08 Jan Beginning the New Year with Reflection
Happy New Year ladies! My husband and I like to begin our projected New Year’s resolutions in December. That way, we can try them on for size to see if we love them or hate them before January. Beginning New Year’s resolutions in December also gives you momentum for making difficult changes, so by January you might even feel pretty good about yourself. It’s nice to have a soft-start month where if you fail a few times or need to tweak a few things, you don’t feel like you’re breaking your resolutions right from the start.
This year, I’m 8 ½ months pregnant, we’re buying a home, we’re moving for the second time in 6 weeks, and I’m recovering from the worst cold I’ve had in a decade. Last week, my resolution list for 2018 looked something like this, “(1.) Survive. (Attempt survival in a joyful manner.) (2.) Try very, very hard not to yell at husband or toddler or strangers.
Our life is nuts right now, but there is one thing that the Lord has prompted me to do as we enter the new year—make a memorial stone to his faithfulness. A few weeks ago, a trusted family member sent me a word document with all the words of encouragement, prophecy, and Scripture he had received from the Lord for us after we had asked him to pray specifically for our new home. Over the course of a week, I reread this document several times, and was greatly encouraged by the practice.
I began thinking of the decade’s worth of journals I had tucked away in the garage and how handy it would be if all the words of encouragement, prophecies spoken over me, and Scriptures given to me over the years were in one place. Thus, my 2018 kickoff project was born. It’s been both illuminating and hilarious to comb through these old journals—the angst of a post-college breakup! The loneliness of a semester abroad in Jerusalem! The hilarity of my “work experience” on my 2007 never-had-a-real-job-but-trying-to-fill-a-page resume! Seriously, everyone should journal regularly just for the sheer joy of looking back on it ten years later.
All humorous early-twenties angst aside, it’s so important to take time to remember God’s faithfulness and to remind yourself of what he’s already accomplished on your behalf. God emphasizes this concept of remembering his faithfulness over and over in Scripture, perhaps most dramatically in Joshua 4:
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’ And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”[c]
As we settle in to 2018, I encourage you to look back through your old journals and begin writing the story of God’s faithfulness to you. Consider creating your own memorial stone project, recording his specific answer to prayers and the Scriptures or words of encouragement that have been given to you. Not only will you marvel at God’s faithfulness, you’ll be strengthened to press in and seek his face for your current challenges with a believing heart. If you’re not a big journaling person, 2018 could be your year to begin recording your spiritual memorial stones. Enjoy!