I am a big fan of new beginnings. For years, there have been certain markers in my life that bring me a good measure of joy at the thought of a clean slate and a fresh start. Mondays hold a special place in my heart, offering a new week full of opportunities to try again. I'm fond of August because for over twenty years, it meant the beginning of a new school year, both as a homeschooling and public school family. And for as long as I can remember, January has always felt like a big ol' door swinging wide open into twelve months of possibility. New beginnings are the best.
However, this December, like no other December I can remember, I have struggled a bit to be excited about turning the final page on a calendar year and diving into yet another January. On December 31st, 2020, at 4:39 p.m., I received the news that would drastically change the next new beginning I would face. January 2021 still felt like a new beginning, but it was obviously different. Unexpected. Unwelcome. Unknown. Last January would lead me into the most difficult year of my life, and while I am able to see so much good that has come of the past twelve months, it is impossible to completely shut out the memories of pain, sorrow, anger, and intense disappointment I have wrestled with. And if I'm being honest, I have had some fear about what the next January might bring.
I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about what 2022 might hold. It would be easy to let the worries of the past year creep into those thoughts and become afraid of what is coming. When you've been beat up and seen those you love beat up as well, fear can be all-consuming. But I've been working hard to let the voice of hope be louder than the voices of doubt and pain. Doing that work has looked like dreaming big and making plans. I've also been remembering how I've been cared for because the ways I've been loved makes me want to love others better. I am a different person going into 2022 than I was going into 2021. Thank God for that.
I wanted to leave this year with a song as a message for January - both January 2021 and January 2022. I asked Houston if he would take this song and put together a video using some photos throughout the past year because all of it is worth remembering and reason for celebrating. Even the pictures of the tougher days are worth acknowledging because they remind me how far I've come and that fills me with more gratitude than I can possibly express.
I pray your January brings you a beginning filled with fresh starts and new adventures. I pray you are able to turn the calendar page with gratitude for what you've survived and with excitement for the path set before you. And however you are ending 2021, I pray you will walk bravely into a new year with great joy, hearing the sound of hope, loud and clear. There are good days ahead.
Hey January 2021
I never dreamed you'd come
And put up such a fight
You did your best to take me down with you
And some days I thought too
That you just might
I gave you tears and sleepless nights
But I'm still here and I'm all right (And I'm)
And maybe even gentler
Than I used to be
'Cause I believe
Hope is bigger
Than pain and fear will ever be
So I want you to know
As you come and go
You don’t scare me January
Hey January 2021
I'm not the only one
You shook to the core
You knocked my people down but we got up
And all of it made us
Closer than before
You took your shots, and left your scars
But we’re still here and now we are
Hey January 2022
I'm coming after you
And I’ve got dreams to chase
And what you give and take will never be
Enough to silence me
So hear me when I say
I might bend but I won’t break
And what you do will only make me