New

What is it about January 1st that makes us feel so hopeful? Why do we set so many more goals, feel so much more motivated, and leave behind the past so much more easily than we do any other time of year? There is something so nice about a fresh slate. A new calendar does seem to symbolize a new chance at things. Out with the old and in with the new. THIS year is the year. No failures so far. No distractions. New.  

It’s like a fresh coat of snow on the ground. Untainted.  Can you imagine a small child standing at his back steps after the first heavy snow. He’s the first to look out at what seems like acres of possibility. The biggest snowman that’s ever been built in the history of mankind. A fort and wall that will defend itself admirably in a battle so great that the local news will come by to report it. And legions of angels.

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For me, a clean notebook with not so much as a scratch or scribble makes me feel for the very first minute that I could one day be listed among poets and philosophers, quoted alongside the great writers of our time. There is not a word written so far in this book to suggest otherwise.

 

A fresh, clean, perfect start is invigorating. It doesn’t take things terribly long in this world to deteriorate. I don’t want to spend too long reminding you of that, because life itself will, but it makes those brief immaculate moments that much more exhilarating.

 

Now consider Christ whose mercies are new every morning.

 

As redeemed children of God we have incomprehensible possibility, hope, and perfection in store. Every day we live covered in a robe of righteousness, dwelling in the promise of heaven, and capable of all things through Him who strengthens us.

 

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

   in the morning I lay my requests before you

   and wait expectantly.

 

With Christ as our head each moment is full of that same possibility. Don’t be discouraged by failures, doubts, insecurities. Your future in heaven is secure. You are purchased and won. You can live every moment looking out at your own acres of possibility.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

 

You are not captive to the limitations of this world! God has covered you over! You DO have acres of possibility! I hope that you see that fresh start Christ gives you by his mercy each morning and it lights a fire in you!

With Christ as our head and our focus, there is nothing we can not do. There is no need to wait for the new year to set “reasonable” goals. Each moment in grace is a chance to build your life into a stronghold of faith that people feel the need to talk about it. Construct a plan and use what God gives you to build that snowman. And walk in the knowledge that when you’ve lived out your possibilities, creating, building, and inspiring by faith that you will rest joyfully and eternally with legions of angels.

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

*Photo credit to the amazing Denice Woller at wollerphotography.com

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A Fresh Start

This year was the first year my family decided to do a “name exchange” for Christmas. We figured that rather than spend the weeks prior to celebrating the Lord’s birth frantically searching the stores hunting down something for each member of our ever-growing family, we could all perhaps benefit from having less to do and a bit more time to reflect on the advent of our King. Now that Christmas has come and gone, I can look back and say that yes, the name exchange definitely helped to simplify the preparations and it was perhaps one of the most enjoyable Decembers I’ve had in a long time. Although, I have to admit: there is one thing I am missing. Every Christmas since I can remember, the stack of gifts from my parents has included a wall calendar. Call me old-fashioned, but I still keep a calendar at-the-ready in our kitchen and rely on it to keep track of my (and my husband’s when he remembers to write them down) daily events. No gift from my mom this year = no calendar for me.

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This got me thinking: besides that desire to have the illusion of control over our daily happenings and plans, what is it about a brand new calendar, with stark white pages and unaltered margins that thrills me so? I can remember opening this gift at Christmas (we all knew what it was due to the thin square-shape of the package) and anxiously copying over all of our family members’ (and pets'!) birthdays, marking the last and first day of school, circling major holidays…what an odd thing for a ten-year old to get excited about! And now, at the ripe age of thirty, I feel oddly similar. There is something about starting a new year, something about looking at all of those open, empty days – days that are just waiting to be lived – that I find exhilarating. I have never been one to make “resolutions” per say but there are a few aspects of my personal life in which I would love to see improvement over the next twelve months (spending more time in the Word, enjoying more frequent “dates” with my husband, developing more patience and diligence when disciplining my daughters…) and hopefully, with the help of God, I will achieve these goals. I think an appropriate term to describe this feeling regarding the New Year might be “fresh” or “renewed”. And that’s when the following passage entered my mind:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

~ II Corinthians 4:16-18

Yes, that is it! We do not need to wait until the turning of a calendar page or the start of a new one to feel this way. For the Bible tells us in these verses that in Christ, we are all being renewed day by day! I had stumbled across this Scripture verse this year and haven’t been able to put it aside ever since. In this world of sin (which seems to be getting ever more sinful as time goes on) it is hard not to feel as though we are “wasting away” and therefore, losing heart. But this verse can (and should) serve as a reminder to all of us that we have a fresh start through Christ every single day He chooses to grant us with on this earth. What a comforting thought!

I will most likely wind up breaking down this week and purchasing a calendar at a next-to-nothing price and again hang it on the nail that patiently waits in our kitchen. But perhaps I’ll just have to scribble this verse into the margins on every page as a reminder not to wait until December 31st of this year to feel “renewed”. For I know that I will rush through days without spending time in the Word, find myself too busy to connect with my husband, and probably lose my temper when disciplining my girlies. But I will take heart knowing that I can wake up renewed and ready to start again each day.

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