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If you have one thing, one word or phrase or concept or blessing for the new year, may it be hope. May hope fill your lungs in the morning and your soul throughout the day. May it swell in your heart in the dark places, chasing out shadows and giving you life and vigor and the drive to keep on keeping on.

May you dare to hope not only for the little things, but for big things and for life itself. May hope give you the courage to act when you are afraid, and to hold on when you feel like you cannot.

Hope has been milling about in the back of my mind for several months now, drifting like smoky swirls through the muck of hard days and long nights, and taking shape as we grieved my dad's diagnosis once more. It was hardly a surprise, then, when Heather Von St. James reached out to me to blog about my Christmas season, and to share her own story of hope and survival after a devastating mesothelioma diagnosis at the prime of her life (which I will share later, but you can read about here). The invisible thread that is weaving through the sum of these experiences and events all point me to the source of my hope, Jesus. And I am reminded that I have a great hope that, like water that cures thirst, will never leave me parched in the desert places.

As I look at 2014, another number on a calendar that seems to move more quickly every day, I embrace the bumps that this year might bring. Instead of fearing the worst or dreading what might come, I choose instead to let hope settle in my inmost being and give strength to a weary body. I will welcome it in and allow it to give me the audacity to anticipate good things in 2014. There is joy and laughter and peace and grace and mercy to be found in 2014! May hope find you and pour into you in the year to come.


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