I’m working from home today. I chose the dining room table as my office, because it offers me space to sprawl out my papers and a great view of the falling snow. It is my kind of day. I got my little man off to school with no drama from either of us. I’ve been to Target – alone – I picked up a few essentials and a couple non-essential retail therapy items and got out for under thirty bucks, so that was a success. Now I’m here with my fingers on the keys, a long to-do list, and the hum of the washer and dryer in the distance. This is my sweet spot.photo

I love the start of a new year. I love blank calendar pages and the promise they hold. I love resolutions and lists. And the feeling that we can reinvent ourselves and our priorities. However, eight days into this new year and I’m not sure I like 2015. As I look back on 2014 I can say it was a really good year. Some stresses were relaxed, new opportunities seized, risks taken and rewarded, all in all, it was a year full of blessings.

Despite my best efforts sometimes when things are going smoothly I wonder when that will change. I hate that I do it. Worry is a lack of faith in my mind and I spent 2014 working on choosing faith over worry. It was my motto for the year and there were times when saying it silently to myself calmed my fears. I felt like it worked for me and I was better for repeating those three little words.

At the start of this year, I contemplated what my word or motto would be. I had considered several, but then our church began a series titled Stronger. Yes, stronger was a good word. I mean who wouldn’t want to be mentally stronger, have a stronger faith, be physically stronger, financially stronger, and have stronger relationships? I want all of those things, so stronger is my word this year.

The thing about getting stronger is it takes work and often painful to get there. Eight days into this new year I am challenged. Someone I care for awaits medical test results and a friendship I thought was solid is in fact fragile. While part of me feels vindicated for my anxieties and readies for the bumpy road ahead, another part of me recognizes that in order to get stronger we must encounter some struggle. If it were all easy we would never improve. I believe when we are at our weakest God is the strongest, sometimes need a deep fear or desperate questioning to look for answers and it is in that hard place that we can find grace. We find the strength we didn’t think we had.

So I sit in my snow globe on one of my favorite kind of days and I am reminded how precarious it all is. These eight days have been filled with unexpected uncertainty. I much prefer stability. This uneasiness leaves me no choice, but to pray. I pray that I and those I love rise up to meet the challenges ahead, grow stronger as a result and that a year from now we can look back fondly at 2015.