The plans for this year was light. I planned to walk through flames, to risk the fires that burn, even in the cold, just so I get to the forest of light within. That was the new year plan. In one week, I have been informed by the year that this one will be a rollercoaster. Sit tight and hang on. If last year tried to consume you, this year is coming, bright and burning. And it’s only the 8th day. I opened my door this morning. Let the cold air seep in. I was reminded in that instant to breathe in. Cool air. Breathe in. Even as things burn. Breathe out. As smoke rises. Keep breathing. The year will come for you. Try to burn you too. Cold air will seep in. You will feel like you are sinking. Floors will give away. Yet, breathe in. Push them all back. Close the door. Breathe out. You have noticed the air. Noticed the smoke, and the sinking floors. But still, turn around and smile. They will not understand this air you breathe in.

Dear New Year,

What to make of thee, from all who seek your new? This time, our hunger grows day by day. For paths our feet are prepared to walk through. This rich promise for new the morning sun will not betray.

To begin again with repeating this cycle with you. To bask in your glory like morning dew across leaves at the bottom of trees. To marvel at the debut of a life in light, in view. Is to begin with grace, like the simple elegance of a daffodil.

So I close with a prayer old, yet full of renewed blessings. That when the fullness of time comes. That you will bless us and keep us. That you will shine upon us and be gracious to us. That you will be kind and give all who seek you peace, this new year of yearning. This new year of being in light. Amen.

Happy New Year to all of you and may your 2022 be full of God’s blessings. Amen.

I never planned to keep writing. I only wanted to chronicle my silence plus survival as a wife to a frontline worker and a mother to three homeschooled children in the middle of a global pandemic. 2020 was a tough year and making sense of it my way, was paramount to me. A necessity even, to write my version of the moment as best as I could. So my first post was a reminder to myself to keep rolling. My son loves egg crayons I stated. Not to color with them, but to roll them on the ground. After watching him roll yet another round of egg crayons on the ground, I finally understood why he loved to roll them around. The egg crayons never stop rolling. It was mesmerizing to him and confusing to me at first, considering that crayons are meant for coloring.

My son’s egg crayons.

Yet, despite all they encounter while rolling on the ground, these particular egg crayons somehow manage to keep rolling. It was the perfect metaphor I desperately needed at the time and little did I know that my observation of my son rolling egg crayons on the ground would lead to the birth of my keep list. A reminder to myself to keep rolling. But still when I started writing this keep back in September, I had no idea what I would write about. I approach each day still not knowing but eager to put something, anything down. I am finally like those egg crayons, ready and willing to keep rolling, no matter what comes my way. It’s my prayer for you as the New Year begins. Keep rolling again and again. Life will be full of hopes, full of impediments in the New Year. But no matter what, be like my son’s egg crayons and keep rolling.

I recently asked my kids what they would like to do in the New Year that they have never done before. My 8 year old daughter would love to plant a garden in our new home. My six year old son wishes to stop crying. While my three year old son, simply wants to keep playing. Their hopes and impediments, depict how 2020 went down in my home. It was indeed a beautiful struggle. As we approach the start of 2021, my prayer for them and myself is that we stay focused on what really matters to us. That and the power and gift of struggling eloquently.

A small plant gift my daughter got to start her garden.

I share this because there is a video circulating via WhatsApp that depicts famous Nigerian pastors praying at the start of 2020 that their congregations may know blessings, abundance, plentiful grace, with unstoppable victory. I am paraphrasing but their prayers were the typical great prayers you hear at the start of a new year. You will read so many of them in the next 24-48 hours. As I watched the video, I was perplexed as to how none of the pastors saw a pandemic coming, a recession, closing of business, even homeschooling. None of them saw or prayed for the grace to bear whatever 2020 had in store, all it’s impediments and all it’s hope. No one prayed for folks to struggle eloquently in 2020. Yet we did. This was a tough year. An unexpectedly difficult year. But even it’s difficulties, every single struggle I encountered this year, was a test of my ability to struggle eloquently.

So as we kick off another New Year, while I would love to pray for abundance and blessings, plus plentiful grace and happiness, I would like to add to all that, may you also struggle beautifully. Keep normalizing struggle for the word also noted that when you are weak, when you are at your lowest point, he is strong. And if you know who your maker is, even if you pass through the deepest shadows of hell, he will be there. The truth is, you will pass through it. That’s why struggles are necessary. That and so you never forget that he will protect you as you pass through your struggle. The key is to pray for the grace to pass through all of it especially in the New Year. As you do, may your struggles, all of it, be as eloquent as you are.

Imagine getting a daily reminder or even a command to be determined and confident. Yesterday during my daily devotional, these words from the book of Joshua, Chapter 1v9 stirred something in me: ‘remember I have commanded you to be determined and confident.’ For background, Moses was dead and God asked Joshua to lead the people of Israel across the River Jordan to the land he had promised them. So in that verse, God was reminding Joshua to be determined and confident. That’s all.

Your goals in life may not make sense at times, even the year 2020 may go down as chaotic and unpredictable. Everything you have planned for yourself may seem very futile, but still we are told to be determined and confident. By determined, we are asked to be purposeful, persistent, preserving, relentless, brave, unwavering, and even bold. By confident, we are asked to be assertive, unfazed, calm, composed, positive, hopeful, and even at ease at all times. It’s an evolution. To become determined and confident despite many obstacles, including a pandemic. We have the freedom to live as we want, to boldly do something different, with ease, unfazed and unwavering. And if our approach is well-received, great. If not, we try again, still determined and confident to do it our way. Because that’s the command. As the New Year approaches, keep being determined and confident. For when you do, even fear is no longer an obstacle for God himself declares, he will be with you where you go, whatever you do, on your journey towards being determined and confident. It’s a journey after all with many ups and downs, but one worth doing. This keep, really stirred something for me and I hope it does for you.