Happy New Year! Or is it?
This is the time of the year I love the most. I naturally mull over the events of 2017 as it comes to a close. Time spent in reflection over ALL that God has done.
It wasn’t always the pleasant experience it is now. For many years, I wouldn’t ponder so much as I would “stew” at the close of the year. I would fret over what hadn’t happened that I wanted or what happened that I didn’t want. The close of the year brought negative reflections filled with regrets, worry, bitterness, sadness…..
This naturally rolled the new year in with fear over what else may go wrong. One month of anxiety piling onto another, one year into the next. It was a negative cycle that I couldn’t seem to break out of until a few years ago.
As a recovering perfectionist and a mother, I was becoming consumed with what was WRONG. It seemed like I would overlook all that was good and right about our lives while honing in on anything faulty. I lived in angst over the NEXT BAD THING coming our way.
Finally, God showed me the way to break this cycle of negativity. He quietly showed me a practice to take up without me ever realizing the potential of its significance in my battle for joy. It isn’t an overreach to say that it changed me from the inside out.
I began to keep a gratitude journal. It was how I started my time with the Lord each morning. Drinking my coffee, I would ponder what God had done for me the previous day, what was good and right in our lives, as I had learned from Philippians 4:8-9 MSG
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Gradually, over time, this had profound results not only in my day but for my year. The natural progression happened as I ended one year and contemplated the next. No longer did I worry but rather, I celebrated!
As I reflected on the memories of the year, I wasn’t focusing on the negative events but the POSITIVE! My mourning had turned into dancing!
Time To Celebrate!
So as I ponder 2017, I see two things stand out like never before in my life. This year has brought both challenges and opportunities.( God is so good to me when He “connects the dots” to show me when two things have a relationship. For example, for every challenge, there is an equal opportunity that exists.)
Some of my biggest challenges this year brought about struggle and pain but that isn’t all. Jesus showed me how they also brought about my freedom from some life-long weaknesses such as fear, over-responsibility, and people-pleasing. This made me extra sensitive to shame, manipulation, control, condemnation, accusations, etc.
Through the challenges, I finally learned how to break free from these strongholds. If things had not grown worse in some ways, I never would have learned the freedom Christ intended for me all along! (Romans 8:1 For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.)
So as this year comes to a close, I celebrate the freedom that this year has afforded me. But that’s not all I have to celebrate. Just as God graciously connects the dots for me, He showed me how this new-found freedom in Christ directly reflects upon His faithfulness. Every blessing is a testimony of the faithfulness of a Loving Heavenly Father.
So for every challenge that existed in 2017, there was opportunity granted for my freedom resulting from God’s faithfulness.My Challenge + His Grace = My Freedom Magnifying His Faithfulness Click To Tweet
This is how our response to last year can fuel our joy for the new year! When we reflect on the Goodness of God over the last 12 months, our faith is full of confidence in what God will do next year. I have never before felt to this depth the utter joy that bubbles up when face to face with God’s faithfulness. It is like now my eyes are open to HOW MUCH, HOW OFTEN, God is faithful!
What’s New For The New Year
As I count my blessings from 2017, there are a few that impact you, my readers. First, I am so excited to announce my first book is now available on Amazon! Here is the description-
“Do you know what has the power to strengthen your perseverance? Perspective! It is fuel for perseverance, greatly influencing our stamina.
So, if you are weary or overwhelmed, then join me for 14 days of devotions. You will find a new perspective that can make all the difference! I have found that God can do great things IN us even as we wait for Him to do great things FOR us. Seeking His wisdom and perspective opens us up to more than just the rescue desperately needed.
Truly, our entire perspective of what concerns us can be changed in an instant. Our greatest need can actually become secondary. What we may see as a problem, God sees as His purpose for bringing about our freedom. He patiently enables us to respond differently to what we find so unbearable.
What used to hinder our perseverance can be cast aside as we learn from Christ how to process our pain. Through Him, we can find our means of strength and joy for the journey.”
I hope you find the lessons described in this book as life-changing as I did! You can go to Gretchenfleming.com and click the book cover to link over to Amazon for ordering. It is a great way to start the new year with a renewed faith full of strength and courage.
Secondly, two of our three children became engaged during the holidays! Yes, the Fleming family will have two weddings next year within three months of each other. Woot Woot!!
Needless to say, I will need to be flexible and available for all the memories in the making. I desire to stay active in ministry but will need to adjust when needed. Where I have been able to post consistently twice a week in the last two years, there may be weeks this year where I only post once or not at all.
I desire to be fully present for my children, not multi-tasking with my own goals which I am prone to do, so I appreciate your prayer, patience, and support these next 12 months. One wedding will be in the fall and one during the holidays.
Happy New Year my friends! May it be your best year!
Celebrating His Goodness with you,