Reflecting over the last 365 days, 2022 was a year of great upheaval and change for our family. It wasn’t all bad - a move across the country meant we were finally, after three years of separation, together with kids and newly arrived grandchildren. The surprise - but also great upheaval - came as one of our daughters suddenly had enough of the international border separating us. Her family joined us in our move north to the Cariboo! It was quick, unexpected, and meant that instead of moving one household, we were moving two!
Our new normal now consists of family movie nights, babysitting, and finding time to connect three households. We’ve pinched ourselves at times to make sure we aren’t dreaming! There’s been so much joy and yet we never remember being so busy!
In the midst of the joyful chaos, my daughter, Tiffany, replied to a FB post requesting info for a music teacher. She simply let people know her mom was moving back to town. This resulted in (as of last night) 51 students for me - an instant teaching studio!. Feeling impressed that I needed more than a large room, we rented a commercial space that Larry donned, “Hummingbird Centre.” A huge step of faith for me, it has been exciting, scary and thrilling all at the same time. In addition to music lessons, Larry is looking at hosting an “Immanuel Beginner’s Seminar” on January 21 & 22 with our dear friend Kerry Cook, and our personal coach and friend, Valerie Taylor joining me in presenting. We envision running “Because You Matter” workshops, Hummingbird Circles, talent shows, story nights, and all kinds of artsy events as the Lord leads. Ironically, the space (one of the only locations open in town) is not only just up the street from our new home, but twenty years ago when we first lived in Williams Lake, it housed the dance studio my daughters and I spent a dozen hours each week at.
While all may look as if it’s is falling into place, as we headed closer to this new year, I began to notice a sense of trepidation overtaking the joy. After swapping colds at Christmas with our grandkids, I could no longer deny my heart was in a down-spiral. Many of us relate to a season of undiluted hardship on a scale we had not experienced before. What dangers, in addition to war, dirty politics and Covid, will be lurking in the untraveled labyrinth of 2023?
A thought idea I read in a book came back to me: Worry is imagining your future without God. The future is frightening indeed when we look at all the things that could happen, have happened, are happening elsewhere; a new year feels daunting indeed.
After that thought, do not go into the darkness alone,”began to play repeatedly in my mind. I’ve shared this example before, but maybe some of you could also benefit to hearing it again. Those of us who grew up with basements or cellars can relate to the fear of being asked to traverse through dark staircases or hallways in order to retrieve one of mom’s treasures. Author of “Immanuel Practicum,” Pastor Patricia Velotta, describes the fear when, as a child, mom asked her to go downstairs to get the popsicles out of the freezer. The popsicles were so good but the basement so dark, the stairs so steep! Who knew what creatures were lurking just around the corner or hiding under the stairs? When Dad offered to go with her, everything changed. Somehow the basement wasn’t as scary anymore. Dad was tall enough to reach the light switch. With her hand in his, she did not have to worry about a tumble. The scary creatures never showed themselves. Dad’s presence solved everything!
This year, I’m not as interested in hearing the latest from the greatest. I usually don’t mind people’s speculations and predictions of the future, but over the last three years I’ve found my capacity for news, predictions and politics greatly diminished. One can only carry the weight-of-the-world on one’s shoulders for so long. I have needed to surrender that weight to keep my sanity.
You don’t have to go into the darkness alone, comes the whisper again, only more insistent.
This statement is more precious than anything a priest, prophet, preacher, politician, celebrity or other VIP could offer me this year. When I flip through my memories - I mean the really dark ones, such as my parents deaths, my husband or daughter’s surgeries, betrayals, financial setbacks and other challenges - I can still locate Jesus. The darkness that tried to overpower me didn’t. It’s not that He was tall enough to reach the light switch. He WAS the light! In the worst of times I’ve found His Presence encircling me like a blanket, cushioning me against the harder blows, bringing help when help was needed, a hand when I stumbled, an anchor of peace and even joy in my grief.
My hope for all of is that we won’t go into the dark or even into the unknown of 2023 alone. When we know that Immanuel is with us, even the scary things don’t overwhelm us, but lend the opportunity to show us just how impressive our Jesus can be.
On that note, if you’re close to these parts or able to travel, please consider joining us at the new Hummingbird Centre in Williams Lake on January 21 & 22 and allocate a bit of time in 2023 to “getting to know the One who loves you” at our Immanuel Practicum Beginner’s Seminar. Register by clicking on the Shop button above. Also consider joining a prayer or writing circle on January 15 when we open up our online membership.
Happy New Year Everyone! Our prayers for you are that you prosper and grow in all the things that matter in this next year and season!