Monday, January 14, 2013

The New Year begins...

Happy New Year!!!
It’s the start of a new week, a new year.  We have a clean slate, a chance to begin anew, a chance to look ahead…and view with excitement the opportunities that lie before us…and view with some measure of dread the unknowns…
Yes, the unknowns.  I know that in all lives, some trouble will fall, but in the lives of some of the dear hearts reading this post, the past year has held much trouble, much heartache, and much sorrow. You have been beaten up emotionally and you wonder if healing will ever come.  Or your heart aches from a loss that has taken your breath away…for weeks or months…And maybe you enter this new year with much trepidation.  Maybe you lack the energy to face the prospect of the long days stretching before you.
Friend, take heart.  God is NOT dead!  God has NOT abandoned you!  He still loves and is wildly crazy about you! 
Someone asked recently in a Facebook post for some feedback on how others faced life disappointments such as unwanted singleness, a young parent with life-threatening cancer, or a frustrating outcome in one's career.  Many good answers were posted, too many to share here, but I typed the following thoughts (now edited) as my first response:
“I believe God allows us to experience some disappointing situations to keep us looking to Him – for if we were happy here, what gain would heaven be to us? Why would we want to keep striving toward that goal? God wants to be the answer to our every need, and we as humans don’t automatically see our need for Him when left on our own.”
I am no theologian.  I don’t claim any special wisdom.  But I will say I speak from some experience.  I am in the process of learning this lesson.  It has been a long, hard journey so far, and it’s not over.  Experiencing the life changes that come with a loved one battling cancer has caused major perspective adjustments, to say the least.
One of the major life lessons God has been so patiently urging me to learn is this lesson that HE wants to be THE answer for my every need. He longs for me to look to Him for strength for every minute of every hour.  He wants me to take my hurting heart to Him…to share those deep emotional needs with Him and allow His balm of mercy and grace to sooth and comfort like no human can.  He alone can fill the hole in my heart that I often look to others to fill.  My husband is not capable of filling this need…my children don’t want to even try…my best friends may feel too much pressure from me and may back away if I become too dependent on them.
Friends, look up!  God is ever ready to meet our needs, to hold us up when we feel unsteady, to bring us joy when all we feel is despair! 
But we have to let Him.
Are you facing the new year with some trepidation? Has the past year been something more difficult than you had bargained for?  Are there unknowns ahead that have your gut twisting and your heart pounding?  If not, this new year is wide open – full of opportunities for you to touch lives for Christ and make memories to last a life-time.  If so, what about taking the following Scriptures and songs to heart? Meditate on them, listen to and worship with them…and let the love, grace, strength, and soothing balm of the presence of the Holy Spirit fill the hurt places and calm the troubled waters of your soul.  Release the regrets of the past to His forgiveness, the stresses of the day into His capable hands, and the unknowns of the future into His almighty wisdom.  Rest, be renewed, and re-energized…for this new year is a chance!  A chance to experience God in new ways…a chance to learn just how much He cares for you…a chance to trust and see that trust rewarded with new levels of grace and strength for every new trial…
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.  The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.  The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.  The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Psalm 145: 8, 9, 14, 18
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22
 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Isaiah 43:2
What a Precious Friend Is He   Lyrics   Listen
Great is Thy Faithfulness  Lyrics  Listen
He Giveth More Strength Lyrics Listen
(notice the little-known third's a favorite of mine!)
I’m Gonna Make It  Listen
Dear hearts, be encouraged!  God has your very best in mind…He loves you so much!  He wants you to be heavenly minded and Him-focused….relaxed and refreshed by trusting fully in His control…joyful and serene because you have experienced His care…
Maybe you'd like to share a promise you are claiming for 2013!  We'd love to hear from you!

Remembering that "life isn't fair, but God is faithful,"



  1. My hubby sent a couple of things my way this morning that go right along with the thoughts about God allowing us to face disappointments in life in order to draw us closer to Him. The first was this devotional thought from the Life Application Study Bible.
    John 9:2-3

    "A common belief in Jewish culture was that calamity or suffering was the result of some great sin. But Christ used this man's suffering to teach about faith and to glorify God. We live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior not always punished. Therefore, innocent people sometimes suffer. If God took suffering away whenever we asked, we would follow him for comfort and convenience, not out of love and devotion. Regardless of the reasons for our suffering, Jesus has the power to help us deal with it. When you suffer from a disease, tragedy, or disability, try not to ask, 'Why did this happen to me?' or 'What did I do wrong?' Instead, ask God to give you strength for the trial and a clearer perspective on what is happening."

    The second thing he sent was this I've never heard or read before, but so appropriate.

    'Til They Rest in You

    Comes an honest moment when
    Each heart looks inside,
    Finding nothing here on earth
    Truly satisfies.
    Some choose to ignore the ache,
    Some confess it's true.
    God, our hearts will have no peace
    'Til they rest in You.

    We yearn, we thirst,
    We stumble in the dark, discontent,
    For You've set eternity within each heart.

    Ev'ry pleasure, ev'ry thrill,
    Never is enough.
    Ev'ry trophy, even gold,
    Simply turns to dust.
    Most still search to find real joy,
    Yet they never do.
    God, our hearts will have no peace
    'Til they rest in You.

    We yearn, we thirst,
    We stumble in the dark, discontent,
    For You've set eternity within each heart.

    Thank You for my desp'rate days,
    Feeling incomplete.
    Thank You for Your loving ways,
    Leading me to see
    Jesus, You are all I need,
    Nothing else will do.
    God, our hearts will have no peace
    'Til they rest in You.

    We yearn, we thirst,
    We stumble in the dark, discontent,
    For You've set eternity within each heart.

    Jesus, You are all I need,
    Nothing else will do.
    God, our hearts will have no peace
    'Til they rest in You.

    'Til They Rest in You; Words and Music by Scott Krippayne and Tony Wood; Arr. And Orch. By Philip Keveren; (c)2010 Pirk Music (BMI)/Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Songs From Exit 71 (ASCAP)

    Okay. I'm done now. Really. =)

  2. Very well written sweetheart. I'm amazed at how much God helps us when we cast all of our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). The past almost three years of my life have been the very hardest, and yet I can say the very best because I have drawn closer to God and seen Him work in some very amazing ways. I'm thankful that you and our four children have been privileged to see God at work in our lives. --Michael

  3. Shawna, you and Michael are an encouragement and an inspiration to many.
    Thank you, Shawna, for another beautiful reminder that every moment is a gift that should never be wasted.
    God bless you both!