“Heaven is closer than you know.” – Hillsong United
At the end of last year, I was brimming with joy. Abundant family time, cuddles with our newest family member and last-hurrah’s with friends for the year plus reflecting on all the growth and connection that happened this past year had me so full of gratitude, love and contentment. I closed the year where I’d selected savor and honesty as my guiding words feeling as if those words created a life in which I truly lived from a place of greater peace and candor. It was a good year.
In this warm feeling and reflection, my word for the new year felt secure and ready to be picked. 2017 would be the word of Grace for me. Grace. It would become what I chose to focus on, look for and hopefully have more of at this time a year from now. I chose grace because I had clearly come to see I needed more of this gentleness, forgiveness, free love that I saw in Christ and I longed to be more like I know Him to be when I lack grace toward myself, others and life itself. Grace. It felt right, pure and hopeful to see what God would do in a year to come.
And then…January. January in all it’s brutal coldness. Temperatures in the teens with wind factors and snow hit me as if I got thrown into ice water. Within hours of the new year I discovered I had laryngitis – maybe from the dry temps indoors or overuse at all the wonderful holiday parties – and had to face the cold that my little body never did deal with easily.
So with the new year and new word came an abruptness I was not ready for. Very quickly the sense of joy, peace, and hope swapped places with exhaustion, sadness and lonesomeness as traveling place to place because harder and I was told to stay quiet and heal. My little body and soul have always struggled against the cold and dark of this season. But adding to that this year a fresh diagnosis that told me to live quieter… showed me quickly I was in great need…great need of one very thing.
There I was, not even one week into a year where I knew I wanted to experience and express more grace in my life and I was soaked in my very need of that one thing. I needed grace for my body – it’s fragility caused by the cold, a voice that needed rest and skin that desperately needed healing. I needed grace for the distance my sweet extroverted soul felt from community caused by the physical limitation of my voice and body.
Grace, simply put, for being human.
I will be the first one to say the phrase Richard Rohr so often repeats from Paula D’Arcy “God comes to us disguised as our life.“ But, I will also be the first to humbly admit that doesn’t mean life will be even slightly easy.
So in the seasons such as I find myself in now, seasons where there is less to draw from, less to give, less overflow of life, may we all choose grace. May we all allow our bodies, minds and spirits to be human, to have need and then, as if by a small miracle, to have those needs met, cared for, and even healed.
Lean in. Trust that without the snow, darkness or whatever struggle you find in your season there would not be the opportunity, no necessity, to receive the very miracle that grace is.
So this year, me we allow the seasons to come so the grace can follow. May we seek and not give up to find grace around us, in others, in rest and maybe even in our very selves by uncovering the God the graciously lies within and under the layers of snow, darkness and season.
Grace & peace my friends.
Extra Musings and Random Thoughts
In winter I find joy in the little things. Picture is something I absolutely love to enjoy… my “coworker” when I freelance from home. Ellie aka “Elizabeth Jane” or “baby girl”.
Incredibly thankful for those in my life that fill it with connection, community and love. In the dead of winter, the things that mean the most are the people who care. My hope is each one of you have a community of people or a person that you can lean on whenever and wherever you are. We are made for relationship. Always always reach out and be brave to connect. I guarantee you will be healthier and happier for it.