Driving home with my family recently, I caught a glimpse, in the rear-view mirror, of a stunning sunset. It was so beautiful, and I mentioned it to my girls, who were in the back seat, so they could turn around, have a look, and enjoy it too. Now, at the risk of sounding cliché, it resonated within me as I pondered the start of a New Year, and reflected on the year that had just passed. You see, the sunset, as beautiful as it was, could only be seen either in the rear-view mirror, or by stopping altogether and turning around – changing the course of where we were intending on going, or at the very least, stalling our progress! Stopping in life to pause, reflect and evaluate is actually a really healthy thing to do.  And the start of a year is often a good cue, let’s face it, to ask yourself, “What’s working? What’s really not working? What do I need to change or do differently? What do I need to let go of? Where can I enlarge?” In Genesis 11, we read the story of Terah, who was Abraham’s father. We learn that Abraham had two brothers, Nahor and Haran, but that Haran had died. Terah decided to take the rest of his family away from their homeland, and go to Canaan. However, along the journey they came to a place with the same name as his son, Haran.  This is where they stopped and settled, and ultimately where Terah also died. Terah’s intention – his vision, purpose, calling, if you like – was to go to Canaan. But he never made it that far. Perhaps the painful reminder of his son was too great, the grief too deep, the trauma too fresh. Maybe it was an overwhelming sense of loss, regret or sadness. Or maybe he was holding on to unforgiveness, offense or bitterness. Whatever it was, he simply could not move forwards beyond this point. We can be like Terah too; the circumstances of life can sometimes be hard! Really hard! They can challenge us to our core, and stretch our faith, understanding and perhaps our sanity. As we reflect on the year that has been, perhaps we are confronted with illness, family challenges, difficult work situations, babies that wouldn’t sleep, unemployment, a death in the family, friends that let us down, or situations that didn’t go the way we had planned…. any of this could be enough to cause us to lose sight of what God has called us to do, and where he is asking us to journey to. So I encourage you to pause, reflect, and take in that sunset – your past. But don’t dwell there too long.  Ask God what you need to release to Him. Who you need to forgive. What you need to learn from the experiences you have had. Ask Him to bring healing and wholeness – he’s a specialist in restoration! Ask for wisdom to navigate the next chapter – he’ll provide it liberally! And once that sunset is done, there’s a whole new day, season and journey that awaits! “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)