His mercy is made new every morning
On a day not unlike any other day, the phone rang. Tom on the other end shouts, “Babe, we’ve got orders!” My excitement bubbled out in one word — WHERE!? In a matter of seconds, I silently experience at least a dozen emotions and filtered hundreds of questions as I awaited my military man’s answer. CALIFORNIA! In what turned out to be our last military move — we had come full circle — and landed the plane right where it had all began.
New bases and new places are one of the perks I miss about being a military family. I still get an itch for something new every 3-4 years. From places to spaces I love fresh starts. I enjoy a newly arranged kitchen. I savor a well-organized closet or a freshly cleaned bedroom. I love the blank pages of a brand-new journal and an empty calendar of the coming year. It’s all new, fresh, and full of untapped potentialities.
Like an untouched canvas, new beginnings awakens the creative optimist in me — but I’ve learned that to go forward well, we have to look back.
Walking into a new year is a lot like arriving at a new base — it’s a life reset. We get to do better everything we’ve already done. Careful though, if you’re like me you might be tempted to forget the past and focus on the future. But to forget the past almost guarantees we’ll repeat it. And I don’t know about you, but there are some things in 2017 I’d like not to repeat.
So before we march into a new year we really should reflect on of the past — not just the good but the bad, too.
I spent some time facing the disappointments of the year knowing I didn’t move the dial as much as I wanted to. I evaluated the pain from fading friendships, and I recalled the sting of rejection from people I love and admire. In reflecting I realized how much I learned from the hard and challenging moments.
- Those challenges taught me about myself and how I handle conflict.
- The hard moments showed me where I need to grow in relationships.
- It all revealed a lot about where I placed my faith.
- In the end I saw who and what mattered most.
Let me caution you; the pain likes to overshadow the bright spots of 2017. So don’t forget to celebrate your wins! You earned them. (Heck we’ve earned them!)
I surfed my instagram feed to remind myself what I did all year. (Come on friend let’s use that highlight reel for something positive 😉 ) I saw what God did in the midst of all the mess and disappointments. New friends, new family members, a new book, and a new part of my ministry all arrived this year. All worth celebrating! I saw people I had not seen in years, met new people I only dreamed of meeting and went places I had never been before. Reflecting on the good reminded me:
- One closed door is an opportunity for another to open.
- Unlikely people and places are God’s specialty.
- Serving others without expecting anything in return reaps a special reward.
- I do know more than I give myself credit.
Maybe you’re planning your new year and reflecting on some of the painful moments: Let me share four mottos that changed me in 2017.
- I broke off perfectionism with: You don’t have to get it right you just have to get it going ~Stu McLaren
- I stopped trying to do it all with: You can’t chase two rabbits, or you won’t catch either ~ Chinese Proverb
- I stopped people pleasing with: When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. ~Mya Angelo
- I started being kinder to myself with: Failure is the best elevator. ~ME
Perhaps you’re anticipating the reset of the New Year, and all the places God will take you. Here are four declarations that grew me in all sorts of ways.
- I began accepting the process with: I may not be where I want to be, but I am not where I used to be.
- I embraced God’s identity over man’s with: I am God’s daughter whether I succeed or fail.
- I enlarged my faith with: God is who He says He is, will do what He says He will do, and make a way where there seems to be no way.
- I pushed forward with: Just keep showing up!
Friend, let’s be honest. Just like our last base, sometimes we end up right back where we started. Coming full circle doesn’t mean we haven’t grown. When we left California the first time, we were newly married, unsaved, and well let’s just be real — we didn’t have a clue. When we returned 15 years later, we had a family, we were followers of Christ, and little wiser than when we had left.
Perhaps you don’t feel like you moved the dial much in 2017, or you’re afraid 2018 won’t be much different than the last 365 days. I want to tell you it will be different because you’re different. You are not who you were 365 days ago, and remember God is not done with you yet! Happy New Year friend!
In their heart’s people plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
Your Friend in Faith
P.S. What are you looking forward to resetting in 2018? Share them with me in the comments below. And remember as mentors we share what we know, so if you know someone who would benefit from these lessons make sure you share them in your sphere of influence!