Goodbye Last Year; Hello This Year

The month is almost now over.

My father-in-law used to say that once you let January in, the year was nearly finished. Fresh starts weren’t really his thing.

I love them.

I need them. Never more than now.


This year is off to a less-than-perfect start. There is so. much. conflict. in my little world.

My hopes and my attempts to carve out peace have failed.

So far.


I was chatting with a precious friend who I adore. Life has gone off the rails for her, and jail is a real possibility.

“If they are going to send you to jail,” I said, “just go now and get it over with.”

It seemed so obvious as I was saying it, but then the words marinated. And the image of all the things I don’t just “face and get it over with” started soaking into my thoughts. The flavor of my life shifted.

So many emotional and practical jails surround me. Maybe they don’t have bars–and I could choose to walk out at any time–but that feeling of constriction that is my daily companion must be (by definition) more comfortable than change.

By definition, because I haven’t actually changed.


A week later I sit on that couch; the one which has welcomed me dozens and dozens of times. My hubby sits on the couch next to it because I have asked him to come along.

I tell my story about the friend and the jail and my epiphany. I say I need to start having some of the conversations I am afraid to have.

By the end of the session I am mad at both of them–my husband and my counselor–and I feel like change was a stupid hope.


But, God.


In doing the things I know to do–Bible Study, my prayer journal, sticky notes reminding me to pray–I am leaving room for God to move and working to notice.

There are often themes that chase me. The sermons at church will be similar to the Bible Study I chose, which will just happen to have the same topic as the book that person suggested.

All these years into the journey, I recognize it as the hand of God getting my attention.

Right now, that theme is the SPIRITUL BATTLE.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms–Ephesians 6:12

This changes how I pray. I pray for strength in the fight, and for endurance. I rebuke Satan and all his demons and ask, in Jesus’ name, they be removed from my life, and my family, and my home.

I ask boldly for victory in the spiritual realms I do not see. I ask for HIS MIGHTY HAND in battle.

And I remind myself over and over and over again that the victory is HIS. My job is obedience.


I notice tiny little green shoots in my front yard. Those seeds I spread weeks ago are actually producing blades of grass.

It doesn’t make my yard look better. In fact, the hodge-podge of green is emphasized. Baby grass here, weeds there, and mature lawn on the other side make for an odd combination.

None of that bothers me, however, because the new seeds grew new lawn. I just need to keep at it.

I tell myself the same thing is true in my life…I just need to keep at it.


In my life with God, a funny thing starts to happen…the seeds I once spread start to sprout.

What that actually looks like in my life is typically one of two things:

  • I “coincidentally” come across new information that I see clearly applies to a problem I am wrestling with. That information gives me tools to either help fix the situation or put it in perspective so that I am not emotionally combobulated by it. -OR-
  • I come up with an idea to address the situation. IF THAT IDEA IS FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S BENEFIT (AND NOT MINE), I ASSUME IT IS FROM THE LORD. I can come up with selfish strategies all on my own.

I devise a way to continue a contentious conversation that leads to a bit more understanding.

I think of a gift to buy that might bridge a gap in a relationship.

I see a spiritual truth that overwhelms a really sad and really hard situation, and I feel more peace.

I sit back down on the couch (the one that has welcomed me dozens and dozens of times), say that I am mad, and he smiles. “I don’t always get it right,” he says. And we keep talking…helping me to understand myself and God’s grace just a little bit better.