marion newEvery year, around this time, I have a little ritual that I enjoy so much. I change all the details and important information in this past year’s diary and transfer it into my sparkling next year’s diary!

I suppose it’s just a little bit like the child beginning a new exercise book in the days of pen and ink, no mistakes, no crossing out, no poor handwriting, no ink blots, just a new fresh beginning. And that is indeed part of my pleasure, a brand New Year lies ahead completely unspoilt and unmarked. What adventures will it hold what joys and pleasures, what new experiences, what new friends?

But I face this new year having looked back at the old year, because I go through every page of my old diary transferring any relevant information I collected that year, new phone numbers etc. But as I’m looking through for information, I automatically come across all the ‘happenings’ of that year. The dozens of ‘coffee dates’ with dear friends, the days I was booked to look after my gorgeous grandson, the family dinner arrangements. But there are also special church dates, conferences, and half nights of prayer, outreach details, special speakers or indeed dates when I’m out speaking somewhere. There are holiday plans, whether just a brief weekend in UK or more exciting prolonged trips. Some years there are medical check ups and appointments and sadly, funeral times for loved ones who have died.

As I look back through the year that is just about to close, I feel so many different emotions. Joy and happiness but also a little trepidation at how quickly yet another year has passed. But my overriding emotion is utter and complete gratitude to God for all He has seen me through this last 12 months. Through the ups and downs of life He has kept me, truthfully, He yet again has been my helper.

In 1 Samuel 7.12, Samuel, having defeated the Philistines, took a stone and called it ‘Ebenezer’, which means ‘stone of help’ and he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped me’.

I don’t know what last year held for you, you may have had battles to fight, you may have indeed ‘walked through the valley of the shadow of death’, so as we all enter a new year, having absolutely no idea what it may hold, we are assured of this one thing, God who has been our Ebenezer, our ‘stone of help’ goes into the New year with us. I can say, God who has been my help as I have walked with Him this last 59 years, will not fail me in the year to come.

‘For He himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ so we may boldly say,’ The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.’  Hebrews 13.5-6.

I wish you a joyful, prosperous, healthy, exciting, adventurous and wonderful 2017 with Jesus!