For my family, the Northeast quickly proved to be our land of opportunity. Not in the traditional sense of the phrase--as in this is a place where we can "make something of ourselves" or anything like that. This became our opportunity to do and see things we could never have done while living in Texas.
Not that living in Texas is a bad thing, but when you drive for several hours in any direction--you're still in Texas! Now when we go a couple of hours in any direction, we can be any number of places doing any number of things. Skiing in the Poconos in the winter. Swimming at the Jersey shore in the summer. Trips to New York or D.C. or Pennsylvania Amish country or the Chesapeake Bay in between.
So with that kind of access, we rightly rung in the new year the best way we knew how--a trip to New York. It wasn't a white Christmas this year, but there's something magical about New York at Christmas. The ice skating. The lights. The window displays on 5th Avenue.
The crowds. The hustle and bustle. The incessant honking.
And the crowds. So maybe not everything about it is magical. You can always tell who's visiting from down south when you're in New York. They're the ones walking slower than everyone else.
And then there's the crowds.
But this year I remembered something while walking through those crowds. There were very few times when one of us wasn't holding a kid's hand. And I noticed something every time I crossed a street with Hailey's hand in mine; we'd step off the curb and as that intimidating crowd opposite us approached, her grip got a lot tighter. She was afraid, and didn't want to let anyone (or anything) get between us. She knew the best place to be was as close to me as possible.
By simply squeezing my hand a little tighter as we walked across the streets of Manhattan, my 11-year-old reminded me that this year, I'll be intimidated by situations that look big and scary. They may even look like they could separate me from my Father. At some point this year, I'll be walking towards something that I can't see the other side of--and that's when I'll have to hold onto my Father a little tighter.
This year I'll have a choice to try to do it on my own, or trust God and let him guide me safely through--even if I can't see how. As I cross the proverbial street of whatever comes my way this year, the temptation will be to navigate the oncoming crowd on my own. To let go of God, to stop praying, to stop seeking him in his Word, and just get through it. But Proverbs 16.25 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
As you begin the new year, let me encourage you to make a commitment. Another resolution, if you will--but one with real, spiritual benefits like joy, peace, and contentment. Instead of letting go when trials come, join me in committing to hold onto our Father even tighter. He knows the way; he sees to the other side.
He can handle the crowds.