Happy New Year! 2019 has arrived and boy has it brought with it a busy schedule! Pile on all our new resolutions we think we need and it’s no wonder that the month of January seems never-ending! While everyone is busy with the whole “new year, new me” mantra, I’m over here still basking in the after-glow of Christmas! And yes, I am already excited for next Christmas! To be perfectly honest, I’m looking forward to ALL future Christmases! I’m pretty sure I just heard someone say bah-hum-bug at that...well Mr. Scrooge, I’m happy for you to follow along with me as we catch a glimpse of the Joy of Christmas Future. Christmas is all about joy, peace, and hope. Who doesn’t want that to follow them all throughout the year? Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit may abound in hope.” So save your bah-hum-bugs for the piles of snow we are sure to get in the near future, because, hello, it’s one of the “joys” of living in Michigan, and let’s look forward at what God has in store for us this year!
We’ve talked about having a routine and how that routine helps us to be in the moment and make the most of our time. With the new year, our routines are probably in need of a little bit of adjusting and rearranging. Whatever you do, don’t give up! You can do it! Sometimes the hardest time to stick to a routine is when we are facing the difficult parts of life, those deep pits, dark valleys, and seemingly endless nights. (Which may or may not include a cold Michigan winter!) And that is okay. You don’t have to. But this does not mean that you can give up either. As followers of Christ, we have the assurance that we are not alone and that the sun will shine again. Isaiah 43:2 tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” And hold on to Psalm 30:5b, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” What a promise!
Read: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
Consider: There have been many discouraging moments in my life, because life is full of ups and downs and does not always go in the direction I would choose. I think, most recently, one of the most painful moments was saying goodbye for now to my father in law. When I first heard the word, “cancer,” there was this fear that just washed over me. There are times in life where you realize just how little control you have and this was one of them. As many of you know, dad had an aggressive form of cancer and he fought like a champion. When walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I think that it is easy to question the goodness of God. There were times throughout the journey that I questioned God, “Where are You? Do You see us? Do You still love us? Do You care?” I can tell you, He cares. He was right there beside us. He never left our side. Not even for a minute. Even when you can’t feel God, you must cling to your faith and what you know to be true. He is faithful. I believe the enemy often distracts us from what we know to be true with what we are feeling at the time. Emotions can be misleading, instead, trust God.
There is peace in knowing that God is in control. Check out these verses: Psalm 46:1, Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:6-7, and Luke 12:22-26.
We learned so much about our family and our God throughout this journey. Yes, we were able to find joy in the midst of the battle. We learned to pray big, to claim the promises of our God and to cling to them like never before. We learned to be in the moment. To look at each day as the gift it is. To make precious memories. We learned what is really important and to not get hung up on petty things. Most importantly, we learned to trust God and His will and plan for our lives and to look forward to the joy of a future in heaven with our Heavenly Father AND our earthly father.
To-Do: Think on some of the discouraging moments you’ve face in your life. In those moments, how have you trusted God, despite your circumstances? Did you trust that although your routine had been disrupted, that God had a purpose and a plan?