how’s your January going?

It’s the last day of the month, a month of new. Resolutions that fuel the libraries and gyms and health-food aisles of the grocery store. Resolutions that promise Life and that *this* will be the change, and *this year* will be the one when I’m that best version of myself, and change the world and my life and my waistline and my soul. And every year, I am right there in the mix of the resolutions, the promises to myself and to God and to my journal pages that I will be more, and better. I love the promise inherent in a new year, and I’ve written about that before.

But what about all of the unexpected hurdles and broken dreams that are going to be part of this year, too? Our pastor said that no one ever makes suffering part of the “resolution/goals” for the new year, and he wisely warned that suffering will be part of this year, even this new decade full of promises and clear vision. And already, this has been true. There are two young mom-friends battling cancer. My daughter got a concussion (!), which scared me to death. Other friends and family are carrying heavy burdens, and I hurt with them and want to take the burdens away. I’m recovering from a bout of severe depression, crawling back into the light of hope, but it’s not been easy.

Yet still, I want to think that my January resolutions can save me, can help re-create me. And they can’t. A resolution alone isn’t enough. So when I ask, how’s your January going? I am actually wanting to offer hope, that no matter how it’s going or how it went, that every day can be new because of new mercies. That’s the promise smack dab in the middle of the saddest book of the Bible – that mercies are new every morning, not just every January. So take hope, my friends, that whatever you are carrying, whatever resolutions you’ve failed, whatever “old” has crept into this “new year/new decade/new you,” that there are mercies that are still new every morning. Find real hope and real life in these promises:

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never case.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. …

The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. …

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion, because of the greatness of his unfailing love.

Lamentations 3:21-23, 25, 31-32 – New Living Translation

First post of 2014

Oh, the pressure! It’s the first post of a new year. Granted, this “new” year is about a week old – but nonetheless, it’s my first 2014 blog post. Do I reflect on the year past, make grand resolutions for the year ahead? Do I give advice to myself and you about what I learned, and what I hope not to repeat in 2014?

Or do I share my favorite links with you of new year’s posts? Ones who have written so eloquently that I fear I have nothing to add. Like my friend Rachel, post “this year, I resolve nothing” whose words resonate so much with me, the one who has tended to make too many resolutions based on the foundation of too much trust in self-power to complete them, with the result of February disappointment as I feel like a failure based on my own standards. What a very long sentence – hope you didn’t get lost there!

Another beautiful post about the importance of soaking in beauty to be truly beautiful v. pretty – Glennon’s “don’t be pretty – be beautiful in 2014” says it SO well.

Why the disappointment? For one reason, it’s because too often as a mom of littles-still-at-home, there are not many “measurable goals” I can complete. Enter Lisa-Jo’s beautiful post that is making its rounds among fellow mom friends – asking the question, “how do you measure a year in the life of a mom?” 

And then there’s just a few helpful tidbits I wanted to learn about this year, like 12 ways to tie a scarf (I’m so stuck in my scarf habit!), how to interact with the introverted (my dear husband, e.g.), how to raise a kid who isn’t whiny and annoying, and my personal favorite to start trying soon: freezer crockpot recipes (really? could it get any easier than that – combining the ease and convenience of freezer + crockpot = genius).

For now, I’ll leave any 2013 reflections to my blog archives, and any resolutions to a future post. I think this picture pretty well sums up what I want 2014 to hold for me – growth in relationships with these, my three favorite people ever: