January is about new beginnings. As I sit and reflect on this incredible gift of beginnings, I can’t help but think of the connection it has to a renewed life with Christ.  A clean slate, a fresh start to live a life of purpose and meaning. As a Christian, now that I have made the decision, I can say with full confidence that it is the best decision I have ever made in my life, but it didn’t come so easily for me. I wrestled in the balance of uncertainty.

I was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic school, attended mass, received the sacraments, but God was never someone I could relate to. He held His place on a throne as Lord, but not close to me like a friend. He was presented as someone far away where my prayers and petitions may have been lost in transit. He was a God seated on a throne but never the Lord of my life. As I grew older, I became more of a realist. A person of facts and action opposed to beliefs and even dreams. I hardened my heart to the world around me and to the God of this world. As I look back I find it fascinating how pain can change us. Even strip someone of the very life they were called to live.

Eventually I became desperate and in this place I sought God who became a safe place from danger. I began learning his character and feeling his presence in my unbelievably lonely and isolated environment. When I finally accepted Jesus to be the Lord of my life, I did it about 20 times just to be sure He heard me or maybe as confirmation to myself that I, someone who had definitely fallen short of the glory of God, was declaring Jesus as Lord of my life. I was transformed and given a second chance, a clean slate, a fresh start or better yet... a new beginning.

There are thousands of promises in the Bible that God has given to his followers and as I began my journey with God, I wrote them around my home in the hopes that they would ring louder than the words that I told and believed about myself.

I clung to two familiar scriptures found in John. These scriptures as I repeated them over and over in my head my perspective shifted. It was here, as the promises took hold of my life that I changed. 

The first text that resonated with me was John 3:16 which reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” You see, it all becomes new at the cross and not just that, He came for me.

The second scripture that resonated with me was John 10:10 “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. This scripture was important in starting new as it helped me remember that in pursuit of right living, there was also something fighting against my attempts to make change. In this verse the word “abundantly” was one I held onto tightly as I needing reminding in my changes that there was something more, something great beyond my current struggle. This scripture became the key to unlocking the lies the devil had spoken to me and helped me expose what was trying to destroy my life. 

The new year, maybe due to it being a new beginning, reminds me of the life I once lived. This time in my life was a painful time, but thankfully not the end of my story. As I begin a new year it is a  time to be thankful for the work God has done in my life and more specifically in my heart. I welcome this new year with anticipation and hopefulness, because of His faithfulness and the commitment to change that he has helped me with each passing year. I sense this year is a year to walk in the fullness of what God has already planned for me… and I believe the same is true for you! Maybe it's experiencing Christ in a new way or giving your life to Him? Maybe it's trusting God more or praying everyday? Whatever new beginning or next step you want to take I pray that you would trust in God's goodness and take your step of faith today!

Prayer Focus: Identify what your next step may be with God. Pray that God would help you by the power of the Holy Spirit to take your next step.


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CHRISTINA HAMM

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