Monday, January 7, 2008

New Things

Well it's a new year! I realize I'm a little late for wishing you a happy new year, though we certainly are still just at the very beginning of 2009. But I thought I'd take a few moments to reflect on some of the things that are new for me this year. I'm not necessarily making new year's resolutions. Those scare me. But I am doing some things differently this year, and it's always a good idea to seek a little accountability on such commitments by sharing them with others. So here goes...

For the past two years I have read the Bible through from beginning to end. That's one of those new year's resolutions that I made a number of times in years past but never succeeded in following through. But two years ago I just made the commitment and did it. I can't quite explain what a huge impact that journey through the Bible made on me. I've read it through twice now and am so grateful I did. I think I'll take another day to just blog about that sometime soon, so stay tuned! At any rate, this year I want to keep my diet of God's Word at an equitable level, but I want to do something different too. So I am trying a different reading plan, one my husband James tells me is espoused by John McArthur. I will be reading one book of the New Testament every day for a month. This January, for instance, I am reading through the entire book of Galatians every day. So far I have kept this commitment, so I have read Galatians 7 times already this year! The point of this reading plan is to slow down and allow God to really teach me something from a section of the Bible. I already grasp Galatians so much better than ever before. I think this is really going to work for me. You might consider doing the same.

For the past 5 or 6 years I have used a Mary Engelbreit calendar for my personal daily calendar. I love those calendars. But this year my friend Kim bought me a bright red calendar from Target that is much more professional and streamlined. I just wanted a change. Today I began filling in my calendar with that eager anticipation that hits me every year as I plan out the months to come. I'm excited about mapping out 2009 in a new format. Sometimes we just need a new map!

My children are getting older and parenting is changing for me. I wish I could say it is easier. It is not. My children do not make it harder. They are both delightful. But the tasks of mothering them have changed dramatically over the years and I am finding my latest responsibilities to be rather daunting at times - sending my son off to his part time job many afternoons, deciding if the play my daughter wants to perform in is suitable for her age, helping my son find scholarship opportunities, taking him to college visitation days, picking out fashionable yet modest clothes with my daughter... They may sound like simple enough tasks, but when you realize you have such a limited amount of time to get some things right before they head out on their own, it is nerve shattering! So this year, while parenting has not gotten easier in essence, I am going to try to take it a little easier. I'm going to spend more time praying for my teens and less time fretting over them. I'm giving them more responsibility (they're going to start doing their own laundry!) and expecting more from them. I'm keeping my words to a minimum, but packing them full of punch. And I'm going to enjoy my kids. They are, after all, quite enjoyable!

I have set one goal for 2008 that has to do with my character. I may set others, but so far this is the only one that is ringing solid for me. I want to be a generous person in 2008. Now I don't have a lot of money, but what I do have I certainly want to share generously. But more specifically I just want to be generous by nature. I want to slow down and spend time with people and on people. I want to give my time to others instead of just using it on myself or spending as I wish. I want to serve generously and with a smile. I want to give of myself - my heart and soul. I intend to start each day by giving myself to the Lord and opening my hands to Him in an act of submission. I want to be used by Him as He sees fit instead of mapping out my own agenda. I want to open up my home to people, share my food, and give my love. I just happen to think God really loves generosity. So I want to be a generous person.

I'm sure 2008 holds many changes and developments for me that will only be realized as I journey through it. But some changes I can determine from the get-go. I choose not to change too much. Life is pretty good already. But there is always room for growth and renewal. I hope you'll join me in making 2008 a year of counting our blessings, thanking God for His goodness, and anticipating His best!

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