The week between Christmas and New Year is one of my very favorites of the year.  Sometimes the 26th….or even about 3pm on the 25th…brings a little slump as the gifts have been unwrapped, the prime rib has been engulfed, and the candles on the cake have been blown out and the delicious Italian Cream Cake underneath those candles has been devoured, and well – it’s simply over.  Over.  The over-ness slump has become a shorter and shorter one for me over the years.  Because something else starts stirring!  I’m reading a book right now that is so so so dang good and here’s one little line that couldn’t be more true: “…here’s the thing about despair: It overtakes the place meant for hope.  It steals the belief that healing is possible.” (Rebekah Lyons, You Are Free)

And hope is what starts stirring as January 1 inches closer to our present instead of our future.

Hope for what may come.  Hope for what is happening.  Hope for the wonder of beginning to see what the next chapter will hold.  Hope for Him.  It’s exciting.

It’s exciting even when we feel like we are limping over the finish line of 2016.  That’s how I feel this year.  I feel like He’s turned my world upside down and he’s bringing healing to things that, frankly, I didn’t see as areas that needed that much attention.  Ha!  Ain’t that a kicker!

I rather like leaping and bounding over the finish line of one year and into the race track of the next. I went through a few years of loving to run.  My longest races were two half marathons and, by far, my favorite part about running was the end of the race.  When your muscles are fatigued and worn and every little voice screams ‘this is too much’ as your near the finish line….. and you contemplate walking instead of running over that dang line.  But then.  Something rises over all of that.  My eyes would lock in on that line and from somewhere a sprint would take over my legs and my arms would pump harder pulling my body to run faster than I had the entire race.  Now that’s good.

This year, I’m definitely walking rather than sprinting over the line.  But even typing those words, brings a smile because it is okay to just get over the line!  Sometimes, weakness is a gift. Sometimes, it realigns perspective.  Sometimes, it reminds me that success in life and in Him is not born from my feelings of strength.  Feelings of strength are often mistaken for strength.  Strength is deeper than what feelings tell us.

To me, the connection between strength and hope is undeniable.

And that makes me wonder, do you feel hope?

It’s okay to be honest about feeling despair.  It’s important to be honest about what we feel.  It’s the starting point, after all!  But keep this in mind….despair and hope contend for the same spot.  The same spot!  And there are times that hope feels out of reach.  It feels like having hope would require more faith than is available to us at the moment.  My friend, that’s a good time to ask Him for help to hope.  A simple plea, a simple call for rescue.

So know that I’m thinking over you as we approach January 1 and the beginning of new.  The cold and clear air a picture to us that He really does make all things new.  He is the changer.  He is the One who moves swiftly when the time is right.  He is the holder of everything that we need.  He is trustworthy.

As you read today, may you be filled with hope.  May you be filled with hope.  It doesn’t matter if we are leaping and bounding or if we are slowly walking over the line of one year into the next….He is hope.  My prayer is that all despair loses its grip and that hope floods in, in its place.

Much much love and happy New Year!

Honest Abi and her honest chin…and its honest companion, The Christmas Cold Sore