By Tammye Hamilton

I love babies. Tiny humans are truly one of God's best ideas ever! I love to kiss my grandbabies from their heads to their toes. There’s just something really special about fresh, new life.  

My love for new life extends to the new year. All through the craziness of the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, I am happily anticipating the coming year like an expectant mother anticipates that new little life about to be born.    

We have expectations, plans, dreams and goals for 2017 as we do for each of our children when they arrive.  

Like me, you probably have a year or two of your life that you would like to have skipped. That year defined by serious family issues, illness, or the deep loss of someone you loved. 

In 2003 we received an obvious, miraculous gift from God when our sweet Anna Joy was born. A few months later, my wonderful daddy suddenly passed away. It was indescribable joy followed by overwhelming heartbreak.   

Some years are like that.   

2016 held many surprises and unexpected challenges for so many. As the year ended the buzz was all about what an awful year it was. As Jon and I reflected on the year, we decided that God was with us and the joys far outweighed the grief.  

2017 will certainly bring change and it’s own challenges. Whatever this year may hold for us, we can trust Him. We do not need to fear the future or carry the past into this new year. If it is tragedy we face, He will walk by our side. If great joy awaits us, He will rejoice over us.    

The best news is that God has a special plan for this year just for you. As we ask Him to show us and lead us into His plan, His blessings will surprise us. He is a loving Father who longs to give good gifts to His kids.  

So as we embrace this fresh new year, let's open our hands to release the old and receive the new. 

I am so excited to see His plans unfold for 2017!    

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”