It’s a New Year – Be Gentle To Yourself And War On!

‘”I hope you never know how fragile you are, Isabelle.”  “I’m not fragile,” she said. The smile he gave her was barely one at all. “We are all fragile, Isabelle. It’s the thing we learn in war.”‘ Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale.

A lot of pressure rests on the fresh clean slate of a new year. If we aren’t careful, we can lay burdens on this new calendar disguised as hopes, dreams, and goals.

Some of us limped into this new year, while others burst through with zeal and energy. Some soared high almost until the end when news came that brought them to a crashing halt. Still others rang in the New Year with a sense of accomplishment, achievement, satisfaction, or renewed hope.

Most of us can identify with each of these depending on the year on which we look back.

Some New Years have been glorious. Others not so.

Either way we can enter January with hopes so high for a new start that we begin to handle ourselves quite harshly. We forget our souls are fragile and must be handled with care.

Life is war, even when life is in a season of ease. We live in a spiritual world at battle, and we are major players.

Recognizing this helps us to take care of ourselves so we can war on effectively.

Each January 1, My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers reignites my passion to war on with fearless courage.

This year my hope is to war on with fearless courage, while handling my soul with gentle care.

A prayer for the New Year

Lord, we thank You for a new year, a new day. We thank you that Your Word reminds us we don’t have to wait an entire 365 days to start over again. Each breath we take is a new start. If we’ve messed up, may we not walk in shame and guilt. Instead may we confess to You, be cleansed, breathe in a new breath, and receive the fresh start You offer.

Lord, Your steadfast love never ceases, Your mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

We release to You our desires, dreams, hopes, and goals. We ask You to guide us with wisdom.

We release to You our pains, hurts, failures, and fears from this last year. May they not haunt us. Rather, may they be the very things that turn us into Your waiting arms. May we allow ourselves to be fragile in You, tender in Your care. Nurture us and may we allow ourselves to be cared for.

For this New Year, may we learn to see You in new ways.

When the world around us seems too much to bear, may we remember who You are. When the world around us seems almost perfect, may we not forget we still need You.

Let this be a year we accept our fragile soul as You’ve made it, and care for it well in Your Presence.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Before You Rush Away From One Year Into Another


“Mommy, will you read to me?”

I picked up the dish towel to dry my hands and turned to him, “Sure, what you would like me to read?”

He held up his adult-sized Bible, proudly held in his new Bible cover. The boy loves God’s Word. His favorite Bible is not His children’s Bibles. It’s the one that is large, with small print, and leather cover. He takes it with him most places he goes. He sleeps with it like a child sleeps with a special blanket or teddy bear.

I sat in the leather recliner. He nestled up next to me. The older boys wandered into the room and took their places on the sofas. The dogs found a resting spot among lounging children.

God’s Word draws His children.

I opened up the Bible to read wherever it fell open. Ephesians 6.

I began to read, “Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother…”

He placed is hand over the words I read, “Not this one, Mommy.”

I suppressed my smile. Of course, he didn’t want to read this one. It’s a tough reminder he’d rather bypass many days.

“What would you like me to read?”

“The whole story of Jericho.”

I flipped back to the book of Joshua. Sometimes when I read to Andrew from a story Bible, he questions if it’s God’s Word because too many details are left out. I’ve explained that to keep the attention of children and highlight the main point, many details must be left out. He doesn’t understand this because he can sit and listen to God’s Word and never lose interest. Same here. There’s never been a story like it.

Andrew sees what many adults fail to see. The Bible as the greatest story ever told. One big amazing story of drama, intrigue, love, war, sacrifice. How could anyone lose interest?

I read all of Joshua 3-5.

Now, I have read this story I have no idea how many times. Again, I found myself blown away by God’s Word. The boys listened with rapt attention. I’d get to a point, look up at their eyes, and we would all begin to discuss in excitement what God was doing. We were making comparisons to what God said to Moses and what He said to Joshua. How He split the Red Sea to deliver them from Egypt and how He split the waters of the Jordan to deliver them into the Promised Land. On the front and back God parted the way. He went before and behind them. How He gave them manna in the wilderness and how the very day they ate of the food from the Promised Land the manna stopped. Amazing. God is unfathomable.

When I read His Word I crave more. And more. And more. I can’t get enough.

After we read the entire story of Jericho, the boys and I discussed the intricacies of the story. Only God can make a story like this.

Here’s the part that really struck me yesterday. God instructed the Israelites to take 12 stones from the Jordan where they crossed on dry ground, one for each tribe. With the 12 stones, Joshua built a memorial and told the people that from that point on, the people were to tell their children what those stones represented, what the Lord had done.

Joshua 4:24 “This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the LORD your God.”

Memorial stones that tell a story of God’s mighty hand. Tell your children.

Today concludes 2015, but let’s not be so quick to forget as we forge into 2016. No matter what 2015 held, God never stopped showing His mighty hand. May we set up our memorial stones for 2015. Remind ourselves of the great things the Lord has done. Tell our children. Never stop telling what the Lord has done.

The Lord has done great things. As we turn the page on 2015, closing a chapter to reveal the next, may we keep those memorial stones in sight. Never ceasing to praise God for what He’s done from the beginning of time and looking forward to what’s to come.

Happy New Year.