Photo Credit: Yohan Marion, Unsplash media

Navigating the New Year, Awash with Wonder and Life

“Pardon me.”  I smile at her, catching the woman’s eyes.

“Your scarf’s on the floor. I don’t know if it’s wet…” my voice trails off, and I glance at the floor.

Dry near her, puddles pool nonetheless elsewhere. Fresh white snow outside has been plowed and pushed into fifteen feet high mountainous walls, ringing parking lots.

Cars, with rumpled snowdrifts piled high on their tops like bedhead hair, spin wheels and crawl slowly past.

A new year has begun, and I’m back in my school and work day routine. Daniel is at his percussion lesson and middle school band class, and this hour is mine.

A small hot latte warms my hand through the cardboard cup, the coffee sliding heat down me.

The glass window beside me emanates winter’s cold.

Blue pick up truck with white lettering backs up slightly, rear tires splattering snow. Black minivan turns the corner. Snow spurts. Shiny white town-car races by while dusty jeep maneuvers roads carefully.

How do we navigate the new year?

Blue car backs up out of the Tex-Mex restaurant’s drive-up, and two cars pass each other without much margin as snow drifts have narrowed roadways.

How do we best plow forward? How do we maneuver uncertain landscapes?

The coffee shop is busy. People come and go, but four tables haven’t changed. Scarf woman and her companion speak long beside me, of life, community, church, family, and goals for the future.

Two young teachers at another table nearby have been brainstorming techniques to best reach students who frequently act out in their classrooms. They laugh, commiserate, share strategies, and keep going. Solitary men at tables by the front window study and work silently, the minutes passing.

I stop to look at the time. I have twenty minutes left.

How do we navigate the New Year? How do I maneuver on uncertain terrain?

Pulling close my Bible, and journal, and smooth-rolling pen, I begin.

Hi Abba God, thank you. Thanks for: 

  • safety on snowy roads
  • cars that start
  • drum lessons
  • car mechanics who can fix my daughter’s car and for money to pay for that
  • running water and heat on cold winter days
  • your Presence, your Word
  • breath each day
  • that “You hold the words of life!” 

Flipping to where I last left off in the Bible, I can feel crinkly fragile pages under my fingertips.

“So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eye witnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting with the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught,”  a first century doctor named Luke said in the Bible book of Luke chapter 1.

My alarm hasn’t gone off yet but I feel the answer lighting up and I scramble to put it into words.

  • In gratitude, with tenacious hope and joy. Yes.
  • With intention, in purposeful communities of people. Yes.
  • Resting in God’s love and presence, striving to awaken myself daily to his words and way of doing things. Yes.

That’s how I’m choosing to navigate the new year.

Sunshine glitters off fresh white snow, and the blue sky gleams. White snowflakes cling to tree branches and the world feels magical, beautiful, awash with life and newness.


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Jennifer speaks often at MOPS/MomsNext groups, at conferences, churches, retreats, camps, home school co-ops and more. She loves getting to know people and making new friends.

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