Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

The bright colors of this quilt I finished this week puts me in mind to look at the new year with a bright hope. The new year brings new things: seasons, experiences, opportunities, goals, etc… With the turning of the calendar, I think of New Year’s resolutions, which are mostly a concerted effort to improve my life or others. I plan out personal goals and writing/publishing goals, but also something bothers me. When I think of the new year right around the corner, I am excited and hopeful for what lies ahead but also fearful; I’m being honest. 

These last few months I’ve seen a dive in my physical strength. I have to do every activity—which requires standing—in increments of about ten minutes. That’s how long I can be upright without feeling like I’m going to collapse, and by that time the muscles in my middle are basically spasming, adding to my weakness. It’s discouraging, and I wonder how long it will be before I have to leave my home, which is multi-level and not conducive to using a wheelchair. 

My biggest fears in life basically boil down to my health and its steady decline. Not long ago, I read a book by a doctor with MS. He said that even cancer patients are given the hope of remission and recovery. No such hope is extended to people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. An eventual slide into the abyss of immobility, weakness, and numbness will take over. How long that declining journey takes is individual. It paints a humbling picture of needing help with managing the very basic functions of life. As it is, my husband now cuts my meat and carries my dinner plate and does a 100 other things for me, like I’m a child. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative for his assistance.

Why am I talking about this? I guess to say: something new can be scary. My mind battles with setting aside my fear to embrace the hope of newness, like spring rain and sunshine causing the trees to bud and the flowers to bloom. It strikes me: new life takes both the sun and the rain—brightness and shadow. This visual image reminds that what we deem as darkness and fear can have a purpose in our lives. It has the potential to drown us with paralyzing worries or to help us grow, grooving out a deep character, which comes from trials. 

My fear diminishes when I can equate something good coming out of something painful or unpleasant. This verse from James 1:4,5 came to mind— “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” This trial of ill health and fear can produce something good in me, if I let it. It can produce patience, which I’ve always had in short supply. I see patience working in my life like a potter’s hands forming a clay pot. The ridges and rings of life smooth out under the touch of patience as the wheel turns, eventually ending up with a whole, completed vessel–me.

So I put on my Pollyanna attitude (I watched that movie a couple of days ago) and gladly look forward to this new year. It’s an opportunity to love, learn, and grow and to let patience have her perfect work in me. 

Blessing on your New Year! J

4 thoughts on “A Bright Hope

  1. Brenda Dyck says:

    Once again you have used your words to invite your readers into your world and by doing so you have helped them access their own emotional world. In Dr. Susan David’s work on emotional agility she shares the power of writing your emotions into paper. As an adept writer you do this each time you create your characters and the emotional world of your characters, and when you write blog posts like A Bright Hope. Dr. David finishes her TED talk (The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage) with this memorable, inspiring phrase: “Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking”. That’s you Jenny. Everyday, every sentence you write. An act of courage. Showing others how to metaphorically walk through challenges and fear. I have no doubt that no matter where your road leads you in future days, you will have what you need to thrive.💕💪🏻
    Dr. Susan George’s TED Talk

    1. Thank you, Brenda! You brought tears to my eyes with your kind words. This has to be one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. I love that quote! Thank you for telling me that you recognize those thoughts through my words. 🙂 I have found by experience it is when I allow myself to examine my emotions that they then lose power over me. Instead of a rock in my hand, burdening me down, they become a balloon. I will take a listen to the link you provided. Thanks again for your encouragement! Bless you.

  2. Judy Abel says:

    I recently watched, “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood”. One of Mr. Roger’s quotes from it states: “Take a gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today.” It moved me emotionally as I did this very thing. Thank you, Jenny, for being a part of my life and for being so open and honest in sharing about your own journey. I’m so thankful we have a God who cares and loves us just the way we are and is our Source for each moment we are on this journey of life! It is worth it and will be worth it when we see Jesus!

    1. I want to see that movie! Thanks, Judy. I can say the same of you. I’m so glad we are friends. You have encouraged me at times when I needed it most. I have learned to be honest with myself and write that way too. People can relate, because life isn’t perfect. I am trusting all this pain and sorrow will reap something worth it. Amen to that!

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