New Year

This year we made new Christmas memories. All our family gathered here in KY and I was able to be with them, instead of in the hospital. On New Year’s Day, I was at church, rather than being inside an ambulance headed to Cardinal Hill. Gratitude fills our hearts as we count our blessings this year. While I feel so blessed by the family and friends God has given me, I am also filled with gratitude for a God who loved us so much He sent His Son into our story to suffer and to save, that we might enter into His story. At one particularly low moment of pain and suffering in the hospital, I remember being overwhelmed by the very thought that He left Heaven and took on the pain and suffering of this world, even mine, to offer me freedom from sin and life eternal. Several times during the season, this spiritual reality pressed in upon my physical realities. Recently, when I was feeling quite humbled as my therapist was teaching me to turn over and to crawl, I felt like God was saying to me,”I did this for you, humbling myself to come into your circumstances. Would you now do this for me?”

As we start a new year, I feel both relief to end one year and some anxiety at facing a new one. I have to admit it feels like I’m starting a road trip in the rain, with broken headlights. I can’t see the road ahead. I do not know what twists and turns are coming. What else will the Sovereign God allow in my life? I feel, sometimes, as though I have reason to fear. But then I remember that the same God, in Christ, who led me safely through the darkness of last year’s unexpected trauma and losses, can lead me through whatever might be ahead. I have learned through what He has allowed, that fear only robs me of the joy, peace, courage, and faith I so desperately need. I can either clench my fist in anger and anxiety, or I can open it in utter surrender and submission. Lately, I have been purposefully holding my palm open, especially Wilson, who is inclined these days to clenching not opening. It is a good reminder for me to pry it open,in a gesture that helps me open my heart in fresh surrender, saying with Mary, “Let it be to me according to your word, will, and way.” Mary trusted the One writing the story, without knowing the ending. Because of His Word, I know the ending. How much more can I trust Him with the road ahead? He saw this last year for me, when I didn’t. And while he didn’t deliver me from the pain and suffering, He led me through it and chose to enter into it with me. The way to keep anxiety and fear from paralyzing me in the start of a new year is with this open-handed posture of surrender to whatever God allows – knowing He does all things well and He works all together for good.

Throughout this journey, some have commented on my courage, peace, and patience. These are not things I feel, but they are more states of mind or being for me – because I know all is well, that He does all things well, and is in control of all things. Because He lives and He loves, I can embrace each challenge with His peace. I have not felt brave, strong, patient, or courageous. Yet I have spent much of the last year forced into a posture of waiting or of facing a new challenge that felt daunting. The courage, patience, and peace come from focusing on Him. Author Ann Voskamp says it this way:

“I will focus on Jesus this week,
just Jesus.
The secret of joy is always
matter of focus: a resolute focusing
on the Father, not on the fears.

And when I feel like I can’t touch bottom
is when I touch the depths of God.
If He gave His Son to save me,
will He not give me everything I need?

I will Behold Him everywhere today – and be held.”

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45 thoughts on “New Year

  1. What a wonderful reminder to trust in the Father, who gave his one and only son so I (we) can have abundant life!
    Thank you Katy, for your faithfulness and honesty with us, some of whom you have never met!
    You can never know this side of eternity what a difference you are making in our lives!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Carole,I have so appreciated your encouragement through your kind comments here. Perhaps we will meet one day. Thank you for allowing me to meet you in this way. God bless and encourage you in this new year.

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  2. Clench Wilson and shake him high! God sees this as courage and stamina…..not giving in or frustration. Just let Wilson fly high and that one day that Wilson is spread out, God will grab him and say ‘well done’!
    Your blogs have been such a blessing to me. I do feel your pain – though have never personally experienced it. But I saw my Mom go through a lot of your same feelings …. well, she is with God now and probably giving Him a piece of her mind!!! (Can’t you just see that??) On the other hand, she is probably singing His glory and dancing to the new beat! How glorious!

    Love you all…..

