With each new year, comes a new resolve. We promise ourselves, in varying degrees, that this year we will be stronger, healthier, and better. The drive to do better is human, perhaps, and a good impulse to follow. But where does this drive tie in to our faith?
In my day to day life, for example, I struggle to keep up with responsibilities and expectations intrinsic in a mom’s life. Some days, it gets to the point that I’d like to drink straight from the coffee pot, tie my hair up and say, “Forget it. I can’t do this! I’m giving up! I’m going to pile the dishes and the laundry and the mess all together in a mountain on the front lawn and go live in the Amazon!” Despite these urges, I still live in Texas. I still attempt to keep up with my responsibilities, children, chores, and duties. And I haven’t moved to the Amazon. Yet.
In this struggle, in this grind of the everyday, where does my faith fit in? Usually, my faith starts to find me when I’m at those points. When I want to give up, God finds me. When I’m driving my children in the car, or rocking them to sleep at night, I think about my day. Those are the moments I reflect and usually realize my troubles are never so great that my faith and my love cannot get me through. I have dishes to wash, because there was food on my table. I have laundry to do, because I am able to clothe my children. And I have a family to care for, because God led me to be there and to love them.
Through frustration, through despair, through miscarriages, through difficult deaths and illness that has touched my life, somehow, I still manage to find in those moments of reflection, a sense of peace. Of gratitude. You are here, in this world to live with purpose and direction, God tells me. In Proverbs 19:21, we are told that “[m]any are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
No matter what that purpose is, what God’s plan may be, even if it is to find a reason to smile once in the day, you are waking up to do it. And that resolve, that purpose, is not to become better than everyone around you. A resolution, a promise to yourself should be centered on the belief that you can become better than you used to be. To try to live in love and kindness, as we have been taught. And in those moments, when you just feel like giving up and moving to the Amazon, or wherever you want to go to escape it all, remember that you are never alone. God will not give up on you. So this year, look at your frustrations with new perspective and start your days with purpose.
Written by Meredith
I recently achieved a very big milestone in any teenager’s life: I turned 18. This landmark can mean many things to different people — getting a job, moving out of the house, even buying their first lottery ticket. For me, however, my eighteenth birthday meant something else — it was a chance to reflect on everything that my parents have done for me up to this point and how much more they will do for me in my lifetime.
Although it is a parental obligation to take care of their children, not all parents do that. I am grateful that I was born into a family and to parents that love me and my sister with every fiber of their being and constantly strive to take care of us in whatever capacity they can. Besides God’s grace of forgiving me, my parents’ generosity in raising me and pouring their passion into me is the greatest gift of generosity that I will never be able to repay.
As I reflect back on the relatively short life I have had so far, I am, in every sense of the phrase, blown away by the generosity that my parents have shown me. Until I become a parent myself, I will never truly understand all of the sacrifices my parents have made to raise me and take care of me all these years. I am fortunate that I did not get kicked out of the house on my eighteenth birthday and told, “Good luck, I hope you figure it out!” like so many individuals are forced to do. Although I don’t always show it, because I am a teenager after all, my greatest feeling of gratitude is for my parents and the boundless gift of generosity they have shown in putting forth the effort of raising me.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.” I believe that my parents strive to do this every day with me, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Written by Katheryn
This post concludes part 3 of our 3-part series based on Matthew 22:36-40:
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.