I think I’ve always associated a new year with aspirations of losing weight, or setting some sort of goal that I wanted to reach. How many books did I want to read in a year? How many miles did I want to walk? How many steps did I want to take each day? How many pounds would I lose? You know what I mean? All these goals, many of them achievable, but I didn’t ever follow through on them.
But this year, I’ve taken pause. It’s still 2019 where I’m at. We are sitting at 9:26 pm at the time of this writing and I’m contemplating the excitement of a new year, and a new decade.
This last decade was so tough. I feel like I’ve been walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and I’m really ready for some sunshine and joy! I’ve felt like my entire heart and mind have been muzzled, stifled, and restricted. Like, I’ve had these pressing words and pressing hopes and dreams ready to burst forth, but the time just hasn’t been right. But my heart feels very much like a beautiful green bean seedling about ready to bloom with something amazing.
When I was growing up, I had these large, seasonal gardens. I don’t think I tended to them as well as I would today, because I was a kid, but boy did I love those plants. They brought so much joy. One of my favorite plants to grow was green beans. They were my pride and joy. I’d plant the little beans in the ground and water them, every single morning. About 6-7 days later, what would I see? These cute, little buds of green pressing up through the ground. They were beautiful, bright, fresh… they were a beautiful new green. I wouldn’t personally wear that green, but in garden life, it is my absolute favorite color. The beauty of new life never ceases to astound me.
My heart feels like that. It feels just. like. that. Like I’m finally seeing, maybe through the eyes of faith, a little bud of special green peaking up through the earth. The earth that has been solid, firm, unyielding, and parched, is finally soft, fertilized with the truth of His Word and something….something miraculous and great is about to burst forth.
You see, green beans grow over night. One day you will see this cute little bud of green peeping through the soil and the next day, you’ll see three or four leaves all sprouted out and growing almost as you watch it. Those 6-7 days of being the dark feel like an eternity. But if you look closer, you’d see that the bean-seed that has been in the ground for those few days wasn’t just sitting there. It was growing long, luscious roots. If you pulled the bean-seed out of the ground, you’d see probably three or four inches of root. It’s honestly amazing.
Isaiah 43: 19 says, “This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through the pounding waves, the God who summons horses and chariots and armies– they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles; “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say, “Thank you!”– the coyotes and the buzzards– Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself a people custom-made to praise Me.” *
That time in the dark is so necessary for the green beans to take root, gather nutrients from the soil and become solid in ground it was planted in. It’s the same with me. It’s the same for you. Sometimes I’ve wondered why the dark time has had to last so long, but I feel like, just around the corner, in 2020, I’m going to start seeing why. The mess that has been my life for the last decade, and the last year, is about to turn into a message. The tests that have come my way are about to turn into testimonies. The growing and the maturing I’ve done is about to unmuzzle the voice that God has given me and that stifled, suffocating feeling is about to be unlocked and destroyed.
I don’t know what the last decade has held for you. I don’t know if the next year or decade might be tough for you. You may be sitting there, dreading what 2020 is going to do, or what it will bring, and if I’m honest with you, I’m trepedacious as well. Part of me wants to hold back, put up walls, and sit in my comfort zone. But that’s not going to get me to where God wants me to be, and that’s not going to get you there either. I think back to watching Frozen 2 in the theater with my girls just a short few weeks ago and how Anna said, “I’m going to just do the next right thing…” and the next right thing was for her to wake the giants and get them to knock the wall down. It looked like knocking that wall down was going to destroy her city, but instead, it freed the people behind that wall and of course, Elsa swooped in to save the day with her icy powers. That’s what Jesus is to us. He’s our Elsa, swooping in to save the day, while we do the next right thing.
So here’s to 2020 and the decade to follow. Let’s do the next right thing and see what God does with our faith, our trust and our hope, being placed in Him. We don’t have to see the end. We don’t have to see the middle. All we have to do is see the next step, the next right thing, and do it. He’ll do the rest!
Cheers to 2020 and His faithfulness to us! Happy New Year!!!
* side note: when I wrote this blog post, I hadn’t ready today’s scripture (01.01.2019) and when I did, I knew I had to add it in. It felt like solid confirmation on what God was speaking to me earlier about when I wrote the original blog post.