“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Lamentations 3:22, 23a (ESV)
Hello and happy New Year! Welcome to 2022! I am sure we have all invested a bit of time these last few days reviewing the year behind us and saying good-bye to 2021. We have turned towards the new year, not knowing all it holds for us, but probably with gladness and some celebration, because 2022 is, as yet, brand new, untouched, untarnished, full of promise, potential and new resolve.
Can you tell I’m an optimist?! Yes, I am, but even the most optimistic among us eventually realizes that the things that burden our hearts and lives are not relegated to a certain calendar year. They carry over into the new one. By the time we get half-way through January, the sheen of the new year has mostly worn off. Yes, there are decisions we can make and act upon to bring change to our lives, but there are also many things that we carry that are beyond our control.
Not the most encouraging way to begin the new year, I know, but there are many hard things that we are facing, and as my daughter said to me recently, “No one needs a pep talk right now.” What we actually need is something that weathers our reality, a bulwark; we need something that gives us strength to persevere through these challenging times. We need a strong dose of joy, the kind that is not dependant on an escape to a warm, sunny destination; we need a joy that remains steadfast in spite of our circumstances.
The wise minister who married my husband and I took his text from Lamentations 3: the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. This is not the usual wedding text, but he truly did us a service because he did provide a bulwark for us; he pointed us to that which would weather our worst storms and remain solid in all the most difficult things that would come our way. God’s mercies, his grace, his compassion, his attentive devotion, his strength, are fresh and available every single day – even through a pandemic.
As the Board, volunteers and staff of CBWOQ, we have been working hard to develop resources for 2022 that are COVID-proof and that will ground you in a deep relationship with Christ and with your Christian sisters. They are all designed around our mission of facilitating authentic and intimate connection to God, with others, and with God’s mission at our doorsteps and around the world.
Scripture is clear that faith needs to be acted upon, and it is so often the case that the answer to prayer comes as we step out in faith. So, I invite you to browse our website and to visit it throughout the year as we are continuously updating it. I hope you will take a step of faith over the next few days and commit to investing in your spiritual growth and your sphere of influence by signing up for something.
Please pray about joining our 2022 Soul Sisters cohort, or consider starting your own (this entire program is available for downloading). Pray about participating in Complete, our discipleship program, or starting a book club based on our titles and discussion guides. We are also looking for women to host watch parties for our April conference, so I hope you will explore this with us as a way to encourage and strengthen the women in your circles.
In spite of this ongoing pandemic, and in spite of all the things that challenge us, God’s mercies are new every day and his strength for us is, too. They weather well, and so I pray you have a most blessed, joy-filled New Year.