Friday, January 4, 2019

Lessons I Want to Take Into the New Year

I love this quote from one of my favorite stories, Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it." Anne's schoolteacher reminds her of this truth to which Anne determinedly repeats her teacher's words. The older woman, Miss Stacey, then adds a word at the end of her previous quote--" no mistakes in it yet." 

I found myself at the beginning of this year reflecting on some of the truths that the Lord has been teaching me over the past year and looking forward into the future with both hope and trepidation. As Gandalf tells Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the Road and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." 

I've been contemplating some heavy things this past year, and have been reflecting upon how the Lord would have me step into the future with Him. I am closer to 40 this year than I was last year (I recently turned 36) and I want my life to count for something. But not for myself--for Him. Otherwise it is a wasted life--I read this quote in our church bulletin this past week--

Only one life; twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last.

I listened to a Fox newscaster interview several individuals on New Year's Eve and ask them what lessons they took away from the past year. The responses actually saddened me, as I realized afresh how lost and dying this world that we live in truly is without Jesus Christ. The theme that reverberated through most people's answers was, "I want to love myself more, appreciate myself, forgive myself." Without Christ, the focus and direction of our lives is turned upon ourselves--and what a sad place that is to end! 

Christ Jesus turns our direction and focus outward--toward Him--and then applies that knowledge of Himself to every area of our lives--the inward parts and then also in our dealings with fellow men. 

Perhaps this year, the Lord will use our lives to point other lives to Himself--to change the sad, inward focus of mankind and to offer the hope and joy of salvation to a lost and dying humanity. 

With those things in mind, these are some of the lessons that the Lord has been impressing upon my heart and spirit as He daily weans me away from being self-focused to becoming more formed to the image of His Son. It is truly a daily process for all of us, because we are just so human!! But I pray that these things may be more formed in me this year and I pray them also for you dear friends--

Lessons I Want to Take Into the New Year~~

Letting Go~ This has been an important one for me over the past year. Learning to surrender in the little and big areas of my life continues to be a daily decision and oftentimes a battle. Many times, we don't even realize how tightly we are holding on to something that the Lord wants us to let go of, to relinquish. Sometimes the "messiness" of life overtakes us and we need to fall upon our knees before our loving Father and cry out to Him for help and guidance and direction. Something that I feel very strongly about is that we don't need to embrace the "mess," but allow our Father to take the mess and to transform it into something of beauty and order and peace in our lives, whatever our situation--

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

When we learn to let go of our own plans and perceptions and self-focus, Christ exchanges these things for the joy that is life-giving and that brings order and peace and strength into our lives that would otherwise be chaotic and restricting in terms of our ability to be used for Him. 

Pressing On~ This is another area that I sense the Lord is continually placing before me. With my children, in areas of discipline and obedience in my life, in terms of embracing wholeheartedly what He has called me to do, and with making sure that the focus of my life continually is Christ and Him crucified--these are the areas that I need to press on in my daily walk with the Savior who poured out His life for me. 

Decreasing~ This has been a huge lesson that I've been confronted with and that each of us is confronted with on a daily basis as followers of Christ. This lesson hit home to me in a very real way this year when I knew that the Lord wanted me to give something up that I desired fervently. The Lord spoke to me specifically through this verse as I relinquished a dear hope into His hands. He fulfills the desires of our hearts, but at times, He also teaches us that something that we desire (even a very good thing) may not be His will for us individually and specifically. We see this in David's life when he desired a good thing--to build a temple for the Lord--but it was not for him to do. (II Samuel 7:1-17) The letting go is painful and hard, but the blossom is glorious and sweet and brings honor to the One who is Greater. 

Bringing Glory to Christ~This is the final lesson that I want to bring into the New Year. It is so easy to get caught up in the trivial, in the worries and cares of this life, that our focus can shift from the Glorious to the superficial and empty. When we keep our focus upon Christ and His glory, sincerely, not just in word but from the heart, we honor Him. And those who honor Him, He will honor. It is my heart's prayer and desire to hear those precious words at the end of my life--"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Matthew 24:21) May this be the prayer of each of our hearts! 

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—
The fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
~Anne R. Cousin


Dear Friends, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite each of you to a Facebook group that I've started! I've recently begun selling Lilla Rose hair accessories and would love for anyone to join this group on Facebook if you are interested in learning more about Lilla Rose or already appreciate their pretty, feminine hair accessories. Each and every one of you is welcome. Just follow the link below and request to be added and I will add you. :-) 

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You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word


  1. What beautiful insights, Rebekah! The word "decreasing" really resonates with me. This is both challenging and encouraging! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Beautiful thoughts for a new year. I've appreciated your wisdom and words here!

  3. You've shared some of my most favourite quotes, including the verse from one of my most favourite hymns.

  4. These are great lessons to take into a new year! Focusing more on Jesus and glorifying him is something I want to do too!

  5. Thank you for making me think about what I hold on to--all too often I have a hard time letting go.

  6. These sound like great lessons for the new Year. I was just thinking about Letting go today as I didn't really feel like I had a word for the year. I've participated the last few years and it's been good, but I felt God calling me to let go.

  7. I share your feelings about "embracing the mess," Rebekah ... that's phrase that has always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. You've touched on several themes that have been prominent in my life over the years ... many blessings to you as you watch and wait to see how God uses them in your life in 2019!

  8. Excellent thoughts on how to grow and thrive in the new year, Rebekah. I'm doing the same and enjoying a little accountability with a friend as we create our vision boards for 2019. It is such a wonderful time to reset and refresh. Happy New Year!

  9. The new year is a wonderful time to think about fresh beginnings. No mistakes, no disappointments, a clean slate. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

  10. Beautiful thoughts to carry into the new year! Thank you for sharing and for linking up with us at Woman to Woman! God bless! ♥

  11. What wonderful things to focus on, Rebekah! I have chosen your post as my Grace & Truth feature this week. Please stop by my site tomorrow to get the "I Was Featured" button for your post!