Well it is December! I can't believe the end of the the year is a few weeks away. I say that every year but each year seems to go quicker than the one before. If you're like me you may be reflecting on the past 11 months and taking inventory of what you did and did not do, if you reached your goals, and the personal gains or losses. For me, December is sometimes a very sobering and eye opening month. I always ask myself, did I keep the commitments I made to myself and to God.
This year had some highs and some deep valleys. Some of the valleys were dark, and casted a shadow on 2021 that felt insurmountable, like when we lost a dear family member at the tender age of 21. It rocked our family to the core, and was a reminder of the fragility of life. Emerging from the pandemic had it's own challenges, for myself and my now teenage daughter who returned to school as a sophomore after being at home since the end of 8th grade! Talk about adjustments! Not to mention my transition as I begin this journey of emancipation and loosening the reigns of parenting, so my teen can eventually evolve into a self sufficient young adult. Friend, I can't tell you how many times I have stumbled and failed at this new stage in momming! Another big whammy was the Single Moms of Faith Conference that I canceled due to a number of unfortunate factors, it left me feeling like I failed my speakers and attendees. Yes, 2021 threw its share of curve balls!
However, I would be remiss not to mention some of the peaks! We were able to travel, and did a 2 week trip to New Orleans and Savannah, where we indulged in beignets at the beautiful Ritz Hotel where we stayed and had a fabulous time. A small article I submitted is being published in a magazine at Focus on the Family in the upcoming months, which I am super excited about! I also tried my hand at some much needed home improvements, that turned out well, and on the financial front I saved $4,000 in my emergency savings! Oh, and I booked a trip to Portugal for a month in June! So, 2021 did have so me bright spots.
But, if I'm honest, this year I struggled with my old acquaintance... procrastination which always leads to self sabotage. For me this has meant another year of not getting in shape, not writing the book, not putting up the online course and basically not walking in what I believe is God's best for my life. This realization has made me sad, and most of all angry with myself! For the past couple days I threw myself a pity party and drank in self doubt, fear, and disappointment. But today, I opened the Bible and came across this scripture...
"Forget the former things, do not dwell in 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."
Don't you just love how God shows up exactly when you need Him to speak to your tender heart and runaway, weary mind? This scripture gave me a much needed reminder that God is always doing a new thing! He does not want us sitting around and dwelling in everything we did wrong, didn't do, or the things that didn't work out. He wants us to us keep our eyes on Him, and perceive the newness that springs up when we place our hope and our faith in His promises!
Maybe you have experienced a drought in the past year or in the last couple years you have been wandering through a desert, looking for those streams of living water to quench the thirst that comes in a dry season. Isaiah tell us that the Lord, our God will make a way. I so needed to read this, because friends there are days that I am lost, wandering and ready to just cry uncle! This is that reminder that there is another path, one that God is clearing specifically for us.
He will lead us out of that wasteland regardless of how it has piled up around us. He will make a way through the disappointments, the loss, the failures, the fears, the dead ends, the dashed dreams, the dead bones... all of it! In the middle of the crisis God will provide an abundant place for us because He is God our creator and with Him nothing is impossible or too messy. The Lord provides refreshment, after all He is the author of life, and it is He who breathes into our spirit and gives us life.
I think about Ruth and Naomi. Talk about a wasteland! They were surrounded by death, uncertainty, but through Ruth's obedience and faith God cleared a path that led to a blessing! They left their old town, not looking back, although I am sure that was difficult. But, they left the former things and walked the new path through the wasteland to a new thing thing that God had for them. Leaving the past behind us takes obedience and surrender to the Lord and His plan. Ruth not only found her kinsman redeemer, but played a role in God's plan of redemption!
He will do a new thing, it may not be the thing we desired, or had hoped for but it will be His best. If this year wasn't what you expected it is okay to make peace with it, to honor it for it's lessons, to mourn the losses, to give grace to yourself and others, to forgive, and to let go. Perceive what God can do, what can be restored, what needs to die, and the new things that can come through the daily blessings and mercies that God provides.
Don't allow the enemy to get a foothold! When we are wandering aimlessly through the wasteland that is when we are most vulnerable for spiritual attacks. We don't have to go through the wasteland weak, we can go through it with the power of God, walking with assurance that God has a purpose! This attitude defeats the enemy and foils his scheme to separate us from God and to plant seeds of negativity in our minds.
I don't know when God will bring you through your wasteland, but I do know this...that nothing God puts in our life is wasted. No valley is wasted and whatever you are going through will fit into his plan. With God everything is usable and for our use. Our trials refine us, deepen our faith, shape our character and teach us to persevere. Nothing my friend is wasted, maybe that is why James tells us to count our trials as great joy because through it comes spiritual maturity.
Refuse to enter 2022 stuck in the potholes of 2021! There is a way through the wasteland, and it comes from the Waymaker... God. I pray as you end the year that you perceive the goodness of the Lord, and that you look forward to the new things that fit the plan he has in store for you.