Happy New Year!

So, that is not the most creative title in the world. In fact, it is probably the most common words said today, January 1. But, I think it sums up nicely what I am feeling today. Happy New Year. Today is a day for new possibilities and new hope. The reality is it isn’t any more a day for new hope than yesterday was or the day before. However, it is a day to sit and reflect on the past year and look to what the coming year might bring.

Today, I realize I have a lot to reflect on. The year of 2019 was not an easy year for me. Sometimes personal and professional life collide. That happened for me last January. None of my family were sure if my Uncle Dennis would make it to January of 2019. He did. But it all came to a halt on January 14, 2019. That was the day he said he was done and he told us all goodbye. I was not ready. I’m still not ready.

Then, that same week on Friday I woke up to the news that a family in the church had lost their three year old son. The funeral was in my church and the previous pastor came back. It was all crazy and it was the hardest thing I had ever been through. I then started counseling the next week. That was when I was diagnosed with PTSD. Turns out tragedy comes in all shapes and sizes. I have never felt that sad and lost in all of my life.

The best part for me was that I never lost my faith in God. It might have been because I had to preach each week and dig into scripture. It might also have been how doors opened and help was offered when I needed it most. Yet, sometimes people are not offered this help. Instead of receiving help, they feel judged. I know, I have walked with them. I have worked to offer the hope of Christ and the healing help given by the Lord.

The good news is I have now turned a new page in the book of my life. By the grace of God I made it through to live and see a new year. I stood up for what I needed, with the help of my counselor, husband, and amazing friends and family. I am now in a new church where we are all starting again and we all have been through stuff. What I know is that life will not be prefect, but God will be. The question is, will we be able to trust in the grace and goodness of the Lord? Will we be able to live in hope instead of judgement? Will we be able to embrace each day as the gift it is?

I like to say that life happens. Sometimes it is glorious and sometimes it is harder than we can imagine. Yet, it happens. How we respond to the ups and downs of life is what makes us who we are and shapes how we live. My hope is that you find people in your life who hold you up when you need it. You find the places of healing that you need. If you feel judged, walk about and find someone else to talk to. Then go back when you are better and talk about it. No ones journey is better or worse than another. It just is. My prayer is that you find the grace, peace, and love of God in the middle of it and it helps you experience life. True life! Happy New Year! Pastor TAZ! Tessa Ann Zehring

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