The Thing About New Years


Anyone who knows me well will vouch for the fact that I’m an obsessive “lister.”  I make to-do lists….shopping lists….wish lists….goal lists….basically, if it can be put on paper I’ll find a way to categorize, prioritize and organize it in such a way that it makes sense to me and might actually be achieved.  While this might be a handy personal quality to have in certain areas of life, it can also be a huge pain when things don’t fall neatly into place in an ordered and predictable way.  Which is like….most of the time!

I’ve always liked the turning of a new year.  It fits my listing ways perfectly.  =)  Old, unfinished plans are either scrapped or reordered into new plans to fit the new year, which can then be re-categorized, re-prioritized and….well, you get the idea.  January 1st is the day that we get a chance for a do-over as we head into a brand new, shiny full-of-promise beginning, and it just feels….hopeful.  We all have things that we would like to see differently, relationships we would like to see strengthened or goals that we’ve never quite made time for in the craziness of just living all of these glorious 365 days we’re given in a year.

But what if you come to a point where you don’t want to look ahead?  What if there comes a time when all you seem to want or yearn for or dream of is behind you?  It’s possible, you know.  I wouldn’t have ever understood that had we not had these impossibly hard past few years.  But, can I be honest?  I’ve had a hard time looking ahead for a while now.  My heart hasn’t seemed to be able to let go of the Warren 4, and all that I seem to want is to go back, not ahead.  It’s not like I think it’s correct, or healthy or even possible, but the heart wants what the heart wants….so I’ve been sitting with that and waiting for the day when “ahead” seemed like a good thing once again.

Many things have been happening in this momma’s heart recently – things that don’t really fit handily on any list I’ve ever devised. Grief is messy.  It doesn’t cooperate or play well with other emotions at all.  It demands its way and pushes itself into every relationship, every task, every plan and every crevice of heart and mind that can possibly be found.    As hard as I’ve tried – and oh, how I’ve tried! – to conquer this beast, I’ve learned that it just takes too much….too much energy, too much time, too much joy, too much precious life.

So I’ve decided to stop trying.  Crazy, right?  And not only am I going to stop trying to rid myself of grief, but I’m going to take its hand and make it my friend.  I think there are things it needs to teach me; things that I won’t ever learn if I keep trying my darndest to outrun it.

 Grief and I have shed lots and lots of tears together, but lately – since we’re getting to know one another better – something kind of amazing is happening.  My heart is actually opening some.  I feel it oh so slightly, but it’s definitely real, and the place it’s opening up to the widest is with the One who knows me best and has always loved me most….

This song by Audrey Assad sums it up beautifully. God is good to me.

I couldn’t say that without tripping all over the feelings of it for what feels like a very long time.  But this is perhaps grief’s newest, best gift to me; no matter what has happened or what will happen, no matter what I gain or lose…….God is still good to me.  Grief and I have stood side by side in the presence of the One who makes all things new and declared our desire to keep looking back instead of look ahead, and God stood there with us.  No judgement.  No disappointment.  No impatience.  Only love.  Deep, deep love.

The road is still so very long.  And I’m not saying I won’t ever stop longing for what was.  What mother would?  But it’s time to pack up my heart, my hopes and even my grief and bring them all into the new year.  I don’t know what it will bring – do any of us, really?  But I know I am abundantly more prepared for what may come with the once again rock solid knowledge that God is still good to me.

And God is still good to you.  I don’t know why I was so prompted to write of these things after such a long absence from this blog, but if you are reading with a wounded, heavy heart perhaps it was just for you.  You don’t have to have it all figured out, friend.  God isn’t as much about where we get to as how we get there and what we experience along the way.  And you don’t have to travel alone.  This is perhaps a lesson I was able to teach grief.  It tries to tell us we are alone, but that’s just not true.  We just have to find that truth in our own time and our own way.

And especially to my community of grieving friends who aren’t ready to see these words.  I hurt along with you.  I grieve and mourn and remember right alongside you, and probably always will.  And it’s Ok.  I love you so, so much.  It comes when it comes and until it does, you are held tight and loved right where you are.  Always.

Much love,

Shellie ❤

“Good To Me”

Audrey Assad

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me

I lift up my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night – raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise


About Shellie Warren

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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2 Responses to The Thing About New Years

  1. Cindy Waltman says:

    Shellie, great words of comfort. I live in Ames, Ok. Dont know if you remember me. My Mom lays in St.Marys in Enid tonite, dying as I feel like I’m dying a little bit too. Thanks for sharing. How can i be sure to continue receiving writings?


    • Shellie says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your mom and your sorrow….grief is unique to every circumstance yet so much the same in how it leaves us. Praying for peace for you and your family as you navigate these difficult waters.

      *You can click the “follow” button on the sidebar to receive any new postings. ❤


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