Prepare yourselves, this is about to get “New Years Resolution” deep…
As I read the numerous resolutions that my friends and family are posting on facebook, as well as the “I’m thankful for this year because…” posts, I think back to my last year and all of the significant moments in it. In fact, facebook tried to help me recall these moments by offering to show me (the most commented on pictures and statuses from what I gather.)
Each year since I’ve been dating Michael, I have taken the time to write a note after the New Year to be read on the following New Year’s Eve. In it, I talk about the exciting moments we’ve had in the previous year, and talk about things we’re looking forward to or struggling with in the coming year. It is so interesting to look back on what was most pressing to you 365 days ago. For instance, in the letter I read last night, I found that we were extremely anxious about the arrival of my nephew, unsure of his name! We had just begun our debt-payoff plan (intensely) and were talking about the budget plans. I even mentioned my desperate attempt to find a new job and the many heartbreaks associated with that search. Throughout the letter, I remained optimistic, perhaps because I had done this before. I have written these letters every year for about 5 years and I’ve seen the changes that come with a new year. It’s actually incredible to see how much we’ve progressed in such a short span of time. I seem to realize this in my writings too. Each year, though we may be struggling with something substantial, I had written as though I knew when I read it one year later we will be out of the chaos of that time and we will reflect on that time with thankfulness to God to have seen us safely out of that season.
I think it’s important to view your life from that lens. Everyone goes through trials, in fact one of my favorite scriptures talks about this. In John 16:33, Jesus says “…in this world you will have trials and sorrow. But take heart, I have overcome the world!” There will be bumps and bruises along the way: Car accidents, death in the family, financial insecurity, job loss, etc. But in that same year, you will have marriages, new opportunities, re locations, new babies in the family! Often, it’s difficult to see through the fog when you’re struggling through one of these sorrowful times, but it’s in those times that you need to reach out to God and ask Him to lead you safely through. As Jesus said, He’s already overcome the trials of this world, so who’s a better leader?
While hiking in the woods the other day, we stumbled across that big tree, cut down. I remembered in elementary school when we were told that you can count how old a tree is, but counting the rings on the stump. Moreover, you can see what kind of years they were… if they were dry and the tree struggled that year, it will show on the stump. If the tree were diseased or suffered a traumatic year, it would show. What if people were like this. What if, at the end of our lives people could look at the years we had and see not just the struggles, but the joy and peace too! If they could, how would you want your years to look? Would you throw in the towel at the next trial, or would you fight through it and turn your year around?
It’s interesting, often as a country, we can’t tell we’re in a recession until we’re already on the way out of it. Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in the mud of depression and you don’t see the light waiting at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up, pray out to God to pull you through this season, and hold onto the peace and joy that He offers us in this life!
“Dear future T & M, happy new year 2015!” …..