So, it's that time of year again when we look forward to a new year. Most people look upon the new year as a chance for a clean slate. An opportunity to start over and get some things right that we struggled with in the past. Unfortunately, many people make a resolution and like myself, it is shallow and we quickly give up on it when we don't see the results we desire in a timely manner or when we don't get the satisfaction out of it we hoped we would.
I want my "resolution" this year to be something of substance. I, of course, have plans to take better care of this body God provided me with but, that has more to do with all the holiday gluttony over the past couple months than the fact that a numerical change is ahead.
Last year I received an e-mail that had a resolution worth keeping. At the time I wasn't in a place where I could recognize the importance of it. I printed it out and stuffed it in a drawer and recently it called my name. It's amazing that it survived the move!
So, here it goes...
I will put my time with the Lord before the TV, the radio and even before good Christian books, for my children will know my priorities by the way they see me spend my free time.
I will make prayer requests known before God and my children, enlisting their help in the process and informing them of the outcome, for by letting them help when I petition our Lord they will learn of a living God who still answers prayer.
When times of crisis, conflict or confusion arise, I will hit my knees before I hit the phone knowing that by my example my children will discover that although friends are important, God alone is the one who holds the solution to life's every problem.
I will erase the words "luck" and "lucky" from my vocabulary and will instead by my speech point my children toward the One who orchestrates every detail of our lives and brings all good things to pass, for by this my children will learn of an omniscient God.
When bad things happen, I'll neither grumble nor complain, but will instead help my children see that in the scope of our lives even the bad times are allowed for a reason, for by this my children will learn quiet trust in their Maker.
When normal childhood mishaps occur, I will remember that although difficult, it is still easier to remove grape juice from off white carpet than to erase harsh and unloving words hurled at a child whose chubby little fingers have failed her, for by this my children will see a God who understands when our best efforts fall short.
When my children have witnessed something ugly in me - unkind words, an angry temper, "harmless" gossip, biting sarcasm or even my infamous "mommy pout" when things don't go my way - I will confess it as sin before them seeking their forgiveness, for by this my children will develop the much needed habit of wiping their spiritual slate clean before God and man.
I will teach my children the importance of cleanliness and order while at the same time remain sensitive to the fact that a skinned knee or hurt feeling is more crucial than a spotless floor or uncluttered counter, for by this my children will learn to value people above things.
I will make time for the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the difficult to love, and will bring my children along, for with each afternoon visit, each ride to the doctor, each raked lawn or washed window they will have the opportunity to serve Jesus by serving the "least of these".
I will make our home a haven of rest and retreat from the outside world and a welcomed place for my children's friends, for with each impromptu backyard soccer game, each video viewed on a rainy day, each cup of hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie, my children will have the opportunity to practice the art of Christian hospitality thereby learning to share all God has given them.
I will by my actions and speech let my children see a mom love their dad, for by this will my children sense family stability at a time when marriages all around them are crumbling.
I will not require of my children obedience, honesty, patience or kindness without first being willing to submit to the same rules whether in speed limit, in miscounted change from the store or when answering a toddler for the fourteenth time, for by this my children will see a mother who is also learning and not a perfect parent to whom they'll never measure up.
In all things will I remember that more is caught than is taught.
Truthfully, I was not so sure I wanted to share all this with you because now I have some accountability. I KNOW that I will fail at times but I really want to try and be the best child of God I can be this year. Some of those I got down, others...not so much. To be honest some seem really, really difficult but then I read the line about what important lessons my children will learn, it doesn't seem as difficult. As a Mother or Father our greatest mission field is our children. All I really want out of this life is that they all come to know Him and follow Him all the days of their life. Everything else is just gravy.
On a side note...this should not only apply to us as parents. It's not just our children who are watching is it? There is a whole world of non-believers out there who have been let down by what they've seen from us "Christians". Imagine the impact God could make on them if they saw us behave in this manner! Now go back and read it again only this time every time it says "my children" replace it with "this world".
So what are your new years resolutions? Are they worth keeping, worth the effort? I think this one is. Nothing worth doing was ever easy and this one seems worth doing and definitely NOT easy.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.