Hope for the New Year

stargazer lilies

“For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”  Habakkuk 1:5b

How do you start the new year with hope when life is so hard?  If it’s your first new year without your husband, the future may seem desperately bleak and uncertain.  If it’s not, you may just find yourself tired, cynical, and exhausted by life.  My life certainly is more chaotic than ever before as I try to perform my same duties as before coupled with things Trevor used to do like running boys to practices and paying the bills and servicing the Suburban.  Some days I still feel overwhelmed by the amount of things on my to do list.  I never get to it all.  Some days, I may get my meals for next week planned and a grocery order put in, but my house is an absolute wreck.  You know, like a tornado of toys and socks and shoes came through.  Other days, my house may be sort of put in order, but I’m not quite certain when my 9-year-old last took a shower or if he actually did his spelling words that day.

One solution is getting my kids to do more chores, which they definitely do.  I am just honest with them about my exhaustion as a single mom and that I need them to help more.  I also choose to let stuff go; I have to or I’ll go crazy.  Some days, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  As you continue to wrestle with God and ask him questions and spend time in prayer and in His word, he will help you.  Sometimes, it seems like God is hopelessly silent or that he’s not seeing you in your pain, but eventually, you will be able to look back and say, “Wow.  I’m still at the bottom of the mountain, but he’s helped me climb out of the valley.”  Sure, there are some days when you find yourself back in the pit, but it doesn’t take as long to climb out anymore.  You know that there’s green on that mountain, and that the sun’s shining somewhere.  You just have to keep on hiking to get there.  You also know that the Lord is faithful and will help you.  It doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Far from it.  But through all this pain and loss and grief and uncertainty, God will show up.  You will end up missing a lot, but you also will have gained a stronger, deeper faith and understanding of who God is.  After all, that’s the goal of this life – not to be happy all the time or to have a comfortable life but to grow more like Christ each day.

When you look around and your life seems so much harder than your friends’ or family’s, remember what James 1 says.  Our trials are producing something in us so that we’re lacking in nothing.  When we walk through a storm like we have, try to think of what amazing things God must be doing in our lives and how much richer we will be as women because of it.  We just have to trust him in the meantime.

This new year, don’t look at the obstacles around you; look at the Lord that is still on his throne and know that he has a plan for you.  He’s doing something great and someday, we will be able to look back and say, “Let [us] thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”  Psalm 107:8-9

 

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

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