Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Reflections--2013

I have struggled to celebrate the new year.

The past year, 2012, was a hard year. Not the first hard year and sadly, not the last.

The holidays were also hard this year, because of the death of my father-in-law. I have learned that you can never prepare yourself for the devastation of losing a parent.

Christmas distracted me from grieving for him, and his death distracted me from Christmas. It all seemed wrong. Mostly just sad. The blizzard on the day of his funeral was like another kick in the pants--one more distraction that took our thoughts and energy captive.

Last week, the thought of 2013 made me tired. Usually a new year is energizing and filled with optimism and hope. I usually love fresh starts. I have always liked Mondays. I have not had a good feeling about my attitude toward the new year and my negative attitude about the previous year.

The past few days have offered a quiet beginning to 2013, and it has been good. The quiet has allowed me time to ponder things and refresh my weary soul. I am beginning to feel a stirring within me that maybe 2013 will be ok. The fear of "what if 2013 is not ok" is starting to wane.

I thought I would pass on some of the things that have helped me these last few days, in case someone else is also struggling.

The book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
I bought this book when it was released in February 2011. I started reading it and never got past the first two chapters. This week it is just what I need, and the words are soaking into my soul like rain on dry land. It has helped me turn my focus from negative things to everyday blessings.

I read through my journal of inspiring scripture and quotes. I have written "special things" in it for the past few years. I really needed this one and it ties in so well with the message of One Thousand Gifts.
"The unthankful heart...discovers no mercies. But let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings." --Henry Ward Beecher

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

My Bible Study Fellowship lesson today focused on the Lord being our shield.
These verses are very comforting in a time when I feel vulnerable to pain and hurt.

Psalm 3:3
You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 119:114
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Thank you, Jesus, for being hope and light in a dark world. Help me bring the hope of You to others who need to know. I pray that you will use me and change me to be more like You in 2013 and that I can be transformed by being thankful.

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