    Diane

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    1. Diane, it makes me happy just to see your name here. It is fun to imagine your mother in Heaven. If you could brighten up or livenHeaven, she would do it!, oh, how we still love her! Thanks for following our journey and feeling it with us! That means a lot to us. When Wilson spreads out and lifts in praise to God, we will let you know! Thank you, Diane, for helping me believe . Much love to you and yours in this new year. Katy

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  3. Blessed New Year to all the Keys!

    Katy,

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring message with such honesty.
    We love and pray for you everyday. May The Holy Spirit comfort and enable you one moment at time every day this year.

    In Jesus Mighty Name,

    The Watsons

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    1. We have always loved the Watsons,but now even more, as you have walked this journey with us in yourthought and prayers. Thank you for being there for us, with us. Can you come see us in the new year? That would make it more blessed! Katy

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  4. With coming through a season of loss in our own family, this is a beautiful reminder of where to keep our focus in 2017. It’s not about feelings but a state of mind and trust in a sovereign God. Thank you for this, Katy.

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    1. Sweet, sweet Amy. If anything I say can be a blessing to you, it is worth it all! Thanks for being a loving support through it all. You were the first, really, to come and sit at my bedside and pray for me.i will always remember you there. Thank you.

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  5. You are on my “daily prayer list” and I continue to pray for God’s presence and strength for you, dear Katy, because you are courageous and brave and patient in this deep, dark valley that you’ve had to go through. Thank you — you give strength to us all. I love you.

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    1. Your love humbles and comforts me. I know you could encourage and inspire us through your own journey! But thanks for walking with us through ours. Katy

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  6. Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 4:56 PM, Journey with Katy wrote:

    > lizlind posted: ” This year we made new Christmas memories. All our family > gathered here in KY and I was able to be with them, instead of in the > hospital. On New Year’s Day, I was at church, rather than being inside an > ambulance headed to Cardinal Hill. Gratitude fills o” >

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    1. Dear,dear Esther,you,too, have your own journey and story to tell of His faithfulness. Thank you for following ours with your heart and prayers! Looking forward to seeing you the next time! Much love.

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  7. Katy & family, I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. Reading your writings have brought me to tears, to wonder, to pray even more…knowing this is not a perfect world where all goes right as we perceive it.
    God is ever faithful to us. He has entrusted us to be faithful to Him. Your words have helped many & have reflected your faithfulness. To God be the glory.

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    1. Dear Theresa, how kind of you to comment and to follow our journey, encouraging me along the way.
      May this new yeR be full of unexpected joy as we walk with Him together! Katy

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  8. Thank you for your precious words, I treasure your perspective, Katy, and pray for you and yours.
    Carried by our Father,
    Joy Mistur

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  9. Katy,
    I can never read your words without a pang of guilt, as I have not been as accepting of the trials I have faced these last 4 years as you have done this last year in your sufferings. Everyone has different trials that are hand picked and filtered through hands of love from our Heavenly Father, and yet you have so humbly shared yours with so many. I think of you and pray for your healing and I just admire your loving, trusting spirit and how you share it with all of us. I know that you would have preferred not to have gone and continue to go through these struggles….but just the way the Lord is using you not just in my life but in the lives of so many, I know there are many crowns awaiting you to cast at His feet.
    Thank you, Katy.
    I look forward to rejoicing with you someday…either down here or in our Heavenly abode!
    In Christ’s precious love,
    Rena

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    1. Oh Rena, I have just been more vocal, not more aithful, but you are kind to think and say so about me. It’s so true that He tailor makes even the trials we each face. I wouldn’t want to face yours. I consider you brace, courageousin what you carry! So humbled that we can journey an d trust Him together for the road ahead!much love to you in this new year! Katy

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  10. Dearest Katy,
    Your messages always find a place in my heart that needs a big boost of encouragement. Thank you for remaining faithful so those of us dealing with lesser pain can keep going.
    Love you dearly,
    Virelle

