I love resolutions. always. Probably because I love anything that involves planning and vision and the possibility that comes with deciding to do things differently: to live more intentionally, to savour life more deeply, to let go of bad habits and embrace new life-giving ones. I love how the simple change of the calendar on December 31st fills everyone with resolve and renewed hope for the year that lies ahead. And so, every year I try to carve out some time to look ahead. To write and look back and look forward and pray and dream and seek God’s heart for the 365-day space of the new year.

This year, all I keep hearing Him whisper is renewed joy.

[renewed] joy.

with hesitancy, I write it down. scribbling the words that my heart wants to embrace fully, but my mind meets with caution.

this past year was so much the opposite, my heart argues. don’t get your hopes up, my mind cautions. idealism leads to disappointment, logic tells me.

and yet.

[renewed] joy.

like the rising of the sun, so His promises are to you.

[renewed] joy.

He who promised is faithful.

[renewed] joy.

in the smallest of insignificant moments and the big life decisions. in the structure and the spontaneity. in the sameness and routine and the changes. in the schedules and the intensity. In the preparation and the waiting. In the celebration, dancing, and the tears.

[renewed] joy.

at its outset, 2014 is a skeleton of possibility and penciled plans and a whole lot of unknown.

[renewed] joy.

with boldness I write dreams, some new, but many deep-rooted and so palpably close to my heart. my heart has known ache this past year, and it’s long familiar with longing. is it foolish to dream? is it crazy to expect God to show up in the spaces that are full of loneliness, hesitancy, and doubt?

maybe it is.

but count me forever among the crazy ones. count me among the tribe that looks into the darkness and proclaims light. count me among the ones who forever see hope in the shadows and redemption in the margins. count me among the ones who believe - even when it seems so far away to claim it - that hope (always) endures and joy (always) abounds.

joy. joy. joy.

I want to laugh this year - a lot. I want to sing along without reservation. to dance. to explore. to be still. to work hard, but not get caught up in the results. I want to savour life however it comes.

[renewed] joy.

my pens screams across the page. “what do you have in store this year, God?” I wonder. how are you going to continue to reveal your heart? and your plan? how are you going to surprise me? and remind me daily of your goodness?

[renewed] joy.

joy exists outside circumstances, though circumstances certainly threaten to silence it. last year was a fight for joy. joy took resolve and effort. but, is it possible that this year could hold the renewal of joy that abounds? joy that feels as second-nature as breath itself.

the bottom line is this: I don’t know. that’s the thing about a blank canvas and a new year. goals and dreams are theoretical. optimistic. and idealistic. reality rarely unfolds the way we imagine.

but that’s the beauty. and there my tired and tender heart clings to hope. God is a God of extravagance. He is a God of faithfulness I can’t comprehend. in Him joy is not only present, it abounds.

He’s weaving renewal and redemption here. even when I can’t see it and I don’t know how it will come. but He’s here. and He’s doing His thing.

joy. joy. joy.

even if this year blows up in my face. even if it’s a continuation of last year. I’m still clinging to and claiming joy. because when He whispers, I want to run toward His voice.

[renewed, enduring] joy.

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