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delicate twinkly lights

Hello new year! We reluctantly packed up the Christmas decorations and left a few wintry-looking items to brighten up our home. I had to leave some delicate white twinkly lights in the kitchen for those long, dark days winter brings. For me, it feels better to go ahead and take it down than to leave it into mid-January on my mind like I have done in previous years. Are you looking forward to this new season and year? Every year, people laugh about the New Year Resolutions, gym memberships, diets, and financial plans that last for a minute, then dissipate into nothingness.

Let’s get real. Life is full of blessings. Life is tough, sometimes excruciating. Life is a gift. Life is far from perfect on this earth. Over the 12 months of 2019, we thought we were moving four times, afraid of losing a job twice, transferred to a new job location, and experienced extreme stress from one job. That was all separate from family stress and simple life STUFF! In all of this uncertainty, which I certainly despise, I see God’s goodness in it all. Last year I began reading my Bible each morning downstairs at the kitchen table before everyone else rose from their slumber (most of the time). Staying in His Word allows me to think about life differently than I normally do when difficult situations happened. The every day ordinary time with God is not always a life-changing peak experience, but the consistent, closeness that happens through it is seen eventually. It allows me to stay level-headed and know that God is near (Psalm 145:18).

Perfect? Absolutely not. My hubs traveled more this past year than ever before in 12 years of marriage and it was rough and lonely. I experienced discouragement, worry, and fear, yet I know that God is good and He hears me. Just to know that He is near enough to pay attention to my worries I express makes all the difference.

Since life is a gift, yet not perfect, how about we learn to rest in the now. Contentment is a wonderful position. During difficulties, especially when I prayed specifically for something and it did not happen as I prayed, to know that He heard me and was still with me was truly comforting. It is tough to act in submission when I know what I think I need. Life happens when we are waiting for the next best thing. Let’s enjoy every day of sunrise and sunset and savor every breath we take instead of waiting to enjoy life when circumstances change. This mindset is tough to do, I know! Sometimes I have to change my mindset hourly! Spoken as a counselor, I say, changing the mindset will have results, when the new mindset becomes the new pattern of thinking.

I am a practical person, so I love learning new concepts, but want to know how to practice new lessons. I have learned that situations can always be worse. I can be thankful for what we are NOT experiencing. When my dear one has crummy work hours and changes week to week, I can remember the days he threw boxes at UPS in Louisville during seminary. Those were crazy hours!

I have a notebook that I can use to write down blessings that happen. Sometimes it is a simple complement or someone God allowed me to have a conversation with in a day. I also date each quick entry so I can remember God’s goodness specifically.

After contacts about church work again, which turned out to not be where we are called at this time, we are resolving to live in contentment where we are; the city, the state, the church, the job, and the people we are surrounded by. We do get discouraged by some circumstances here and hope for change but life is still happening, so we will choose to focus on the good. We will thank God for the people we know with kind hearts. We will also pray for the challenges we face and trust that He listens, cares, and works life out for the best.

No matter what kind of year you have entered, God is near to you and He adores you. I also challenge you to feel that this year through choosing to spend time with our Father each day. It has made all the difference in the world to me and I plan to do the same each day as consistently as possible this year. I could not live a day without Him. Praying for you as you search God’s Word and experience His goodness in your lives! How have you seen God’s goodness for yourself? I would love to hear from you. God bless.



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