“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Isn’t it funny how a certain word will keep showing up in your life? For me, this word has been NEW. It has popped up in Scripture, in blogs I follow, and in books I am currently reading. Now, I absolutely love new beginnings. A new year always feels like a fresh start to me. It feels like a second chance. As a classroom teacher I enjoy beginning a new school year every August. It feels like a new starting point–new kids, sometimes a new arrangement of furniture in my classroom, a mental note of all the things that didn’t work the previous year, new ideas, and a sense of feeling refreshed and rested after summer break.
New beginnings are a time for reflecting on the things that haven’t previously worked and trying something new. That is why so many people set New Year resolutions. You know the list I’m talking about…Exercise, eat healthier, spend more time with family, keep a cleaner home, etc.
As a member of a blended family I have had to learn new ways of doing things. My old ways were not working. You see, I have carried a lot of hurt and resentment in my heart from things that have happened in my past. I had decided that I would never let anyone hurt me again. I was not willing to love unconditionally or set my selfishness aside to put others first. I had never considered myself a prideful person, but when I started examining my heart I realized how all of my decisions revolved around what would make me feel good. It wasn’t about what was best for my family; it was all about what I would be comfortable with. Ouch!
The Holy Spirit lead a friend to share some life changing, biblical views with me that would completely alter my life. I have had to learn to die to myself daily. This was going to be a requirement if I was going to be willing to let God move in my life, transform me, and do something new. I knew I had to learn humility, forgiveness, love, self control, and long suffering. I was very convicted. I have had to put on the new self. My new self is being renewed in knowledge after the image of my Creator (Colossians 3:10) I cannot trust my own heart or my own thoughts. (Proverbs 28:26). I have to go to my Savior daily and gain wisdom from Him through having a personal and intimate relationship with Him.
I am so glad that He doesn’t leave me on my own to figure out the new way; He is right there with me to guide me. Once I had decided it was time for a new way I most certainly knew that I would not be able to do this on my own. It would only happen with the help of the Holy Spirit. So, what does this new way of doing things look like exactly?
- Being slow to anger when my biological children and I are not accepted by my new extended family (James 1:19)
- Turning to God for wisdom when I don’t know how to make this new family dynamic work (James 1:5)
- Not speaking evil against someone when an unkind text message was sent about me (James 4:11)
- Letting the peace of Christ rule in my heart when I don’t feel accepted (Colossians 3:15)
- Not being anxious when I am in uncomfortable situations (Philippians 4:6)
- Doing laundry, packing lunches, carpooling, and so many other things for my children without grumbling (Philippians 2:14)
- Forgiving when others hurt my feelings (Ephesians 4:32)
I love His promise that He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). So, this new year we can have a completely new mindset. Decide right now to surrender all of your ways to God and take off the old so you can put on the new.
Heavenly Father, Show us what You want to do in our lives so that we can take off the old and put on the new. We want to follow the example Jesus gave us. Show us how to love, forgive, and extend mercy in our blended families the way You have done so many times to us.
In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.