Well, here we are

At the start of another year. Frankly, for my part, grateful and relieved to have got through the last one. It was very tough in parts. For some I know, their difficult times are just beginning.

I woke up this morning full of first-day-of-the-year enthusiasm, with loads of ideas falling over each other as I contemplated the year ahead.  I should add that I had most of these fine thoughts in the shower so they were largely gone before I could write them down. I’ll have more tomorrow. We all do. Some more worthy of note than others.

A few years ago, when I was more willing to listen to God’s still small voice (he’s having to shout a bit lately) I was prompted to ask a few women in the school playground if they were Christians. We decided to form a weekly prayer group in the local park. Well, they did.( I remember looking at the ground and studying my feet when that suggestion came up, but I was in too deep by then). I will never forget the first time we met. I’m quite shy about these things so praying out loud in a park was a LONG way outside my comfort zone. I realised these mums were serious prayer warriors who didn’t care who heard them praising God at 9am on a weekday morning. I confess I did start with one eye open. I so was distracted by my own nonsense it wasn’t even funny.

Then one of them started to pray. It went something like this:

‘Dear Lord, thank you for opening my eyes this morning. Thank you that I could see my children, hear their voices, see their smiles. Thank you for the health and strength to get up and dress myself. Thank you that I can look after them. Thank you for providing me with another day of life. Thank you for giving us food to eat, a home to live in, clothes to wear. Thank you for every blessing of our lives until now. Thank you for all the things you have protected me and my family from that we know about and don’t even know about. Thank you for letting us know you even exist. Thank you for sending Jesus to tell me that you love me unconditionally. Thank you Jesus…’

.. and so it went on. I can’t convey the passion in her voice, but I was almost in tears by the time she finished, aware, as she prayed, of quite how much grace is lavished on me on a daily basis without me even noticing it, let alone stopping to say thanks. I have tried since then to shape my prayers around the simple discipline of gratitude but in that shockingly easy way of us human beings, I forget. I’m glad of the reminder today, which has helped to melt away my usual silly resolutions. I really don’t think God cares if I lose weight or exercise more. It would be good to say thanks more, though. Not just to God directly but also to the people God uses to bless me, to teach me and to help me move forward.

So I’ll start with you. Thanks for reading this blog.

May your 2015 be amazing.

Happy New Year