I'm not who I was.
I don’t make them.
Well, not in the traditional New Year’s Resolution sense. But I do resolve to do or be things I guess, just not in check-box fashion. (Which is ironic, because I do so love my check-lists.
Every year, it’s mandatory that we take a family picture in front of grandma’s Christmas tree. (No, it has never actually fallen that I can remember… it’s a metaphor that will be summed up in the end.)
I’ll start you off with the year that J was 1… also known as the year that the tree had so many lights, we were surprised that planes didn’t try to land in her living room. It was beautiful, but it pretty much burned our retinas. Although I’m sure that the mandatory family pic happened, I can’t find one for J’s 2 year old year. But I found this one, and she’s cuter on her own anyway. J’s 3rd year: The year in which grandma got a new pre-lit tree. When J was 4: the year that Rev’s goatee sprouted into a baby beard. I do not have a family pic of J’s 5th year, which would have also been Cheeks’ baby year. A lot of things get forgotten when there are new babies in the house. We have lots of pics of the baby, just not in front of the tree.
J was 6, C was 1, and Rev’s spikey hair transformed to a faux-hawk… also known as the beard’s toddler year: This is not in front of grandma’s tree. It’s in front of the tree at Southern Seminary after the Rev’s graduation with his Master’s degree. Hallelujah! (J7, C2, Rev’s beard has almost reach adulthood). J8, C3, and we aren’t in the picture because we only took a family picture on the couch, and that would kind of negate the whole tree theme we have going on here… This year, I didn’t even break out the real camera. Not one time. Here’s the obligatory family pic in front of grandma’s tree, via instagram (J9, C4, Rev’s beard- freshly trimmed and glorious):
There is a point to all of this. As the years pass, things change. Trees improve. Technology progresses. People change, and that’s GOOD. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people find pride in claiming they are they same person they have always been. I’m not saying you were always terrible, but even if you start out great, why would you not always want to try to make improvements? I’m NOT who I was, praise God, and I pray that I never stay the same. Not all changes are for the better, but it’s my goal that when I fall, I fall forward. I make progress. I get back up, and I try again.
That’s really my blanket resolution every year. Just be better.
But that resolution is not good on my own, because I can’t be better in and of myself. But by the grace of God, I can be when I let Him make me better. So for the past several years, I have adopted sort of a theme verse for the year. My first “official” theme verse was Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.” I struggled with feeling protected on many levels in that season of life, and this was the truth that I referred to. Last year’s verse was Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” It turns out that I really needed to believe His goodness not just in an ethereal way but in a tangible way. (I always believe that God’s word is true, but sometimes when it comes down to application I believe it’s true for other people, but not for me. Can I get a witness? Last year I needed to believe His goodness for myself. In everything. God. Is. Good).
Sometimes I know why a verse is my verse for the year. Other times I don’t know the fullness of it until the year progresses. But there is always some reason revealed.
This year’s verse:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time”.
Happy New Year! Here’s to falling forward.