It's the time for New Year's resolutions. (Or, you could just use One Word, as we recommend) Do you have one? If so, how do you formulate your new resolution or one word focus?
If you are anything like me, you have to dig a bit to look back at what you resolved last year. A lover of writing and words, I have blown through enough paper to be in a completely different journal than the one I closed out with last year. I went rummaging through a box to find my written thoughts from the conclusion of last year, and what an amusing surprise I found!
When I peeled back the pages of my 2012 journal, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself reading about frustrations and obstacles abounding. At the time I wrote those words, I was filled with confusion, deeply seeking discernment and direction from God. I was not feeling confident in my choices and my path personally or professionally. The words I read in my journal revealed a woman who thought she had made sound decisions for her children and for the ministry, but who now saw circumstances that had shaken her confidence. I saw a woman second-guessing herself. Yet, I knew the story had a positive ending. I had the delight of knowing that my doubts had been proven wrong.
Every uncertainty I had in 2012 ended up being smashed to bits by the decisions I made moving through 2013. Rather than letting my thought life debilitate me, I stepped into the new year focusing on the word "Intentionality". I made decisive, intentional maneuvers in every part of my life, doubting my doubts and trusting God to point the way. Despite feeling uneasy, moving forward in faith fortified my perseverance. As a result, I was rewarded with confirmation that I was moving in the right direction: The medical decisions and inclinations involving my children were sound. My passion about this ministry to parents raising kids with special needs was not misplaced. I was able to continue to move forward with intentionality and make even more good decisions for myself, those I love, and those I serve through the ministry. I was transformed from confused to confident, from uncertain to unflappable. All of this took place because I acted in trust and full-reliance on God.
Because I walked through the past 12 months hand-in-hand with the Lord, I'm not the same person that I was at this time last year. That is liberating!
We parents seem to be experts at heaping guilt on ourselves, so often feeling like we are not doing enough for our children or others. We worry about whether we have made right decisions regarding school, therapies, treatments, and even diet. And when it comes to ourselves? We can feel like we are going nowhere fast.
Yet, if we stop to pause and reflect back at where we were previously, we might be surprised at how far we've really come. Remember how you felt when you first had an inkling that something was not-quite-right with your child? Remember the uncertain person you were when your child was first diagnosed? You are not that same person today. You will not be the same person 6 months from now. Walking with Jesus, we can always know that we are becoming, transforming, morphing into a reflection of His beauty with increasing measure.
When life around us can seem so incredibly unstable, knowing this truth can bring such joy. What contentment is ours when we realize that Christ's redemption isn't just for some day, but for our circumstances now. Despite our greatest trials and frustrations, we can be certain that He can and does create beauty from the ashes of our lives. No matter where I have been or what I have endured, at least I can feel relief knowing I am not who I once was.
I don't know about you, but that gives me great comfort and eager anticipation as I flip the calendar over this year. I just shed pieces of my weaknesses and flaws in the ash heap of the past 12 months. Hallelujah!
PRAY: Father, thank You for the confidence in knowing that, even when times are tough, I am not the same inexperienced, uninformed, spiritually-immature person I was at this time last year. Thank You for new beginnings. Help me to make the most of them!
~ Barb Dittrich
Video: Brandon Heath - I'm Not Who I Was (C) 2007 Provident Music Group LLC, a unit of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT