Resolve to Persevere

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2024, can you believe it? I can’t. I still feel young and vibrant but the simple fact that in most of my conversations, I say “time really flies” negates how I feel and proves the fact that I am indeed getting older. However, with many years behind me and the several countdowns to midnight that I have shouted, although now, I’m asleep before I even see the clock strike twelve, I have learned a few things. One of them is that the end of the year rarely looks as how I imagine it will at the beginning of the year.

That is not due to resolutions that have failed. Hopes and dreams that have been deferred. Or goals that were set but not achieved. It looks different because my imagination begins to drift on January 1st. I imagine what I will do or who I will become by December 31st. I’m filled with excitement because I only imagine good things happening. For twelve months, I will only continue to grow in good and happy circumstances. My marriage will become stronger on vacation. I will become a better mother as I sweetly smile at my obedient two-year-old saying his first sentence, “That’s a great idea mommy, I would love to eat my vegetables.” I will clean my house and organize my closet in a movie montage moment with a great soundtrack and spontaneous dancing! I will grow closer to God in my cozy chair, warm and cuddly, thanking him for all the blessings he has brought this year.

Then comes January 2nd. Reality strikes and trouble arises. I’m ready. I’m steady. After all, it’s just one little bump in the road. I will be back to smooth sailing shortly. January 19th, is another bump. That’s okay. There are still eleven more months of greatness to come. It’s not long before the spiral begins. The prayers that say, “Jesus, this is not what this year was supposed to look like, what’s going on?” “Jesus, I don’t belong in this situation” “Jesus, why is my husband annoying me so much lately, what’s wrong with him?” “Jesus, why doesn’t my two-year-old like to hear the word “no” but likes to say it so much?” And “Why am I spending the free time I do have cleaning the closet, and not with you?”

But then, December 31st rolls around again and I reflect. Finally finding time in that chair, and now I see that, wow, yes, time flies, and yes, my marriage got stronger. But it didn’t happen on vacation, It was in the frustration and realization that it really wasn’t him, it was me! I did become a better mother, by remaining patient in the temper tantrums. And yes, I did organize my closet, but only to avoid the reality of what life really looked like and not how I imagined it to.

I’ll thank God for the trials in hindsight as I remember in a peaceful moment to consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Yes, perseverance! Phew, I’m glad that’s over. Thank you, Jesus, for the perseverance received this year… but next year…I’m going to grow in ease and grace, right?!

Uh oh…I have entered into insanity…spiritual insanity…doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. And then into my spiritual insane asylum…saying” Wait, Jesus, I don’t belong here!”…and then back to a contemplative appreciation for all God brought me
through. Sounds crazy. It is!

So, this year, let’s not be crazy Christians. Let’s enter this year to persevere! Let’s embrace the madness all around us and not tell Jesus that we don’t belong there. But rather, let’s look at him in each situation. Embrace where we are because it’s in that very place, we are becoming
more like him! It’s in that very place where he can continue to create the masterpiece of you and me by his own hand! And it’s in that very place we can humbly say, to you be the glory!!

Join me this year, at the start of 2024 welcoming the trials with joy that will test our faith, to build in us perseverance, the kind that glorifies God, all the while becoming more like our Savior as we live life with him and not just for him in our imaginations.