When you think back on this year, what stands out? Was it a year of growth? Breakthrough? New beginnings? Maybe it included some struggles and losses. However your year went, it’s important that we do not forget the progress that was made.
Perhaps it doesn’t look quite like you thought it would. To be honest, I’d be surprised if it did. But there was progress this past year and it needs to be celebrated. Instead of going into 2018 with regret, or a sense of failure, we all need to remind ourselves of what did go well. If there are any regrets, turn them into a determination to do things differently in the future. This brings a sense of hope with it rather than defeat.
Maybe your child excelled in school this year. Rejoice over the milestones that were reached. It could be that this was an off year when it came to school progress. Sure, he or she made some forward movement, but it was slow and difficult. Did this child make leaps in other areas? Maybe you saw growth in compassion or a level of maturity rose up that wasn’t there before. It could even be that you noticed physical advancements in relation to sports or just in general. I know for me, there were years that growing in self-confidence was a major achievement.
After making note of some things you can celebrate in your children, take time to celebrate yourself and your spouse too. What made you proud this year? In my life, I’m grateful that I finally accepted a role the Lord has been trying to get me to take on for some time. Here’s what I’m celebrating about it, I took that role on with a smile on my face for the first time. Something that used to terrify me has become a joyful partnership with the Lord. As for my husband, he is extremely creative, and this year he learned new ways of being able to show his God-given ability. I love watching him learn and develop new skills.
Were there hard moments in 2017? You can add those too, with gratitude that you got through them. I had to say goodbye to a loved one very recently. For me, this year has come to an end with a big loss. Here’s what I’m grateful for though, in brokenness and sadness, I have a comforter and a divine source of strength. There is something we get to do only while on this earth, and that is praise God in spite of pain and grief. Rather, we praise Him with our pain and our grief knowing that He is the ultimate healer and the only one who brings restoration. Grieving sure does seem to put life into perspective. We tend to think about what really matters in the end like faith, family, and the seeds we plant in the lives of others. These are the things that last beyond ourselves.
I want to make this coming year about things that last. I hope to choose to laugh in the face small troubles and trust in the face of large ones. Let’s make it our goal this year to enjoy more and stress less, to engage more and retreat less, to be more generous and more real in our relationships than ever before. Let’s look to 2018 with a confident hope that isn’t easily shaken. After all, we have promises to cling to like this one:
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
—Jeremiah 29:11, NASB