Rough Beginnings: Help for the stumbling

On the threshold of 2024 I lay on the couch waiting for my husband to return from Walmart with the Covid tests. I knew the test would be positive, and it was. Over the following week we used what brain cells we could muster to deal with a broken-down car and a broken-down relationship within our circle. It was a rough entrance to the year for us!

Some beginnings are stumbles. All the hopes and expectations that propelled us forward twist in unexpected directions or drop like deadwood in the face of a new reality. This can be disorienting, frustrating, and painful. What do we do now?

Be gentle in your re-calibration. Sometimes these disturbances are for our jostling so that we can really see how Hope, Divine Love, is holding us rather than our strong grasps hold hopes. Sometimes these obstacles develop steadfastness or clarity or authenticity. The main point is that God holds us even in these stumbles.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalm 37:23-24

When I’m able to shift my perspective from the frustration of missing my goal, re-organizing my life to accommodate the changes, and the delay of a wanted outcome to noticing how I am helped in my new situation, to receiving the hand of God, then I can surrender to love. As I do so, the way becomes clearer. Most importantly, I feel the accompaniment of God better whether new ways open or I remain in the unknown.

So, if you find yourself tripped and wobbly as you enter the new year as I do, I invite you to pay more attention to the hand of God stretching toward you rather than the goals you’re aiming for. The Waymaker knows the terrain of your life and will help you in these rough places.

Due to my stumbling into 2024, I will be resuming the Soul Care Package emails in February. (You can sign up for them here.)

Here are some other offerings I’ve been writing that may serve you. Take a look if these pique your curiosity.

I’ve been writing blogs at my workplace, the Dominican Center of Grand Rapids. Here are links to the recent ones and to the Center’s website where you’ll find lots of contemplative and formational retreat and workshop offerings:

I also write quarterly for the Companioning Center which offers spiritual formation opportunities as well. My most recent is how I’ve learned to hear God’s voice.

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