Happy New Year! It’s the first Monday of 2014. The kids are back to school, and Emerald and I are resuming our morning routine of sitting under a blanket on the couch watching Doc McStuffins. I’m sad that the break is over, and that real life must begin again. I can’t help but wonder what the new year will hold.
We started 2014 with a bang. We took the kids to Six Flags. Emerald stayed with my mother so we could avoid the stroller-pushing, Goldfish stuffing, baby crying to toddle all over the park type of Six Flags experience. No, we hit the place in a dead run. We couldn’t be slowed down by baby-ness.
We rode a lot of the big rides, and Adelade and Sawyer were terribly brave. They got on roller coasters. And during each wait in line, I noticed Adelade’s face getting pale. I recognized the white-knuckled way that she waited for each ride, butterflies probably beating their wings around her insides. She was putting on a brave front, but I could see she was scared. And, truthfully, that’s probably how half of the people standing around her felt as they got closer and closer to the front of the line. They knew they should want to ride. They knew it was what they’re supposed to do at Six Flags. They even knew that they would probably enjoy it once they got on the ride. But, the anticipation was almost too much.
Adelade was challenging herself.
Would she be brave enough to step out on the platform when it was her turn?
Would she survive the ride?
And, the worst part for her, I think, was the climb up the first big hill. The click-click-click of the car as it went higher and higher in the air. The daunting view from the top of a mountainous beginning. And, most frightening of all, the uncertainty of what laid on the other side.
Kind of like the beginning of 2014.
It’s hard not to be apprehensive, maybe even a little scared, as we step out onto the platform of a new year. We know there are things we are called to do. We know God has plans for us. And, we even know in our hearts that there are plenty of things that we will enjoy about the year. But, it’s still a little scary to climb into the car and listen to the click-click-click of the beginning of the new. When we finally reach the top of a mountain that we’re facing, will we be too overwhelmed by the view from the top? Will we survive whatever lies on the other side of the hill? Will just the anticipation of it all be too much for us, as weak as we are? As fragile as we feel?
Even while I watched Adelade’s brave little face turn more and more pale during the wait, I could tell that she was determined to get on the ride. She was reaching deep down inside for something beyond herself to give her the courage to take the first step through the gate. And, when her shaky little hands buckled each seatbelt and she reached over to grab onto Chad, she relied on the heart knowledge that her daddy wouldn’t allow her to be defeated by the ride, despite the fact that her head told her she was doing something crazy.
Will we do the same this year? Will we climb onto whatever crazy ride that God has called us to, clinging tightly to our Father, knowing in our hearts that He will hold just as tightly to us? Will we overlook our own weakness and draw on the strength and courage that comes only from the power of God in our lives? Will we move forward despite the fact that we feel pale and butterfly-filled?
This year is sure to be a roller coaster experience in one way or another. This time next year, will we be able to say, like Adelade, that we went forward even through we were scared? That we climbed impossibly high mountains with a white-knuckled grip on our Father’s strong arm? That we were not defeated by the twists and turns?
Will we be able to say that the year made us more like Christ?
I pray that we can. Adelade ended her day at Six Flags feeling tired and hungry, but she left the park knowing that she had overcome many anxious glances into the sky at a looming track, and that she was capable of doing things she didn’t know she could do. We can do so much when we stop beating ourselves up for our fear and weakness and just start depending on God to be courage for us. He is able.
And when we reach the top of that first hill and we feel the drop coming, let’s not forget that even in our fear, we can enjoy the ride. Here’s to a fun-filled high-flying time with our Savior in 2014. I know we can do it.