Maybe not much has really changed, as much as I want to be able to talk about new beginnings. Most nearly everything in my life is still the same. Same curly hair, same string bean arms, same tiny apartment, same second-hand couches, same husband to call my own, same pillow, same bills to pay, same trusty car, same shameful dislike of vegetables.
But God showed me a new beginning this morning.
In my kindergarten Sunday school class, we have one boy who was held back a year. Now he's 7, a year or two older and inches above the rest of the kids. He also is a trouble maker. In a big way. I really don't blame him, because I would be mad too if I had to be in a class with kids that were practically babies (in his eyes, I presume). We've been working with him for months now, trying to instill some boundaries and discipline with him, while still loving him. Sometimes I forget that the loving is the more important part. And sometimes it feels like we're not getting through. It's a struggle when you only have an hour and a half once a week.
This morning, one of the little boys decided he didn't want to be in our classroom and clung to his dad's pant legs, trembling with tears rolling down his face. His parent's are missionaries and they live in Turkey. They're just visiting for a few months, but in Turkey they don't have Sunday school so he's not accustomed to it. I assured his dad that he should be fine once his dad leaves and he has a little time to adjust. His dad was finally able to pry himself free and left. The young boy promptly sat at the table and buried his head in his arms.
As I tried to console him, our little troublemaker walks up. "Don't worry, we'll make him feel welcome." My eyes widened a little bit. He and another classmate tried talking to the upset boy, inviting him to play and asking him questions. It was to no avail for about half an hour or so. I knew he liked our toy dinosaurs so during snack time, I brought him a few. He immediately perked up and began telling me every toy he got for Christmas, as though the past half hour hadn't even happened. The other sweet boys, troublemaker included, brought the whole box of plastic animals over for him. The rest of class, they played (nearly) peacefully together. It was more than I could have asked for, and I had more fun with them than I ever had.
When the Turkish missionary father returned after the service, his boy gathered up his belongings and was about to leave. Troublemaker walks up and sheepishly says "bye." The little boy says goodbye and then looks up at his dad and says, "He's my best friend."
Happy New Year, my friends. I think James wrote a better new years resolution than I ever could.
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."
Yes, I have some resolutions, but each day is a gift from God. It is his will that I wake up every morning, and each day I'm alive, he still has a plan for me. I don't want to forget that.