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    1. virelle, it has been a blessing just hearing from you! Thanks for following us in our own journey. We know you are on your own with no lesser pain!thankful we can journey together with Him, toward Him, even though separated by miles and time. Thankful for you and your writings, testifying to His faithfulness in times of trial!
      Sending love to you and your family from the keys in this new year! Katy

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  11. Your words remind me of the song, Because He lives, I can…
    May He continue to reign over and in you in this new year.
    ❤️ Sandy

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  12. Katy! I wanted to send you and Stan a Christmas card this year from my mother and me. That you and Stan could’ve thought of us (and my father) in our situation while moving through your own is more than just touching. I am deeply, deeply grateful. It was my hope to let you know that we haven’t forgotten you either—with a rare Christmas greeting. Alas, there was a problem with my mother on one of the two nights devoted to Christmas card writing, and I was unable to accomplish what I had hoped. I have extra cards for next year (I didn’t finish the job, in other words)! In addition, I would like to let you know that this particular blog entry ministers hugely to me. Entering 2017 has been a daunting proposition thus far. Without divulging the full situation, I can only say that what you write resonates with me on many levels. I am grateful, grateful, grateful to you. Thank you for encouraging me!! Much love to all of you,Judi Hehir

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    1. Judi, I know your heart is with us, even when you don’t have a chance to write. You have been on your own journey where you couldn’t see the road ahead, and He has brought you through. Thanks for being there for your mom and your dad. We are grateful to you for that! Uch love to all the Van Dyks and Hehirs from the keys! Katy

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  13. Katy, your humility is every bit as much of a lesson to all of us as your words. Having met you nearly two years ago, I know you are a humble person. You have allowed God to use your trials to not only teach you but the rest of us. I still keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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  14. Katy, thank you for your inspirational words. What a blessing it is to know that God is with us always and we can surrender all to him with peace and joy. We are praying for your continued healing and pray for God’s blessing for you and Stan during this new year.

    Love in Christ,

    John & Wendy

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    1. John n Wendy,
      You both have been such a support and encouragement to us and ESP since we moved. Thank you so much for reaching out to us esp through this difficult time. We pray for u too.

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  15. Oh Katy, to hear your words is just what I needed today; I, too, will only think of Jesus!! Our son, Chad Michael, is headed to elective surgery on Monday for removal of sinus polyps in all four sinuses, I am paralyzed thinking the “what if’s”, I will try to rest in Jesus and have faith that he will be to smell and taste again soon. Maybe you and Pastor Stan could pray for him. Love in our Precious Jesus, Chrissy Kucera

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  16. Dear Katy and Pastor Stan ( or Pastor Ken as I called him at West Chazy camp)
    I have been reading and praying for the past year, heart breaking, then rejoicing each victory, loving your sweet daughters as they cared for you, fighting alongside Stan during his cancer bout, and understanding just the tiniest bit about learning to live a new normal and being humbled by having to ask for help. Not at all to your extent but my chronic back issues have changed my life forever but I cling to the Lord, some days better than others, thankful His mercies are new each morning and realizing it will only be in Heaven that I will be able to jump over small buildings. Most days I am thankful for how this yuck has brought me closer to Him but some days I still have small, exclusive pity parties. You are invited but I am happy to report they are not held near as often. We know God had the power to heal and restore but No seems harder to accept. When I read the Biblical stories of His healing and He asks the question ” what do you want?” And the person says to be healed if He is willing and Jesus says I am willing – well, I want to jump in the story and say ” pick me, pick me”. I guess I am still learning that I don’t need to understand I just need to hold tight to His hand.
    During that time at West Chazy you gave me a book as I was dealing with my beloved brothers sudden death, you were so sweet and caring about someone you just met and I have loved you ever since. Please know you are still in our prayers and we know ALL things are possible with God. I read the other day that when we pray for what we WANT Jesus translates to the Father what we NEED. Comforting thought to be in His hand. You r probably ready for a nap after reading all this but wanted to finally take the time to write.
    On a good note, we are in Lake Placid, FL waiting to start our first SOWER ( Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) project of the new year. Standing on the brink of a new year is always a little scary but I try to remember He’s already there.
    Love to you both. ~ Kim Trivilino.

