Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Calendar

Happy New Year!

I like seasons for the way they give us an opportunity to measure our lives. This morning I measured my kids and we ooohed and ahhhhed over how much they've grown since last New Years'. In the same way, I like to take a few quiet moments every New Years' Day and remember/evaluate the last year and consider the new year.

Like my children, I hope that I've grown in the last year--the more the better! I know I've "grown" over the holidays, but hopefully that's not permanent. What I want to know is if I've grown through life experiences. Have they made me bitter or better? Each year brings surprises--both good and bad. Last year held unexpected losses and disappointments. We were also surprised by unanticipated delights and answers to prayer.

Today I hang up a new calendar. Believe it or not, this used to cause me quite a bit of anxiety. All those blank pages and who knew what they held? There were a lot of "what ifs" for me on all those pages. I like to plan out my life, in fact, if my husband would let me, I'm pretty sure I'd plan the next five or ten years, complete with charts, graphs, and maps! (If this seems completely bizarre to you, you can just pray for me and skip this post!) However, one of the benefits of getting older is that you can get a little wiser too and I'm starting to see a pattern in my life. With all those blank calendars I've hung and all the unexpected things that filled in those blank spots, I've learned that God has been good and He has watched over me and helped me with all the really tough stuff and heaped a bunch of other blessings on me too!

I've learned that there are no "what ifs" in God's vocabulary. The closest thing I can find is Jesus asking, "What if you gained the whole world and lost your soul?" (John 8:36) A thought-provoking question, but not an expression of uncertainty. Clearly, "what if" is a result of being human and unable to know the future. Thankfully, we have a Father whom we can trust with the future. God knows that His plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11). He knows that when we place the heartbreaking stuff in His hands He will give us joy in the place of mourning (Isaiah 61:3). He knows that when we surrender to Him all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). He knows that all His promises are true (2 Corinthians 1:20).

With all of this in mind, it's a little easier to hang that blank calendar with a childlike sense of anticipation. My Poppa is with me! He has good plans for me! He will help me with the tough stuff!

Go ahead and plan your holidays and your next oil change. And don't forget to look with wide-eyed expectation for the good plans that He has for you. He loves you!

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ,
who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from
God's love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love."
Romans 8: 31, 35 & 38


  1. :D What if what if doesn't matter?


  2. Thanks Michelle, that was really good. It inspired me!! Rachel

  3. Amen, sistah! And I'm TOTALLY the same way in the "planning life for the next 5-10 years" thing ;)

  4. not surprised to see that Spirit-filled gift of encouragement busting out! love ya.

  5. I admire you Michelle. Soemhow I missed your blog until now. You are doing what I have only thought about doing for several years! Blogging is a great way to share life and encourage others. We all need encouragement. (Bet you can't figure out who "Jordan" is. Hint: I dumped a cold pail of water on you in Smithers, one hot summer day!:)

  6. Sorry, "Jordan"! Old age is setting in--can't remember a pail of cold water--can I have another hint?