I always feel a bit ambivalent about a New Year starting. On one hand I look back at the year past and feel that I could have done so much better, so much more. This past year has been a particularly difficult year for our family. I have battled with health issues which exhaust me emotionally more than anything else. My uncle died last December following a very short illness, which meant my aunt has had to move back to South Africa. My dad started the year off with a triple bypass followed by complications and two return trips to ICU. God has graciously spared him and we are so grateful but it has been a stressful time for our family.
I lost my job and had to take a much lower paying job. While we have battled financially as a result, I am also much happier and calmer in my new job and for the first time in years actually look forward to going to work. This loss of income has meant that we have had to take my daughter out of her expensive private school, which for those of you who live in South Africa or know anything about our public school system know that it has been a big blow to our family, particularly my daughter. We are also in the process of selling our house as we are no longer able to pay our bond and at the moment face a very uncertain future in terms of where we are going to live and how we are going to cover expenses. This financial stress has also brought me closer to some dear friends who have let me cry on shoulders when needed and prayed with and for me when I feel weak and afraid. I thank God for this family He has given to believers.
We have also lost a number of friends this year to illness and accidents, some younger than we are. This brought great sadness but also helped me to remember that this life has no guarantees and that only God know when our time is up, so I need to live my life to the full while I can because there may be no tomorrow. It has also inspired me to stop putting off the things I fear or the things that want to do “one day” when I have the time. These include losing a LOT of weight that is literally holding me back from living my best life. It also means finishing a degree that I have wanted to complete for years but was held back by fear. It means connecting with friends round a cup of coffee and not just on Facebook. And putting paint brush to paper and ink on a page. You get the idea.
I do not know what 2017 holds and I have no guarantee that I will be here to greet the New Year and see in 2018. What I do have in hope and a faithful God to cling to in all things. May your 2017 be full of God’s blessings and may you experience all His goodness.
A small aside. I have a friend, Dalene Reyburn who is a brilliant writer and she just published a book of devotions called Walking in Grace which is coming out in January 2017. Please go to her blog for a free copy of the first chapter of her book and grab a copy of, in fact grab several copies for friends and family. Dalene has been given the gift of writing and touching our souls where they need it most. I am getting nothing from this promotion except the knowledge that you will be supporting a friend and will be blessed by what she has to say.