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January

New Year Grace

It’s the end of the first month of the new year and I’m feeling the tension between my intentionally thought out, written goals, dreams, and desires to see change in this new year fighting with the reality of my own shortcomings, my slipping back into familiar ways and behaviours, my “sin-bent” humanity.

It can be very easy to scold yourself, going over and over in your head all the ways you are NOT “being more patient with your kids, being more thoughtful to your spouse, living intentionally in every area of your life, being disciplined in your lifestyle choices, etc.. you fill in the blank with your own new year heart’s resolve-_____” And these negative thoughts can begin to birth complacency, apathy and defeat within us, which can cause us to throw up our hands in frustration, surrendering to the label of “failure” that we stamp on our day, our present situation, our lives. This can be our feelings at the end of this first month of this new year.

But, God has been speaking to me about His grace, his undeserving favour, His “mercies (not giving us what we do deserve) and compassions that are new every morning” Lamentations 3: 22,23. And right in the middle of that verse is where I need to sit and be still, letting the peace of God, the rest of God wash over me….maybe you might need to as well? Every morning is a new start with Jesus, actually every hour can be, if we choose to live in His grace.  And with that grace brings the energy and drive to get up, show up and start again.

It’s the opposite of those condemning thoughts and lies that speak failure over our days, which can lead to giving up all together and just letting mediocrity settle in, ignoring the dreams, ignoring the desires to change. His grace and His mercy are gifts that we can receive, part of the “abundant life” that Jesus promised us in John 10:10. Am I taking those gifts and living my most abundant life? Are you?

I am being challenged to live out of that place where His grace fuels me to show up and start again every time I mess up.  God has been reminding me that I need to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 2:1. You and I can find strength in His grace, we can find a fresh start over and over. It really is amazing grace! We can be a little more gentler on ourselves, a little kinder to ourselves and we will continue to “write out the vision”, write down the goals so that we may “run” (Habakuk 2:2) confidently in the path that God has set for us in this day, at the end of this first month of this new year, full of the promises of God.

-Tonya Janzen

Worship & Creative Arts Director