Happy New Year, and Welcome to 2017!

1-thess-5-18We’ve been buried under snow and experiencing bitter cold temperatures for the past week.  Still, once Christmas is over and New Year’s Eve’s come and gone, I immediately go into a looking-forward-to-Spring mode.  I took down the tree on the 2nd and put away all the decorations for another year, and I always feel like the house looks so much more open and refreshing afterwards.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas and decking the halls and all, but it’s nice to go back to normal.  I let my Feng Shui OCD take hold of me as I put my house in order again.

Lucy Maude Montgomery in her classic, Anne of Green Gables book said, ““Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”  There is a sense of expectation each New Year that we’re starting the year fresh with no mistakes to account for…yet.  My most popular blog post over the past three years has been https://lynndove.com/2013/01/01/25-encouraging-scripture-verses-for-the-new-year/ that particular post gets at least 25,000 hits in one day!  Just seems that so many people want to start the New Year off right with encouragement from the Word.

I have been pondering upon each of those verses over the past few days, letting God’s Word wash over me.  So many unknowns this year, but God never changes.  He is the same today, tomorrow and for eternity.  His mercies are new EVERY morning.  We are incredibly arrogant to think that we can change what God has allowed to happen in the past, present and into the future.  He is not surprised by world events, or world leaders; He tells us HE is in control and He will always be in control!  The challenge is to be content, knowing He is in control in the midst of all circumstances.

But am I?

Am I content when the New Year has Albertans seeing gas prices jump at the pump, and home heating bills rise, and numerous other costs we need to consider now that we have a new carbon tax in the province?  Am I content knowing that Canada will also be affected when a new U.S. president is inaugurated?  Am I content or am I worried?

Merriam-Webster defines contentment as: freedom from worry or restlessness :  peaceful satisfaction.  If I believe God is in control do I actually experience that kind of “freedom” from worry and luxuriate in peaceful satisfaction?  Honestly…it’s tough.

Still, God is teaching me through His Word and through practical application that I need to let go of worry and try to experience contentment in all circumstances – known and unknown.

Last Sunday morning, on the first day of this New Year, I was privileged to witness one of my former students get baptized.  I wept when she sang her own version of “Amazing Grace” because she has embraced what it means to be content no matter her circumstances.  Not an easy thing to do when only five years ago she was a carefree, girl of nine and now she is blind and mostly confined to a wheelchair due to a traumatic brain injury five years ago.

I didn’t really know much about Hope Peacock before her injury other than maybe bumping into her at the school I taught in.  At that time I was teaching in the Junior High wing and she and her sister were in the Elementary wing.  Her father, Trevor is the Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Calgary where my daughter and son-in-law attend.  The first time I officially met Hope was at my grandson’s baby shower.  She and her little sister, Gabi cuddled a little with my grandson and then retreated to play with the other girls who had come with their mothers’ to the shower.  Several months later, I got an urgent message from my daughter to pray for her Pastor and his family when Hope had gone into the hospital for a routine tonsillectomy and through a series of unfortunate complications was having serious, life-threatening seizures.  (If interested, my readers can read about Hope’s journey through her blog: http://prayingforhopepeacock.blogspot.ca/ )

I immediately put out an appeal to pray for her and her family through our church’s prayer chain and later through my blog: https://lynndove.com/2012/02/08/praying-for-hope/  We were praying at school, at church, at home, and Hope’s mom, Heather kept us all updated on Hope’s condition.  There have been real miracles throughout these five years, and doctors have been baffled at times with her progress, but there have also been heart-wrenching discouragements too.  Many times I have questioned why God has not chosen to fully restore Hope to full health, but I know He is still in control!

Three years ago, in the midst of her medical challenges, Hope opted to join my Creative Writing class at school.  I wondered if her brain injury would impact her ability to perform well in class.  I need not have feared.  With the help of her terrific aid, who transcribed all of Hope’s stories and poems onto a computer, Hope became one of my most prolific and inspiring writers.  She seemed to find her voice through writing!  Every writing assignment I gave the class that year, Hope eagerly accepted and completed.  I told her that even though I would not be teaching her the following year, she could send me her writing any time.  Last year she shared this acrostic poem with me:

Wheelchair – by Hope Peacock

W – “Wanna go for a stroll, Hope?” says my wheelchair to me.

H – Happily Hope replies, “What would I do without you?!

E – Everywhere I go, you keep me company, my friend.

E – Eyeballs stare as we go past, maybe wondering how we met.

L – Living with you can be hard at times, cause I’d rather use my feet, but I like that you carry me through.

C – Comfortable sitting on your cushy seat carries me to a fluffy cloud of heavenly bliss.

H – Helping me everyday to get from here to there.

A – Able to get through my day, because you bear my weight.

I – I love you, my wheelchair friend, even though you bring me pain and grief.

R – Riding along, you will be a part of the story God is writing for me.”

I wept when I read it then and I still tear up when I read it!  She has learned in five short years, what has taken, and is still taking me a lifetime to figure out, to be content in all circumstances.

Last Sunday, as I watched her Dad gently lift her from the confines of her wheelchair to enter the waters of baptism, I remembered the last line of her poem.  God is writing Hope’s story, and He’s using her wheelchair and personal testimony for His Glory!  Amen and Amen.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Happy New Year, and Welcome to 2017!

  1. Lynn, I am always encouraged to read your posts, but this one has touched me tremendously. Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging your fellow sojourners. The power of testimony is amazing – it confirms that God’s grace, mercy and love are our banner, and indeed, our hope. I pray that you will continue to be amazed, inspired and inspiring. May God richly bless you and yours.

  2. Jennifer Crismon says:

    Lynn, this was an especially inspiring post … keeping our eyes on the prize before us! There was no mistake when this precious child was named HOPE as she embodies the meaning.

  3. sharonespeseth says:

    Thanks for sharing this strong testimony of the young Hope Peacock’s story. We need to hear testimonies like hers to remember how much we have to be thankful for. May God be with hope and her family, and may they ever teach us how to be loving, happy, and thankful. Amen.

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