By Lisa Huddleston

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

I love beginnings.  There is the promise of things to come, the hope of adventure and new discoveries, and the slightest hint of fear to give just the right amount of edge to the whole experience.  Will I be able to do what I’ve committed to?  Will I fall flat on my face or will things go better than I hope?  Am I prepared for the challenges I will face or have I jumped in over my head?  It’s exciting to see if I will sink or swim.  Will I drown, tread water, dog paddle, or pull a Michael Phelps and race in victory to the other side of the pool?  It’s all unsure at this point of the game.  And here I sit poised to jump in.  And here you sit, too.

Yesterday, I got out an empty calendar to begin the task of transferring birthdays and already scheduled events into the blank squares that represent every one of the coming days in 2011.  It’s something I look forward to doing every year.  Like so many other things this holiday season, I put this off much later than usual.  It seemed as though the time just got away from me.  For example, I always send Christmas cards the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t get around to it until December 28th this year.  Yes, Christmas was already over so we sent “Season’s Greetings” instead.  And don’t even ask what happened to baking and decorating my grandmother’s special sour cream cutout cookies.  There are some things I just don’t want to talk about right now.

But that’s all in the past.  Tomorrow is the new beginning of a new year with a new calendar and new hope.  How will I fill it?  What are the things I will choose to let go of this year—like the Christmas cookies?  What are the things I will choose to add?  Will I spend my days with purpose and intentionality or will the days run through my fingers like uncounted grains of sand?  It’s so easy to let time get away.  But I want these days to count.  And it’s all good as still here I sit and gaze into the water of 2011.

I have some big plans.  To guide two small groups all the way through the Bible in a year—with the Holy Spirit as our Teacher.  To complete another year of my graduate degree in Christian Studies.  To increase my coaching practice.  To keep writing.  And, most of all, to be open to the new opportunities God sends my way—the really scary stuff that I can’t yet plan for because I have no idea what they will be.  Just thinking about it all gives me both thrills and chills.  But it is definitely new and positively exciting to ponder “in the beginning.”

And that is where we sit.  Still at the very beginning.  Still poised to dive in.  And still with the whole unused year ahead of us.  Oh yeah … and it all begins tomorrow.  Please, guide me, Lord.  Use me to make a difference in 2011.  Just as you spoke it all into being in the beginning, speak now to shape my days—and help me to swim the race with everything you’ve put in me. 

What do you like the most about the gift of a new year?  How are you planning to make the most of the next 365 days?  I invite you to join the Women’s Ministry of FBC Lebanon and dive into God’s word to see how it will change you by this time next year.  “In the beginning God created …”  Oh yeah!  I’m excited about what the future holds!

4 thoughts on “A BRAND NEW YEAR

  1. Jennifer Hille says:

    I too, as many others, find myself in a similar state of mind. Thinking of all the things I wanted to achieve and ran out of time. When I think about how fast time is going and I have not reached all the goals I want to, I start to go into panic mode. You helped me to stop and step back, and to consider not what I want to achieve, but what does God want me to achieve. My life is on his time schedule and not mine. I hope to take things in stride this year and accomplish what I am meant to.

  2. Anne Trudel says:

    Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts on the new year. I have made some New Year’s intentions (not resolutions, as I gave up on those several years ago) and shared them on Facebook. I think, at least I hope, that one of my intentions was to draw closer to God. If I didn’t write that, I meant to. Others include playing the piano more, practicing kindness and patience (so far I’m not sure I’ve done so well at that), being fully present with my family and friends, listening more than talking (that’s a stretch for me, as an extravert). I am constantly seeking God’s intentions for my life…and I am discovering that God has more than one plan for my life, which relieved me a great deal when I realized that. I used to think that God had a plan for my life, and if I missed, what then? I am so glad that God can work with our humanity (and the messes we make of our lives) and bring something good out of it all, even when we can’t see it at the time it’s happening. Best wishes to you as you continue to work on your master’s in Christian studies (one of my friends did the same program) and as you lead the Bible studies. Loved your Christmas card. Oh my…the kids are all grown up. Blessings to you & your family this year! Love, Anne

    • Lisa Huddleston says:

      Amen to second chances and new beginnings! So glad to hear from you and to read about your “intentions.” It encourages me to read your plans. Isn’t it great that we can always keep learning? 🙂 Happy New Year!

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