When a new year approaches, I often experience a tingle of excitement and anticipation as I wonder what lies ahead. Finally January 1 arrives. Visually it’s as though I’ve turned the final page of last year’s book and reached for a brand new book…the story that God will write in my heart and life in the new year.

That’s what happened this year. The joy of celebrating an early Christmas with my nephew Casey and his daughter Piper still lingered in my heart. I welcomed in the new year with friends and the next morning had a free day ahead of me. Opening a new journal, I jotted down highlights and “low lights” from last year and pondered some dreams and plans and possible adventures for 2015. That night I went to bed with a calm heart and a smile on my face.

Then the rhythm of life began to penetrate my world. Monday morning arrived along with numerous responsibilities as a member of a leadership team that was meeting for the entire week to plan for the new year.

Reminders about church and community commitments began to pop up on my phone.  Sad news from a niece relating to a family crisis as well as triumphant news from a nephew who had begun a wonderful new career spun me into roller-coaster emotions.

Today nothing went according to plan. Hoping that a service rep was coming to attend to urgent electrical home repairs, I listened while the polite young woman on the phone explained that the first available appointment is two days from now.

I’d reserved this morning for writing to you about my thoughts for the new year. Instead, unexpected and urgent work emails crowded out those hours. As I looked ahead in my calendar I felt overwhelmed with responsibilities in many arenas. I wondered how I’d have the stamina and wisdom to fulfill each one.

Then God gently reminded me to cease striving and be still; to entrust my plans to Him because He sees the complete picture and knows how it will all be accomplished.

Interestingly, a canceled commitment for this weekend is allowing me to participate in my church women’s retreat. Seems that all along God had planned to give me this special chance to cease striving, be still for a few days, and center my thoughts on Him and His Word. Surely I will be recharged and better prepared to step into the new year His way.

“Be still and know that I am God!”
Psalm 46:10a

“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24