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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Start From Now

Photo Credit:  kconnors from
Since it’s only January, I still feel excited and eager to talk about fresh starts and new beginnings.  Apparently, my Kindle Fire feels the same way.

We’re not too big on the latest and greatest in technology around here, but my children do love to play games on my Kindle Fire.  I won it a couple of years ago in a poetry contest and they’ve had to share time on it ever since.  You can imagine that it isn’t always peaches and cream with three kids sharing our one cool piece of portable technology.  Many times I end up putting that thing away in a super duper secret location for a month until they agree to take turns in an ever-so-loving manner.

However, in the midst of hollering and grabbing it out of each other’s hands, somehow that device has gotten “deregistered” a number of times.  And, when that happens, my Kindle likes to start ALL over.  She even has a message for me, “Welcome to Kindle Fire.  Thank you for your purchase.  Please set your passwords, time zone, quick settings, etc.”  Really, Kendall?! (Yes, that’s her incredibly original name.)  It’s like we’ve never even met!

When she means start anew, she means it.  It’s like the slate has been wiped completely clean.  The old timey chalkboard has been erased and she’s ready for a fresh beginning.  I know there are some apps in a cloud somewhere over the rainbow, but basically she wants to have a new start.

It’s a bit inconvenient having to reset everything, but when I ponder on the idea of starting fresh, it’s kind of a nice thought.  As Carl Bard says, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

I like that.  Where do we start?  Start from now.  Right now, this very minute, we have the opportunity to journey toward a brand new ending.  Yes, I like that very much indeed.

And, I love knowing that God allows us to have this same unique opportunity to begin afresh each and every day.  I love that He doesn’t hold nasty grudges and open old wounds.  I love that He has endless mercy.  I love that His grace has no limits.  Thank you, Lord, for that.

Recently, I saw these words of reflection:  “You only live once?  False.  You live everyday.  You only die once.”  Oooh.  Good one.

And, as Max Lucado says, “When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?  Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame?  Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car?  Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement?  Of course not.  What will matter then will be people.  If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”  (Thank you, Larry, for sharing this!)

Relationships.  Are we devoting enough time to them?  Quality time.  Or are we spending too much time and effort on “stuff” and all that pertains to it?

When thinking about people and relationships, it’s great to remember that all saints have a past and all sinners have a future.  I saw this on a sign in town and its truth really struck me.  Its message of hope really hit home.  We are all imperfect.  Every single one of us.

While many of us are still tweaking our what-to-improve-upon-this-year list, maybe relationships are a great place to start.  It’s not too late to make changes.  It’s not too late to modify.  Today is in fact the first day of the rest of our life.  We can start from…now.

When focusing on change, what do we want?  As Lysa TerKeurst says, “To prepare well for our next season, we have to release some things like old habits, old patterns, and old ways of thinking.  Take God’s hand, release what needs to be released, embrace a new season, trust His love, and walk in the beautiful opportunity for imperfect progress.”

Imperfect progress.  I like that too.  Imperfect people making imperfect progress.  I read something like this recently, “A perfect relationship is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”  Ain’t that the TRUTH?!

As we ponder our plans for change, I realize that being physically fit is important.  However, another aspect that warrants our attention is our spiritual fitness.  What are we doing in that department?  There are so many ways to nurture spiritual growth.  Look for them.  Find them.  Embrace them.

One way might be through a Bible study.  If your church offers one, join in.  If it doesn’t, start one.  A group of ladies from our parish will be participating in a study from February through April called, “Unglued,” by Lysa Terkeurst.  With the help of Lysa’s “Unglued” DVD, book, and participant’s guide, we hope to work on making wiser choices in the midst of raw emotions.  Using biblical teaching, we’re going to navigate through how to handle our feelings when people bump into our “happy.”  I can’t wait!

After we complete our upcoming study, we will have these things to remember:
1)  We can declare that we are on God’s side.
2)  We can trust that God is chiseling us because He sees us as a masterpiece.  We’ll comfort ourselves with the words, “Let God chisel.”
3)  We can find peace in our most difficult relationships as we learn to be honest, but kind, when offended.
4)  We can predetermine our lingering words – will they be positive or negative chatter inside our head?
5)  We can gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations that are out of our control without acting out of control.

Whatever it is that you want to do to better yourself, it’s okay to start…from now.  Right now.  Today.  I’ll be praying for you.  Please pray for me, too.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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