I love new beginnings. I have had multiple fresh starts and I'm sure I'll take advantage of many more. I've seen many posts as 2017 came to a close of folks saying they are glad to kick this year to the curb. I understand that it was a hard, painful year for many people. For me, the year began with my chronic diverticular disease closing in on me. Fourteen years of pain, CT scans, hospital visits and days lying in bed intensified, and by July 28th I was in surgery to remove my sigmoid colon. The following four months were spent recovering and when I felt well enough we put the house up for sale and on December first, we bought the dream home we had been praying over for the past year. I will look back on this year as a time of healing and restoration. What seems like a loss is often a gain from a spiritual perspective, because in order to be healed and restored you have to have experienced sickness and loss. Here I am celebrating my birthday and the move into the new house, it was one of the happiest days I've ever had as my heart overflowed with gratitude for what God has done! New beginnings don't always start with the new year and unfortunately, painful seasons don't always end when the year ends. We can claim it and we can pray for it but we are not in control of the cycles of life anymore than the caterpillar controls when the metamorphosis is over. I know because I've tried. Our best response is to surrender to the seasons and enjoy the good in them. Seasons have a timetable ordained by God, our time is in His hands and throughout Scripture we see many examples of people who endured very long seasons of pain, which was their preparation for God's mighty purposes! I'm thinking of Joseph, David and Hannah, to name a few. Often, we hear people say you must cooperate with God in order to get out of your trials faster but the fact that our trials are lasting longer than we would like does not necessarily mean we are not cooperating. Trust him with your days and the Ancient of Days will deliver His promises in His timing! "There is a time for everything... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." Ecc. 3:3-4. and "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11.