A new year is a time most of us Reflect, Refresh, Renew and Remeber. I found myself towards the end of 2018 rushing towards the finish line not to necessarily finish strong but to just FINISH. I am sure my year was like many of yours, of course, the circumstances were different but similar in that there were times of triumph, victories, and celebrations, but there were also times of heartache, disappointments, and loss. I found myself only focusing on the later and saying GOODBYE to 2018.
Then it hit me today as I was doing my devotion and I began to look back over the course of the year and there were so many GREAT things. I allowed the not so great things to overshadow all God has done even in those HARD things; God STRETCHED me and allowed me to GROW! I plan to do these things more often throughout the year to keep me focused and encouraged not trying to fast forward past the rocky, bumpy and dry seasons.
- REFLECT– as I looked inward I am embarrassed to say it was often with a very critical spirit reminding myself of all the failures and the Goals from 2018 that I had not accomplished and glossed over the Goals I had accomplished. Looking over my journals entries in 2018 I saw so much hope and determination but what really stood out to me was God’s GRACE that has allowed me to see another day not to whine and complain about what went wrong! NOPE. I have to look UP. Up is where my help and hope are especially in the HARD.
- REFRESH– for me is time alone, no tv, no phone JUST ME to hear myself think, to be quiet so that I can hear God’s voice. I can talk myself out of this time by thinking about all I could be doing. This becomes a distraction for me if there are more “pressing” things that need to be done like household chores. Since I know this will hinder my refreshing I do all of the things around the house the days leading up to the time I have set aside to refresh so I can be fully present without distractions. I NEED time alone to recharge it is vital for me and everyone around me lol.
- RENEW- I like books as a source of renewal I prefer books that teach me something about God’s word, myself, marriage or to hone my skills in the things I enjoy. Learning is a great source of renewal for me each book is like a new journey!
- REMEMBER- If we don’t remember we miss out on the gift of thankfulness and gratitude. Until now I neglected to remember all of 2018 I wanted to forget everything that didn’t go well, everything that disappointed, all the poor decisions, all the missed opportunities. I can honestly say that even in the hard places where it felt like my heart was being ripped in tiny little pieces they were gifts. The hard places kept me on my knees ( a gift). The hard places humbled me (a gift). The hard places increased my dependence on God and others (a gift). The hard places didn’t kill me. The hard places helped me remember and appreciate all the GOOD times and to not waste the hard times, to learn the lesson, to encourage someone going through something similar, to grow!
I am grateful to see 2019 but I am now equally grateful for making it through 2018 just like the picture in this post there is so much beauty above and in the distance. Below there is a hard, bumpy, dark and barren terrain but there is also new life that has pushed through that is bright and green! This picture represents my 2018 and I know I am stronger because of it.
Do you take time to reflect, refresh, renew and remember? How do you prepare for the New Year?