I find myself wondering if I have it within me to face another ride around the sun. 2016 was a tough stretch, from New Years where I accompanied my mother-in-law to visit her sister for the last time in her life, the whole year just went straight to shit.

My mother-in-law and her terminal illness hung in there until mid-March, while my own Mum died suddenly, unexpectedly, in January. The same week that we lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman, I had to discuss switching off life support with my family and the doctors.

Contemplating New Year’s Eve has stirred up a lot of the pain and desolation of that time. Confronting death – both of a woman with faith and a woman who didn’t speak of it. One going home to meet her glorious Saviour to finally embrace the one who has shown her love through all these years. The Saviour who showed me love. The other? I don’t know for sure. There were many prayers. I am still wondering.

Casual work was just about as annoyingly casual as it can be in 2016. I always throw my heart and soul into my work, but had two longer term jobs pulled out from under me this year, resulting in long periods of unemployment. It was a stressful desperate time, tempered by the sweetness of the special children I worked with and the obvious need of their families. I cared for both of those children and their families with every ounce of love I have inside me – until I was no longer required. God is faithful. He had things in hand. I start my new permanent (yes, permanent) job on 2 January, 2017. Still, I grieve for those special relationships.

Medically, I was incorrectly prescribed a drug in early 2015 and for well over a year suffered the terrible effects of having too much of it in my body. A casual query from a nurse during a colonoscopy picked up on the error and led to the problem being fixed. I am so grateful for that and I am still healing from the damage of having too much of a particular diabetes drug in my system. I eat vegan now because it is kinder to my damaged organs and my digestive system copes better.

As I embark on 2017, I am holding on to Jesus. I am asking him for support. I am digging inside my heart for the confidence to move on from the pain of 2016 to a new place. My focus on 2017 is one word – COURAGE, and the following scripture from Hebrews 13:6.

Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

I heard a song by Kristene DiMarco today called “Take Courage” and I believe it was a challenge from God for 2017. The lyrics spoke to me as I heard this for the first time and I knew it was a song I would need to learn and sing to myself daily. “Take courage my heart. Stay steadfast my soul. He is in the waiting”.