Bright fireworks were shooting off above the large mountains nearby to celebrate the start of a New Year. We were 15 minutes into 2017 and fear grappled my heart more than celebration. As I laid under the thick blankets in the dark and messaged an online friend, I felt tears sting my eyes instead of joy. She had just lost her son the day before and as she typed words of her pain, I couldn’t help but feel afraid for the New Year.
I recalled in my mind how 2016 had been nothing like I had expected. My heart ached for the staggering 6 families who had lost their sons to Lowe Syndrome in the past year. As parents, Peter and I ended 2016 with a long list of added responsibilities to care for Zachary. I had no idea our life would be more tied down than ever before to care for our little 5 year old. G-tubes, feedings, the biggest medicine routine he’s had so far, and the inability to leave home much for fear of his emotional breakdowns flooded my mind.
I didn’t feel excited about a New Year. What would 2017 bring? Would next year end even harder than this year did? It can be so very easy to be filled with fear of the unknown.
I woke up early on January 1 knowing somehow I had to battle the fear and solemness that was darkening my mind and heart. There was definitely so much good in the past year. But sometimes the dark and hard things can consume us more than the light.
How can we battle the fear?
1. Remember the good. Make a list. What do you have to be thankful for from the past year? When I start to think about all God did do in 2016 I suddenly feel like buckling to my knees in awe and praise.
There is so much required to care for Zachary. Even before getting him out of bed in the morning the “to-do” list seems long. But my baby has been healthy and is even growing for the first time in 3 years. We have tremendous doctors, therapists, school teachers, and the closest progress to learning to walk so far. It’s all so good. I’m thankful.
2. Remember Jesus. Because I have Jesus - there’s always joy to be found. He gave his life for me. Our pastor said yesterday “Jesus gave his life for me. That is the greatest news and nothing can top it!”
Circumstances can bring pain, heartache, exhaustion, fear, and lots of unknown. But I can get through what I may face this year because ultimately I have Jesus. Nothing can trump that. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll be right there with me through it all!
3. Remember to pray. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The anxious stuff is going to come this year. How do you and I combat that? Prayer! Jesus wants me to tell him about what’s causing my anxious heart. What am I afraid of? What’s hard? Tell him! I’m not saying praying is going to give me the answer I want - but through prayer I find peace. His peace is what I need. Each day. All year.
I closed my favorite spiral bound planner I’ve used all year long and open my brand new 2017 calendar. The pages are blank and fresh. I have no idea what I will be writing on those pages in March, July, or even October.
I don’t know what’s ahead at all. But I do know there’s been so much good to be thankful for, I have Jesus with me, and I’ll cling to him in prayer all year long. That’s all good. SO very good.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!