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    1. Oh Kim, how I love your honesty. Thank u for it. I feel the same way…..some days I draw fromHis grace and strength more than others. With back issues, you can be so immobilized that I’m quite sure you have a good idea what I can feel from day to day. Weakness of body gets in the way of life, sometimes, yet it reveals more than ever our end for His daily strength n grace to face each day. Thanks for even following our journey on this blog. Touches my heart to remember you and be connected in some way even by commiserating together. Bravo for going with Sowers again! You guys are amazing!

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  17. Dearest Katy — I do not write often, but pray regularly. His thoughts and ways are higher than mine, and I’m grateful for glimpses into the “mysteries of Christ”. Today, as I read your reflection, a favorite prayer by Thomas Merton came to mind — one of abandonment (beyond surrender) that invites us to live with “open hands” (Wilson) …

    “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” (Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude)

    Love you, Katy — standing with you on this journey …

    Sandy Johnson

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    1. We may not know what the road ahead will bring but we never expected to be together in KY visiting , so I’im choosing to believe there are some other good surprises ahead. If I have encouraged you in any way, I am thrilled, by you’re part of my inspiration, as the overcomes you are!

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  18. Katie, So great to see you enjoying family and celebrating with them. You have such a gift of expressing yourself with words. I haven’t experienced any part of what you have but I find myself so in agreement with an incredible amount of what you have managed to say so beautifully. I keep praying for God’s continuing work in your life. My love and prayers… Marilyn Hannay

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Marilyn, thanks for very kind words and for following our journey, ever learning and growing in Him. You are a blessing to many,always to me. Wish we lived nearer the Hannay’s…….but it’s good just to hear from you!

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  19. You are such an encouragement, Katy. As I have suffered with non-stop back pain which doctors have all said is “incurable”, I read your story and it encourages me to keep keeping on, and doing whatever I am able to do for Christ, and not dwell on what I can’t do.

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  20. We met many, many years ago, when you were in Fox River Grove, IL church. We met you through Jim and Carol Ward. I am so sorry for what you have been going through, but your faith through it all is a great testimony and witness for Christ. I pray that through your trials, others may have hope and come to know Jesus. Give my best to Stan and the children.

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  21. Thank you for explaining a truth we all need to grasp. Yours is an attitude that I need to begin to learn more thoroughly. All of our lives hang by such a thread. This year, I too, have been especially overwhelmed with the idea of the Creator of the Universe humbling Himself to live in a human body for 33 earth years, with all of its inconveniences and limitations.

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  22. Katy and Stan,
    I am so blessed to have come across this and am so grateful to Him for both of you. Your teachings and guidance have always meant the world to me. Divine timing at work Katy as i just stumbled across the copy of The Shack you gave me. Paige brought it to me yesterday as she organized her bookcase from our move. The words in the card reduced me to tears once again. You are such an inspirstion for hope, truth and love and i am so blessed you are here. All our love, kelly and paige

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  23. Praising God with you at your “State of Mind’ which if you were reading Chambers today would point to the intimacy of your relationship with Jesus. PTL! I loved your illustration of starting the road trip in the rain with broken headlights. But you have even stronger light with the light of Jesus. God bless you in 2017

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  24. Katy, I don’t know if you remember me . I was a friend from years ago at LCC when your dad was pastor. My maiden name was Susan Kunker. You used to come to our house on Sunday after church or I would go to your house sometimes. My mom and dad are both with Jesus now. My mom prayed for and waited for dad to give his heart to Jesus . (Which took many years ) I accepted Christ as my savior because of your father . I hope I am writing to you and not to Bill . I would love to hear how Your sisters are doing . I found a picture of you and our family in a photo. Praying for your recovery , God is in control and we know all things work together for good to those who love God . Sue

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