This Year Is Going To Be Different

This year is going to be different. 

I repeated that mantra to myself over and over again as I pulled out the Christmas decorations and looked over the December page on my calendar. I set up the Advent wreath with the hopes of remembering what Christmas is all about.

The doing is not going to consume me…it’s going to be different. 

Here I sit on the other side feeling like a total failure. Oh, we did the Advent wreath for two weeks focusing on the hope and the love. But joy and peace got lost somewhere along the way and my wreath literally fell apart. Buried. Sad and bent under a pile of gifts.


They weren’t gifts for my family, but gifts that were donated for our ministry, and they were gifts for our volunteers, and for teachers and coaches. They were good gifts, ones that I longed to give, ones that would bring joy and make people feel appreciated. Ones I am grateful to have the opportunity to give away.

But as I looked at my sad little Advent wreath weighed down under the pile I realized that I went terribly wrong because I became so caught up in the work of the season, the service, the giving to others that I forgot to think twice about the great Giver.

There is nothing wrong with giving. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is truth that sets us free. But what is the price that I am paying to focus more on giving, than why I want to give in the first place?

My daughter’s tiny voice across the breakfast table cut me like a knife. Mommy, you are here…but you are not really here. I wasn’t. I was lost in empathy for a friend who is hurting, and caught up with worry for one of my “girls” who is suffering. My list of things to do was stretching long in my mind, and they really were things that I needed to do.  Those aren’t bad things to be lost in, but I was lost all the same.

I try to do it on my own and I grow so weary, and my tongue sharpens, and I give looks that cut. My children suffer, and my husband is disrespected and I find myself lying wide awake on Christmas Eve wondering why I don’t at all feel merry.

On this side I see that I have another chance, because He came there is always another chance. I stand on the cusp of a brand new year, and I have learned something in the last few months. They have been some of the most stressful of my life, but I have learned and I have been convicted down deep of some things that need to change.

It’s confession time and I can’t go through the motions of serving because I have to. Instead I want to draw close to the One who brought me here. I want to drink deep of the good things He has given, and stop taking my time and my days and my marriage and children for granted. I want a softer tongue, and a heart that serves out of love, not duty.

The truth is that I just don’t have it all together and I closed out 2014 as screwed up as I always am. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but a new year can be a new start, and a time to reflect and regroup. I can learn, and grow, and pray to God to change in me the things that need to be changed.

This year is going to be different.


2 Responses to This Year Is Going To Be Different

  1. You are not alone in this. Thank you for this reminder of great TRUTH for me personally as well. Thankful for grace & a new year to love Him well.

  2. I totally identify myself with you….I have learned to forgive myself for working too hard…this year will be more about Him, to thrive in ministry!!

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