November 17, 2017

When I Struggle with a Fresh, New Year


lives transformed

It’s January: everything around me reminds me it’s time to ring in 2017 with new beginnings, goals, dreams and a renewed vigor to all things. Brand new journals glisten with fresh pages eager to be conquered and the artistry and craftsmanship of the bullet journal allows creatives the organizational prowess that makes the rest of us yearn to learn.

And then there’s me.

I’m a week in and Christmas storage boxes adorn neglected corners alongside garbage bags stuffed with “trash” “treasures” because THIS is the year I will declutter the attic. (Yes, a family  joke. I’ve resolved that many times). Wet coats, gloves, and damp smelly yellow labs drape the laundry room since North Carolina is in hibernation and I haven’t left the house for days. We’re completely iced in, down our long gravel drive. I’m pretty sure (ok, I’m certain) I’ve lounged, lived, and slept in the same sweatshirt, yoga pants, and ponytail hair the entire time (no judgement — dry shampoo rocks) and daily, delicious post holiday treats woo me from the counter.

Day 4 of Snowmagedden 2017 and our seventeen-year-old daughter reminds me, “Mom, are you ready. Today’s the day we’re starting our 17 day diet (no sugar, no carb detox). Are you prepared for us?”

What? What day is it? School, church, and life have been cancelled for the week and I’d already forgotten my new resolve.

Annually, I invite my blog readers to join me on a Carb Detox. It pushes my “all or nothing” carb hoarder eating habits back in balance, but it takes preparation. Mental preparation for the extreme discipline ahead, but also physical preparation by buying healthy foods and prepping them ahead of time so when cravings hit, we are ready. It’s critical to success.

My daughter opened the fridge. I’ll be honest. Besides the typical Southern assault on milk and bread before a snowstorm hits, I’m all about stocking up on hot chocolate, Nutty Bars, and Tator Tots because what screams cozy, winter, fire roaring memories more than those? In the midst of that, I forget the mad dash for my carrots and broccoli.

My daughter chastised, “Mom, milk and lettuce will not get us very far and I’m not starting this with you until we are ready. Seriously prepared.”

Her words sunk deep as conviction followed, “Seriously prepared.” That sounds like discipline.

Most southerners rushed for milk before the storm; I loaded up on comfort food. While both brought contentment for a while, neither truly satisfied.

We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature — for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

I admit it. I’m entering 2017 with an overwhelmed heart.

The fresh new year is a struggle and there are certain tasks that seem bigger than I can hurdle. I’d prefer to hang by the fire with my cup of hot cocoa and milk, but I believe 2017 is the year do hard stuff: to dig deeper than ever before, to stay laser-focused on Him and shore up my foundation in preparation for challenging days to come.

While nutritional milk is good for a season, our lives transform as we feast on His solid Word and become intimately acquainted with His gospel promises. Do you know His promises? Do you have them stored deep? Are you growing in spiritual maturity?

This year a plethora of voices and opinions have whirled. Some good and well-intended voices, but opinions which have pushed out the One true voice that matters. It takes discipline to go straight for the solids when someone else’s milk is so much easier to digest, doesn’t it?

So again I ask myself. Am I prepared for what the Lord has in store for 2017? That’s the question I lean into with vigor. I want to be and I’m willing to do the hard things to get there, but I’ll show myself kindness and lots of grace as I figure it all out.

How am I starting?

By taking one baby step at a time as I parse one scriptural truth after another. By reminding myself and meditating on one promise each day and knowing that His power is made perfect in my weakness (See 2 Corinthians 12:9).

It’s not a grandiose resolution, but it’s the kind of steadfast resolve that prepares and trains us to discern good from evil, light from dark, and solidify a solid worldview based on the inerrancy of Scripture. Maybe this summer I’ll buy the journal and some markers.

Won’t you join me?

Shared at (in)courage, home for the heart of women


  1. Hi Jen!
    I really enjoyed this post, (I could almost have written it myself.) Except for the extreme Winter weather part, that is. Here on the Gulf coast of Texas, we get our extreme weather from June to…
    We have been having highs in the sixties and seventies for the most part this winter.
    I do my veggie lounging then, with the ac on full blast, and the ceiling fan going overhead. Lol!
    Carbs are so easy to grab when we don’t have the energy to actually make something that’s good for us, aren’t they?
    You are so right that preparation is absolutely necessary if we are going to succeed at eating more healthy!
    Here it is, close to the end of January, and I haven’t even started preparing my food and menus.
    I have such good intentions, and so little energy! Like Alice, (of Wonderland fame, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.) 😉
    I am doing better at my bible and prayer journaling. That translates to having all the stuff.
    I’ll pray for you as you and your daughter follow through on your resolutions.
    I’m going to need industrial strength prayer to follow through on mine!
    God bless you and your family, and keep the great posts coming. They are a real blessing!


    Jen Reply:

    We can do it together. I’m with you on being another Alice, but as I keep telling my kids this month, We CAN do hard things (and then I admit, it needs to start with your mother.) xoxoxox


  2. Thank you for this. It was much needed at a time in my heart when there is quite a bit of turmoil.


    Jen Reply:

    You are so welcome, Kim. So sorry to hear of your heavy heartedness. I don’t know the turmoil, but know you aren’t alone on this journey. I’ll be praying for you.


  3. Julie Webb says:

    Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone! I was just thinking today that here January is almost over and I have still not started on my “self improvement”. So thankful His mercies are new every morning!


  4. HI jen- I was having trouble getting PB Teen and off of my screen while viewing your blog. It keeps popping up, and all I can find is an options button to view more. Now it’s regarding the Superbowl and Norton. Any way I can finally get rid of this? Thanks and Happy February!


    Jen Reply:

    Yuck!! I hate those pop ups and have them minimized so I am not sure why that happened twice to you. There should always be a small X to click them off and they’re never supposed to cover the screen. I don’t have access to change anything on my blog about that, so I’ll have to send an email to the person that handles that. Sure hoping it’s a today only thing because when I am on my blog now, it’s not occurring.


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