As we begin 2021 I can’t help but feel excited and apprehensive. Much of this is because the new school year brings with it new students and staff, new opportunities to share Jesus and much hope that it will simply be better than last year. But I can’t help but be apprehensive as in the end we just don’t know. This apprehension is not just because of the still present threat of COVID, but because of the pressure of last year and what that revealed about me, both strengths and more painfully weakness. Frustrations came to the surface on more occasions than I care to admit. The disappointments were not always dealt with in the best way.
I liken the experience to my purchasing of a new pair of light-coloured trousers. A bit of a divergence for me from the trusty dark blues and blacks. I thought I’d try something new it is, was, summer after all. But the interesting thing is that these pair of trousers have done more than be a comfortable pair of trousers, they have revealed that I am unequivocally a grub. Each time I have worn these trousers within minutes on a good day it might be hours they have become dirty or there is a new stain. Now this can’t be a new thing, it is just that before now I didn’t know just how messy I can be. Dark trousers hide so much! 2020 was a bit like these new but now worn trousers. It revealed strengths and opportunities that I am so thankful to God for, I’m sure it is the same for many Chaplains around Australia we had to step up and into roles that we perhaps hadn’t prepared or experienced before and God sustained us, inspired and provided for us in more ways that we could ever imagine. But 2020 also revealed weaknesses, weaknesses that I am grateful that I am now aware of, but this gratefulness has taken a while to come as I have and continue to work through the regret and shame that some experiences bought.
And so, with deep breaths 2021 begins excitement and apprehension… our students will soon return and it we will be underway. But thankfully once again with all that 2020 bought I am reminded and learning afresh more about God’s grace, forgiveness and being still. I know that each year can bring with it its ups and downs, maybe not to the global scale of 2020, but still the unexpected especially I’ve found in schools should be the expected. And so, it is actually that I enter 2021 with gratefulness and confidence. I am grateful that I have learnt more about myself and that I begin this new year with confidence knowing that our God, who see’s and knows the beginning and the end, loves each one of us. To each of you go well into 2021 with God’s blessing and remember these words of Psalm 46,
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.