“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:21–23 NIV
Last year was particularly difficult. My family received a multitude of blessings, most definitely, but we also experienced a plethora of physical, spiritual, and emotional struggles. We faced challenges in caregiving, marriage, mental health, parenting—you name it. And we certainly weren’t alone.
We only have to turn on the TV or scroll through Facebook or Twitter to see the heartache etched across our world right now. It’s easy to let tragedies like natural disasters and terrorist attacks rule our hearts and minds when we’re bombarded with these frightening realities every day.
Yet with our eyes firmly focused on Jesus, we can stay grounded in making a difference in this deeply troubled world. And no matter what failures and letdowns we faced last year, 2018 offers all of us a fresh start.
January is when most people attempt to make changes in their lifestyle. They resolve to take better care of their bodies and minds—to eat better, to study the Bible or read more books, to pray or meditate more, to exercise more, to spend more time with their families, to travel more, to pursue more education, to find better work-life balance.
I’m personally not one for making new year’s resolutions, but I do like to use January as an annual time to renew my ongoing commitments. I reflect on how I can continue to improve my existing relationships as a wife, mother, caregiver, sister, daughter, and friend. Perhaps most importantly, I recommit to caring for my own spiritual, mental, and physical health, particularly through devoting time and effort to prayer and Bible study, to writing and ministry, and to clean eating and yoga practice.
Yoga is where I learned, many years ago, that I can maintain balance, such as in eagle pose or tree pose, only if I keep my eyes fixed on a specific spot in front of me. Yoga is also where I learned that there is freedom in the humility of kneeling, as in child’s pose or prayer pose, and in the patience of lying still and waiting, as in corpse pose. In life, as in yoga, I can find true peace and contentment only in keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus and in bowing my head in gratitude for his goodness each day.
To continue growing in faith, holiness, and self-awareness, I must be willing to acknowledge my challenges and shortcomings and then move forward, accepting his perfect forgiveness and grace. I must be willing to embrace the perpetual newness of his mercy in each practice, each day, each year, and in every opportunity he presents.
Father, thank you for new beginnings. Thank you for continually giving us fresh starts and for your mercies that never cease. Please forgive us for our shortcomings over the past year, and help us to forgive ourselves and one another for our trespasses. Help us to seek your goodness with an all-consuming focus this year. Amen.
Scripture for Reflection
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NIV)
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV)
Reach for More
Identify ways you can embrace newness this year. Think about fresh opportunities for growth God may be granting you in 2018, whether in your personal relationships, in your health, or in your career or ministry. Recommit to keeping your eyes focused on Jesus and his kingdom despite any earthly struggles that may continue or begin. Recommit to finding freedom in Christ and to letting his light shine in everything you do.
What opportunities are you looking forward to? What ongoing ventures are you recommitting to? Share with us on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. We would love to hear from you.
For the Love of Dixie. Her first book, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? was published in 2016. She thrives on green tea, Tex-Mex and all things turquoise.writes about her journey as a wife, mom to two little girls and Alzheimer’s daughter in her native Austin, Texas, at
Photograph © Marion Michele, used with permission