Whether you brought the new year in with the bang of fireworks or in a more subdued manner, the start of another year stirs up euphoria and optimism quite like no other time. Stepping into the new year has the masses pledging to be better….do better.
Whether we dress them in things called resolutions or more finely attired in goals or simply wrapped it in one word, we all have had hopes and expectations for the year ahead.
Yet I have found myself declaring some of the same words year after year. Only to find those hopes and expectations dwindle midway through the year. It’s exciting to start something new but staying the course isn’t always comfortable or easy when you do not see the results you expected.
I’m reminded of Rizpah, one of Saul’s concubines, standing on the rock for five months keeping the birds and other prey from the bodies of her dead sons until they received a proper burial. (See 2 Samuel 21:10). Like any mother, I’m sure she had hopes and expectations for her children. Imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to be there day in and day out seeing the bodies of her children there but she stayed in place.
How do you maintain your motivation and hope when you see your fellow sisters enjoying spring, while it looks like winter in your life?
How do you hold onto hope after you prayed but your heart’s desire has still not been fulfilled?
While many are celebrating the beginning of a new year being a fresh start, truth is a date on the calendar doesn’t declare the ending of certain areas of pain in our lives. Some hurts, pains, concerns, worries, losses, wounds, longings, unfilled dreams ….walked right over into 2014 with us.
What do we do with those things that we carried over with us? How do we start fresh in light of the old things that linger?
Wanda, I recently wrote a post on hope deferred because of a trial I’m experiencing currently. As you mentioned, this trial carried over into 2014 with me. The only thing I can do and have been doing is choosing to trust God, anyhow. Despite my circumstances, I continue to remind God of His Word and promises for my life. Although the situation doesn’t look good at this time, I know God is a God who shows up on time. I trust Him to take care of me in this because He always has. Thanks for your post. Beautiful writing!
Hi Marilyn, I look forward to reading the insights you shared hope deferred. It’s definitely area that I have been revisiting often. One of things I have noticed through reading scripture is that God often sends us reminders of his promises that stirs up our hope as well.
Joanna Wert says
We start fresh by a change in attitude. Even though it is true that the changing of the calendar does not change anything, our perspective changes everything.
So true Joanna, our attitudes play an important and the Word certainly tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Love this!! Thank you for this post!
Glad to hear it resonated with you. Best wishes to you for 2014.
Michell Pulliam says
What a question Wanda! I guess the only thing we can do is trust Him in the process. He did say in His Word that we’ll have many afflictions, BUT He’ll deliver us from them ALL!! I keep reminding myself of what my husband said…it doesn’t matter what we go through in this life, it will NEVER compare to what our Savior went through in order that we may have eternal life. That pretty much put it in perspective for me, lol! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful post my friend…have a wonderful New Year!
Great words of wisdom Michell. When we look at things through the eyes of eternity it all pales in comparison.
Yes, Wanda, how I understand. There are many things that are being carried over from last year – the primary one being the continuing care of my elderly parents – especially my dad with his rapid slide into dementia. There are new decisions to make, and they aren’t going to be easy.
This carry-over of difficult stuff had me scratching my head at God’s *word* for me in the coming year – JOY. How on earth am I going to experience joy with so many problems chasing me from 2013?
It’s a matter of perspective. I have to keep reminding myself that His mercies are new EVERY morning, and His faithfulness NEVER fails.
Jesus, Only You.
Sharon, new mercies every day has been one of things that really struck a cord with me as we transition into 2014. It will be interesting to see how God unveils joy in your life this year in spite of the unsettle things from the old year.
This is a hard one. There are so many things I left undone last year. I don’t want to dwell on the failures, but I want to look back to see what lessons God was trying to teach me through them, and ask for His grace to only pick up those things He desires me to carry forward. Blessings!
I’m with you Barbie. I’m certainly not wallowing in the failures of 2013 but simply reflecting on what lessons I might have missed so that I can lay hold of some things this year.
You are so right when you declare (in summary) that a date on a calendar does not change or end certain situations in our lives. Yet we behave that way sometimes, and without understanding that it’s not about January 1st of a new year but about renewing our faith so we can make the right decisions on a daily basis aka staying the course. Thanks for this very timely thought, and best wishes for a hopeful 2014.
I couldn’t have articulated it better Gale! Best wishes to you as well.
That’s a tough one! I’d like to say that when ever I find myself dwelling on the pain, the disappointments, the failings I turn my eyes back on the Lord and His promises. And that’s what I TRY to do. But it’s not always that simple. Even when I know that’s what I should do… well…. I’m still a work in progress.
Becky, I understand. I too would like to say that I’m quick to turn my eyes to His promises but just this morning I found myself asking God to forgive me for allowing myself to become despondent to His promises. I also found encouragement in His Word that He comes along and reminds us of His promises, which renews our hope.
Pam Williams says
You pose a difficult question, Wanda. Sometimes it takes looking back in order to have the strength to forge ahead. It reminds me of a time when I had surgery and wasn’t healing as quickly as “normal”. For a long time I felt like I wasn’t making any progress at all. Then I realized that, although I still couldn’t do much more than walk to my neighbor’s and back, a month before I couldn’t walk across our grass without pain. When it became evident that I WAS making progress, it gave me hope that the total healing would come–maybe not on my time schedule, but it would eventually come–and it did!
I see the same type of progress in my spiritual and emotional life. While at times it seems like one step forward and two back, by the grace of God it is actually two forward and one back.
Thanks for sharing your insight Pam. I too can think of times that growth or healing didn’t look apparent to me but God was certainly at work in the background.