New Years EveDear Sponsor,

I got up and started cleaning the house yesterday and stirred so much dust around that by the time I was supposed to go to the gym I was sick, probably from my dust allergies, but I haven’t fully recovered.  I went this morning to make up for the slack, but it was a chore.

I was able to refinance my mortgage under new terms today, and get a little break before I have to pay another payment.  That takes a little of the current squeeze off me and helps me breathe a little easier.  There goes one more layer of economic insecurity leaving us!

My extended days off are coming to a close and I am scheduled to return to work on the 2nd, with three months left in my career.  I spent a little time this past week with some nurses who just graduated from school, and I got some helpful advice.  It’s nice to hang out with people who are doing what I hope to do and are where I plan to be.

Speaking of that, I’ve made a new friend in Uganda, where my precious bride and I plan to tour in April.  We are getting very excited about the trip and about the future of our ministry there.

On this, the eve of New Year’s Day, I am looking forward and back, and I am coming to the same conclusion I have repeatedly learned and proven in recovery: there is no day like the one I am living, and there is no moment promised passed this one.  With the big plans Mrs. L and I are making, it is tempting to spend energy thinking, “When I… then I’ll…” but that is vanity.  God gave me this breath to spend on His purposes just as He gave me the one before, and He may grant me another, but I will not be so vain as to consider it a right or guarantee.  I have this one breath I am taking now, and I have chosen to spend it writing this journal, so that I can be accountable to you, my sponsor, and to publish it to be accountable to still more and perhaps to encourage others as they read of my own experience.

I have a hard time with the phrase “Happy New Year,” given what I know about the vital liberty of living one day at a time.  I have been wishing people a “Happy New Day one at a time” but I really don’t mean to be argumentative.  I just mean to say that I am not, and I assume no one else is, capable of having a happy year.  I can’t even imagine expecting a whole 24-hour period happy, but I can more easily utter that blessing than I can an entire year.  I guess I overthink it, but since I’m used to under-thinking and over-indulging, a little overthinking is a welcome change.

Today is abstinent day 1,330, and I am grateful for every one of them.  Had anyone told me on May 11th, 2010, that I would not have eaten candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, nachos, or anything in between meals for three and a half years, I would have laughed at them.  Here it is, though, almost 2014, and God has managed to keep me on the beam between disappointment and fear, standing upright in His moment of grace, one breath at a time, trusting Him with the next step.  I like it much better this way!

While writing about it, I thought of this passage, James 4:13-16 (NIV).

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.

Dear Father, today, help me to live content in Your hand, without trying to test the boundaries, reach too far ahead, or cling to a past that drags me down.  Help me encourage others to do the same, and to let them know it is possible with Your help.