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Two weeks ago was my birthday.

I have a love/hate relationship with that.

When you’ve lived, by the grace of God, as long as me, birthdays are funny things. Not funny ha-ha, but kind of bittersweet, nice-but-daunting, what-will-this-year-bring kinds of things.

Last year was a banner year for me. I began Sanctuary Christian Counseling, which had been brewing in my mind for a long time. It took effort, stretching, courage and a lot of chutzpah to think this venture might work.

It was also a year that I got to spend a lovely time in Vail with my best friends, nearly a month in Norway with my love, and an exciting holiday season with some dear couple friends.

Two years ago, in 2015, I experienced the worst year of my life, when my husband was very ill with a serious disease. In many ways, this past year of my life has redeemed that horrible time. My husband, Pete, and I have forged a new and even tighter bond, one no longer based on the 2015 caregiving necessity that had arisen, but now more intense (in some ways), more grateful, more understanding of the limits of life. We have (again by the grace of God) always had a good relationship -- and that’s mostly due to his love for me than any of my character traits. Believe me, just because I’m a marriage therapist and know what is good (and bad) for marriages, doesn’t mean I can always practice those things in my own life, although I do try. But Pete is a natural, and has always been the backbone of our marriage. Thank God he’s forgiving, understanding, patient. Both of us are extremely grateful for God’s grace in bringing him back to me. That has become very real to us this past year of my life.

Every year is a new start – a chance to regroup, to confirm anew the directions God leads, a chance to see new things, meet new people, learn new things. There are many ways in which each year is a gift – a never-to-be-squandered reprieve to allow us to do the things we know we should do, to stop the things we know we should not do and to fall more fully into the loving grace of God.

Throughout my life, there has been a constant ribbon – I think of it as gold colored – of God’s presence, direction, grace. I’m not at all sure what my life would look like without this ribbon. I have by no means always done what I knew what the right thing to do – the thing God would have me do – but He has always been patient and persistent with me. I’m so very grateful for that, and I know it will continue. I wonder where He will lead me this year?

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