The Best Way to Start A New Year (& turn any hard into high)

I’d stood one spring morning and watched.

Watched how those star jasmine had finally flourished, marveled how they’d fully flowered.

They hadn’t always.

And I’d been told to wait.

Wait till the cool breeze of spring blows. Wait till a year’s count is full, and summer heat’s over, and winter cold is gone.

Wait till spring comes, because when it does — they’ll flower like nobody’s business.

how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)

I’d taken the time to stop and see.

See how those jasmine’s green foliage had wrapped themselves around the trellis, twirled towards the sun, and blossomed with sweet-scented flowers that had formed a bit of a garland over my deck. 

I’d noticed and traced.

Next year at spring I’d been told, they’d spill over my wall like a crowning for the common, like a spread of beauty for the bruisedon those deck.

And it’s true — it’s in tracing the ordinary life that one gets to see — there’s nothing common when the sacred enters and there’s simple beauty that makes life surprisingly bountiful.

Bountiful as you live blessing others.

Beautiful as you believe He’s blessing you, singing over you.

That it’s in embracing your own life that you become more alive. (Not in envying another person’s life, not in hoping to walk in another person’s shoe).

And it’s in living through your season (whatever that might be), that you’d find the strength to survive every other season.

Those star jasmine — it’d taken us a year and four seasons in all to see them bud.

And for a hard year that’s just about to turn — and whatever energy that had been sapped away by summer heat and dreams frozen by winter blues,  spring is coming — and you will bloom again.

I’m believing it:

That though it may not be your season of bloom, it can always be your reason to become. 

Because you will truly blossom when you grow and become, in allowing yourself shaped in and through every season.

It’s mid-December now, less than a week into our Christmas, and almost the start into a brand new year. 

And with what still scars in recovery – God truly is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all our hope into a brand new year.

When spring ended and summer rolled in a couple of weeks ago, the Husband started stringing up some Christmas lights in the back of our home. 

He wrapped every pillar and covered all those decking with lights as many as he could get his fingers on like it really was nobody’s business. Like he could have bought the entire aisles of Bunnings’ lights back and lit up every possible corner of our home.

how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)

He covered what doesn’t flower with what glimmers now.

He coloured the plain and I remember what I told the kids:

In every middle of still the hard and the uncertain,  know you’re blessed, and you’ll live a blessing.

We read about Abram.

Read about how God had sent him out of the certainty of Ur into the uncertainty of the Promised Land with just an instruction.

And an assurance.

I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing”. (Genesis 12:1-3)

I’d read this while the kids were spooning pikelets onto their plates and dripping them with honey.

And in allowing what we read to read into me, (and into what hadn’t worked out and what felt like failures and fractures that I don’t know how to fix), I’m the one licking the honey, I’m the one savouring the sweet.

“I will bless you…and you shall be a blessing”  — I read them slow, and told them:

That blessings? — they come as a Person. 

They come personified in Christ and personalised for us.

how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)
how to have the best new year (& turn any hard into high)

That we can experience His blessings and press His promises into every painful and poor places of our lives, and see our own pitcher full – and all those hard turning into all that will yield.

Faith is a whisper along these words and making them yours:

I am blessed by the Lord — by the One who shields and surrounds and surprises me with His favour. Again. Today”

That promise is for you and me, no matter how hard the year’s proven to be. 

You can cling on to it too:

Hard Year = High Yield

Because there’s a way to turn what’s been hard in your year into what’s higher for your future.

Regardless of what you might have faced this year that have been harsh for you, let Him hush you with His love.

Where you’ve been fractured, let Him father you. 

When you’ve lost your way, let Him be your way. 

No matter what — He comes as the bread of life, the sustainer of hope, and the source of power that lights us up.

To light every dark up, to tear every fear away.

So I’d stood every night admiring.

Admiring those lights and realising how Christmas is this promise of all things new. 

Christmas comes at the same time every year reminding us that Christ comes as the blessing to remove every burden, and redeem every broken, and better every bruised heart.

So we can experiences His blessing stronger than our strongest reality.

And truly walk like Abraham did.

He who stared into the darkness of the night and stopped to count all that scattered in the sky, then dared himself: “Would I trust in the heart of the Father more than the hard of my life? Would I believe in the blessings more than what my body says? Would I rest in the promises more than my prohibitions?

I’d stared at all those twinkles and dared my darkness: yeah, no one cares to endure the pain of growth or live through another moment of barrenness — but growth is always evident to the eyes of faith. To anyone who’d see that His blessings still fill the barren of hearts so they can overflow and bloom.

Impasses aren’t meant to leave us feeling stuck.

Impasses are meant to make us look past our ability into the God of all possibilities. (Can we still sow the seeds of the ordinary and expect fruits extraordinary? Can we gather growing friendships with little people and believe that you’re impacting them with a bit of food and a lot of love somehow, someway?)

He’s the One who’ll light your inner fire until you know that when everything feels up in the air, it’s actually His very love that’s filling your very air.

He really loves us like it’s nobody’s business.

And yeah, those star jasmine has stopped flowering for now.  But I know that what remains hidden in the different seasons spread bountiful in the right season.

Because we’ll keep believing we’re blessed.

And we’ll keep living the blessed life that blesses others.

And we’ll keep opening up our heart till all hearts can huddle and really heal. 

So why not?

Why not believe like it’s nobody’s business that you can live in great joy every day living out your God-given potentials?

Why not believe that your spring will one day come, and that you serve a God who insistently blesses, who sifts you and shifts seasons for you, so that at the end of a hard year you can still say: 

“… (He) crowns (my) year with goodness, and drips (my path) with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11)

And when you trace His hands through your year, you can really see them:

There are uncommon graces in common places.

There are new friendships forged in forgotten firmaments. 

And you can whisper it back to you — ” I’m blessed, I’m healed, I’m whole.”

So let any hard year be just that.

A year to make you higher.

A year to surrender to His blessings.

A year where He shapes you as you stay in Him.

You’ll be greater as you go higher. 

Higher as you go lower.

Higher as you stoop deeper.

Because He is turning all that is against you to work for you, all your harsh into every hallelujah…

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