To help us face that which we fear the most.

And to help us see the goodness of God in the midst of our fear and trembling.

Because I'll take bravery everyday over fear.

May you find the courage to become that which God is inviting you to become, in 2019.

And may you know the peace of God this year.