We have flipped the pages of our calendar and found ourselves at the end of another year. 2015 is a memory and we are staring ahead at an almost blank slate. 2016 began slowly, surrounded by some family, as I eased away from a season of transitions into a new year full of the hope of new possibilities.

I turned the corner on a year where I set up the expectation that I was supposed to shine for God in my everyday. I learned that when God chooses a word for our year, it doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out until we reach the end and reflect on its meaning in our life. When God placed the word “Shine” in my heart for 2015, I learned that it wasn’t so much that I needed to shine, but instead cling to the One, who is the light of the world. Every new normal that I faced as I transitioned into retirement has allowed me to draw closer to God. His shining light was my beacon in the uncertainties, an anchor as I tread upon new waters and a guide in how to gracefully choose His plan over my agenda. This strong need to hold tightly to God has deepened my relationship with Him and in turn, He has shown me a new hope for the future.

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When we enter a season of waiting and transitions, future thoughts get easily stuck in the present. Making it through a day can feel like a major accomplishment, when we cannot see what lies over the next hurdle. Our minds have difficulty seeing beyond what is happening any particular week. Glimmers of the future are quickly snuffed out because our minds are trained to think in the present. Our past can sneak in when we least expect it to and between the day to day routines and the past, we can feel like we have been beat up and left for dead.

2016 is the year of hope for me. It is my time to step beyond a season of waiting and changes into a future of hope. As of two weeks ago, I had no idea if God had a word for me this year. I didn’t see anything new waiting for me, but resigned myself to more days of transition and waiting for my “what’s next”. I was blessed with a plaque for Christmas from a close friend. Her words and the words engraved in the wood allowed me to see more than the life I was currently living. The words simply say “Hope changes everything”. God spoke to me through those three words and in that moment I knew that 2016 was going to be very different. When a season of transitions blooms into hope, we take a giant step forward into the future.

God does not call us to be stuck. He calls us to keep moving even in a time of waiting. Drawing closer to God shows a movement toward faith and trust in Him that the future will be bright even if the present looks ordinary.

As I begin 2016, I believe that hope changes everything. God is a God of hope and His plans for me are just beginning. Moving past a season of waiting and transitions will lead us ever closer to God. The promises He shares in Romans 5 are beautiful truths of glorying in our sufferings and persevering past them to reach the goal of hope.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

As I begin a new year of hope, I am blessed by everyone of you who joins me here each week. Will you join me on this journey to learning and believing that hope changes everything?

With God, all things are possible!

Mary

Joining these beautiful ladies!
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