clouds-1842569Ephesians 4:22-24

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Y’all, 2016 has been quite the year for me, personally and my family, as well as many dear friends. This year started off in the middle of my Pastor’s cancer battle. He had just stepped back as Senior Pastor in order to remain home, during treatment, to rest, spend time with his wife and family, etc. I was now in charge of our church office, as his wife was now stepping back as well to care for her husband. It is hard to see your leader, pastor and even friend be in such a dark and rough battle with a horrible sickness. We prayed, we prayed and we prayed more. We all trusted and we all saw as he had some amazingly successful weeks and then some very painful and dark weeks and finally entering hospice care, we knew that God’s days for Dale were drawing shorter and shorter. Why would this happen to such an amazingly godly man? He passed away the first week of May. Our worship team, which I now lead, lead worship for his funeral service with songs he requested. Many memories and lots of love for him and his family, as well as working underneath his leadership, learning from his teaching and being loved by his pastoring heart made this a huge loss for so many, especially me.

This last year we have been blessed to watch our baby girl grow into an amazing one year old toddler. She is the light of our home in so many ways, but that first year brings with it, long nights, lots of growth and teeth. Oh the teeth, for us, means less sleep. Less sleep means longer days. Most of the time longer days mean needing lots of grace.

Since August we have been learning to navigate kindergarten with our 5 year old. There are so many new things that have made us question how we parent and what parenting looks like moving forward as our big girl grows and learns. Lots of growth for us all.

I started in a new position within our church. I became our new worship pastor. With this, has come many new challenges and many new struggles, but also so many new blessings and rewards. I am certain that I am exactly where God wants me to be because it is a constant challenge as well as a solid stream of seeing God move and work in people, which I love.

My husband was laid off in early October and for two months we waited and prayed over the job we asked for. He started the week before Christmas and God provided the entire time. We never saw a deficiency in our finances, through various forms, we have been covered. God was the one who got him out of a job that was a dead end, oppressive place and put him in a job where he is encouraged and there is room to grow and move up, in time. Thankful.

So, yes, I am looking forward to a new year. Each year I ask God for a word. The last few years I have taken a word and let me life focus around that word. One year it was deeper, that ended up being the year my son died. Simplify was the year we bought a new house, which meant we got rid of a lot of stuff, lived with my mother in law for awhile and started fresh. Intentional was the year that we saw so many things come alive in our life as we lived intentionally for the

Lord. Each year builds on the next. As I have looked back over 2016 I remember the word I chose in January. I felt as though I was to take the word my husband did. The word he picked, you ask? Commit. Oh Lord, did we see so many times this year when it would have been easy to quit, throw in the towel and forget it all. Commit kept me accountable to the Lord, his call, my husband’s lead and it allowed me to give my full attention to God’s call because I knew it was from him and he is faithful.

Looking at Ephesians 4 in verse 22-24

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

I read this again and again and every time my heart stops at “attitude of your minds”. I am convinced that so many of our struggles, sins and hang ups begin within the mind. Beyond that, the attitude of our mind. I can tell you that this is something I have been learning and struggling through for many years. I can see how each word he has given me over the years has helped me to remain in the mindset of Christ. Our new self and new attitude doesn’t come with a bunch of new year’s resolutions or fancy words to live by though. Our new self, our new attitude, our new minds can only come from the transforming power of Christ. His death and resurrection allow us to engage in the power of the Holy Spirit and through this relationship with Christ himself, we are able to be made new. When we are made new we adopt not only a new attitude, but a desire for holiness. We mess up and we struggle, but at our core, is a deep desire to be His, in every way.

As you go into the new year with ideas, goals, dreams and resolutions for a “new you”, don’t forget that the only way to truly change, truly grow, truly become who God wants you to be, is to trust in Jesus Christ, to rest in his faithfulness, rely on his power and completely surrender your control into his hands.

May you seek him earnestly, knowing that your goals and dreams are absolutely attainable, a new attitude of the mind is accessible and a FRESH, NEW and CLEAN life is available YEAR ROUND. Grace doesn’t just come on January 1st. It comes every morning. Daily, we have the power given to us to live for Christ. As a wife, a mom, a worker, a ministry leader, etc. We have his power and unlimited grace to walk in daily. May that encourage your hearts and your minds!

Lamentations 3:22-23

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

A new mind, a new heart, a new year. May it be filled with God’s word, God’s grace, his goodness and his peace.