Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcoming a New Year

Today marks the beginning of a New Year! 2014 . . . 365 days of blank pages just waiting to be written on . . . what story will they tell by the time it comes to a close? I am excited to see. :) This past year was full of learning and growth for me, and there is much that I am eager to either begin or continue implementing and working on in the months to come!


Spring

Around this time would usually find me pausing to reflect on the year just finished, to plan for the coming year, and to set goals for what I hope to do/accomplish/overcome in the year that is yet to be lived. This past year, though, saw this happening every few months or so! It seems like I have been in a nearly continual season of self-examination, goal-setting, and seeking to grow more in the Lord in certain areas.

One of these times was about a month ago when Leah and I had another of our wonderful heart-to-heart talks together. The end result of this was writing down a list of personal goals . . . spiritual, character (which in a sense is spiritual! :), and more.

We each picked out several of the areas that we saw most important for us and committed to working on those first. Then, we've been helping to keep each other accountable and to encourage one another as well. What a blessing it has been to do this together! Already I can see good fruit being borne from it, and I am looking forward to seeing what progress will be made over this next year.

 So as the chapter closes on 2013, I am so thankful for it . . . it was a very different type of year for me, yet it was a wonderful and a growing one. A year full of the Lord's abundant faithfulness and mercies . . . even through the difficult times.


Summer

Sometimes the path the Lord leads us down is joy-filled and easier to walk . . . sometimes it is hard and full of what may seem to us, many twists and turns . . . sometimes growth in Christ comes easily, and it feels like progress is made quickly . . . other times it feels like a difficult upward climb over sharp rocks, and we can't seem to gain any ground, or perhaps, we even lose ground . . . sometimes it can be very humbling when He helps us to see the areas we are weak in and struggling in!

Yet all of these times, no matter how difficult or 'easy', can be used as stepping stones to bring one closer to the Lord and to help one to mature in faith, grow in character, and more. That is what I want this past year with all of its various circumstances to be for me . . . a stepping stone.

--A stepping stone to deeper fellowship with Christ and a more obedient walk with Him.

--A stepping stone to a more servant-hearted and joy filled life.

--A stepping stone to wiser use of time and productivity.

--A stepping stone to a more organized, more efficient, and hence, less busy life.
(I have been in planning stages with something related to this in regards to our farm, and there will be more about that in a later post!)


Autumn

So this is some of what is on my heart as we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in 2014. I'll close with a couple of Scriptures that really spoke to me this past week as I read through Colossians and which fit well with some of what I am earnestly desiring for myself in this next year. I hope that they will be a blessing to you as well!

". . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience . . . ." Colossians 1:9-11

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2

"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:5-6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Winter

May the Lord guide each of your footsteps in Him this next year and
may it be a wonderful and blessed year for you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(The photos shared in this post are some of my favorites taken in each season of 2013.)

10 comments:

  1. Happy New Year! Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy year!

    Lovely post! Sometimes I concentrate so much on day to day tasks that I forget that I have made progress! I have decided on my Resolutions for 2014 and am excited to get going and to see what God teaches me in the coming year. x

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  2. Isn't this a good time to take stock? I feel the need to re evaluate areas of my life, and look at ways of approaching ups and downs in this new year.
    May your year be truly blessed, Sarah.

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  3. Happy New Year, Sarah! I'm so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning, and will be this year.

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  4. Thank you, Jenny, and the same to you!

    I can tend to do the same thing . . . which can make it encouraging at times like the start of the new year to look back at the progress that was made. And then to anticipate another year to continue growing and learning!

    May this next year be a blessed and growing one in the Lord for you!

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  5. It is indeed, Elizabeth! That is a wonderful idea . . . being prepared in our hearts in advance for those ‘ups and downs’ can be such a good help. I hope that through whatever ‘ups and downs’ that come your way this year that the Lord’s strength would be yours in abundance! And may He use those times in all of our lives for growing more in Him.

    Thank you so much! May you have a blessed year as well!

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  6. Thank you, Anna! And the same to you! I, too, am so thankful for God’s mercies which are new every morning . . . I love how you put that they “will be this year”, too. Isn’t that comforting?! Thank you for sharing!

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  7. This was a great idea, Sarah. I especially love the "things to overcome" category, as tackling these areas can often bring about the deepest growth in our lives! Our family did something similar...each of us came up with a list of goals for 2014 within categories such as spiritual, physical, academic, cultural, time management, service, financial, etc. It is so freeing and inspiring to see a plan on paper, and feel a sense of purpose and direction for the new year!

    ~ Betsy

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  8. What a special time for you all, Betsy, as you made goals and plans for 2014 together. I am sure that was not only fun, but helpful as well! And it sounds like it would was very profitable as well. I hope that meeting and fulfilling those goals will go well for you this year!

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  9. A belated Happy New Year to you!
    I love your photography, that last one of the frozen pine needles is amazing!
    Blessings!

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  10. Welcome to my blog, Alexandra Rose, and thank you for your kind comment! I enjoyed hearing from you!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)