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New Year New You

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I don’t know what it is about a New Year starting, but it just feels like when those four digits switch from one year to the next, that I am given the right to leave whatever I did not like in the prior year and start things I do like in the new year.

It is crazy. In November, Thanksgiving is like the kick off for the family holidays. From that moment, all the way up to December 25, we spend planning grand events with family to make memories for years to come. Then immediately, the day after Christmas I wake up thinking about the New Year.

My mind immediate races with thoughts on what I want the New Year to hold for me personally. I donmental clutter stress overload overwhelm’t know about y’all but I am like a kid in the candy store with my ideas. As my ideas are fed by the sugar from the candy store I walk outside and go to the amusement park. At the amusement park my ideas jump on rides going all over the place.

I have a billion ideas running through my mind, okay maybe not a billion, I start to feel a little pressured due to time. I mean I have less than a week to get a plan in place to make these ideas reality.

By January 1 those ideas are usually not written down and surely not planned out.

How many of you do this? The excitement of the New Year has you busting at the seams. It makes you feel like you are going to be able to accomplish any and everything that you think of.

This year in this chaotic New Year mind game I do every year I caught myself. I had to ask myself, “Wendy, how many of those ideas are you really going to accomplish?” “How many of those are ideas towards the big goal you have?” “How many of those goals are just to say you did it?” But the one question that I asked myself that was the most important question was, “Wendy, how many of those ideas are part of God’s plan for your life?”

I could not answer.

a239715e10c34e3df5313612c16cb8f8--challenge-group-saving-moneySo here I am taking the month of January to seek after what God is saying He has for me and my family in 2018 so we can go after it with all our heart.

As I reflect in my own life, usually the goals I make for a new year that do not become reality are because they are not the ones God has for me. Instead of accomplishing just a couple of goals, I accomplished none of the goals. I am too busy chasing after all these other goals and trying to take on more than I can handle.

See when getting rid of the old and walking into the new it is easy to talk about. It is easy to even start. But to actually carry out what God has said He wants from you takes commitment. A commitment that requires discipline. Rejection. Missing out hanging with others because God is trying to work something new in you that takes your time to make the goals attained.

Truthfully, I knew what God wanted but fear held me back and all the other ideas that came were intriguing to pull me away from what I really wanted.

However, this year I have decided I will no longer chase after all the ideas that keep me running in circles that lead to nowhere. This year I am facing the fear and dread I have and going after what God has said to do.

Maybe you are someone that makes goals every year but they never happen. Then I ask you join this journey with us as we encourage and support one another to get us to our heart desires.

If you said YES then get your running shoes out, lace them up, tie a double knot, and get ready to chase after what you have dreamed of for years in 2018.

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Our first mission on this race is to take the time to open up so others know what they are going through there is someone else out there going through it to. So take a minute to answer just one question and response to one other person.

I can’t wait to read your responses.

  1. What is one New Year goal you really want to attain?
  1. How many of your New Year goals become reality?
  1. At the end of the year does it make you said that you did not accomplish what you set out to do in the beginning of the New Year?
Comfort

The Stray Dog

Location can produce many adventures. When you live on a road where the rolling acres are filled up with woods, and ownership is under five, one of the prominent stories you will come across is stray dogs.

Stray dogs are not an unusual word where we live. All breeds types show up in abundance. A considerable number of them are Pit Bulls we scare off because they turn up from sectors that train them to fight. The other ones are various kinds that the owners decided it was time to give up on them.  Occasionally, one steals our heart and we take them in as our very own.

Over, the last twelve months our dog count of five went down to two. My kids itched for a new dog because having too many dogs is all they remember. Secretly, I wanted a new dog as well. We chatted about it. Researched various dogs. But we were not willing to start that commitment.

One day, daydreaming, the thought that we would have a little canine, a toy like dog, came to mind. My response, “NOOOOO!” Not a dog that small.

Then one Sunday after church, as I was pulling into park, I noticed down the driveway a little black and brown thing walking along with its head down.  I got out of my car curious about what was this moving object. As I got near that dream of a dog was within several feet of me becoming actuality. The dog rushed towards me like I was her master. I picked her up, came inside, took a snapshot, and started reaching out seeing who would give a home to this adorable dog. The kids were gone so surely this would proceed smoothly, I was confident of it. But as I sat down with the dog my heart melted and I texted my children an image. One of the biggest mistakes I made. The feedback was automatic on keeping her. As you probably gathered the dog never found a new family after us.

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In the beginning, thoughts of offering the dog a home was not optional. She took too much of my time. I had to walk her so the gigantic birds flapping around outside did not make her a feast. Although fondness grows with time. The kids fell in love right away. They never had a dog this small. My mom was a little uncertain. My step dad’s masculinity did not desire to acknowledge that he liked the small dog.

However, this summer personal illness has affected our family. It has taken a toll on every one of our emotions. No longer is she a stray that turned up, and we all fell in love with.

The style of our home is an 100-year-old wood farm house built into a duplex. My mom and step dad live on one part and the kids and I live on the other. With illness being cared for apart from home my mom and step dad are not here. My mom comes home once a day for a couple of hours after spending long hours away. When she arrives home this little dog, we named Chika, becomes so excited, she squeaks, and runs over to greet her. When she sees her, she jumps up and down just begging to be picked up for some love. In that instant, my mom gets this huge smile on her face that makes you feel how the dog has lifted her spirit. Chika will remain with my mom while she is home. In those couple of hours, they eat together, lay down to watch TV while dozing, and play. One day my mom told us “this is my dog” as she held her on her shoulder, as we regularly do, even though said she would never do it.

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As I was remembering the joy Chika has contributed to each one of us this summer, I thought about how God is aware of what we need before we do. When Chika came into our world in October, we did not know what was going to take place this summer. We assumed she was just another dog. Instead she has been something that God purpose to comfort us during this painful summer.

God can use the smallest things, like Chika, to help us in our most demanding circumstances. However, frequently the things God uses come package in a way that our first reaction is to reject it because it does not meet our conditions. I am still in astonishment at how great He loves me when God uses a story, such as the one of Chika, to demonstrate His love. Then I realize how often I give up seeing His love because it is not how I believe it would be.

In Zephaniah 3:17 it reads:

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

He is constantly with us. In our most challenging time when we feel like He is not there, He is there. Not only is He there He is rejoicing over us, He will quiet us, and even sing over us. It is in our trying days when this verse seems like a lie and we doubt God’s love for us. But He is there sending comfort in little ways we don’t even consider.

 

In the comment section below please share your thoughts. If you are unsure where to start here are questions to help you get going:

1.) What has been your experience with a stray animal that has come up to your home?

2.) Has God ever tried to use something in your life you rejected at first but later you saw how God used it for what was to come?

3.) When you are in church you rejoice, love on God, and sing loudly to Him. Have you ever considered that what you are doing in church the Creator of the Universe does over  you? Does that change how you see God? Explain.