Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Fresh Start

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
~ Isaiah 43:19, NIV~

What is it about the New Year that makes even the sad heart spring to life?  After all, the snoring husband on my couch at midnight on New Year's Eve assured me it was really just another night.  What is it about this time of year that does so much for our psyche?  Perhaps it is that clean slate marked by a specific date that energizes us.  Maybe it's leaving so much weight from the past year behind us.  Whatever it is, we are well served to take advantage of it.

Parents that walk our weary path raising a child with special needs carry a heavy load.  We carry the weight of this years school IEP, which may or may not be working out.  We limp through the endless medical and therapeutic appointments, with all of their revelations or lack thereof.  We rush from any number of activities to help our children blossom to their potential, whether it be Special Olympics, hippo-therapy, or adaptive music programs.  We wrestle with insurance companies and medical billing services in our attempt to harness the financial monster that takes up residence when we raise a child with such challenges.  Never mind the concerns we parents can have about spiritual matters or the future of our child.  All of these stressors can build up to a point where we are carrying a 400 pound gorilla on our backs.  

What if we put them down?  That freshness that comes with a New Year makes it the perfect time to set down all we weren't even fully aware had been hitching a free-ride in our lives the previous 12 months.  It's no surprise that we can be unwittingly, through the year, putting more in our parental "back packs" with each passing day.  By the time we get to the holidays, which can be stressful in and of themselves, we can really find ourselves dragging.  What a relief it would be to park that pack rather than continue to carry it into a new year!  

If we leave our burdens in the previous calendar year, we do ourselves a great favor.  I am not talking about being oblivious to what we have learned the past 12 months.  Rather, leaving the unnecessary things that weigh down our hearts, minds and spirits, even things that can wait until a future date to monopolize our attention, can open our eyes and ears to new things that God is doing.  Clearing the decks, quieting ourselves as we breathe in a new year can refresh our awareness and empower us to move into the months ahead as an alert, smarter, more focused and effective parent.  In embracing a "refresh and reset" we remove from our shoulders the toxic and unnecessary, and leave ourselves open to something new.  It may be a surprise new ally or the opportunity for a new course of treatment or divine intervention in our financial well-being.  Frankly, the miraculous can be happening right under our noses without recognition.  We can't help but have our focus on the heaviness we lug along.  But when we are willing to lay it down, begin again, we can finally witness the every day miracles happening right within our view.

PRAY:  Lord, I give you all of the weight that has been building up over this past year.  Carry it for me as only You can.  I surrender my senses to You that I might perceive the new and miraculous things You have in store for me in the days and months ahead.

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