When You Can’t Find Anything New About New Year!

It was just two weeks back that we all were waiting with much excitement to welcome 2019. Most of us were at church for a watch night service praying for new blessings, beginnings and breakthroughs to be seen in the New Year. The feelings at 11:55 pm on 31st December 2018 were something like as if we would be landing on some new planet within a few minutes where everything would be new, fresh, thrilling, beautiful and different than the past year. The sound of firecrackers, the wishes that we sent and received on Facebook and WhatsApp and the phone calls from our friends & family gave more reassurance to those feelings. We were all set to welcome the New Year only to find out later that there isn’t anything new about it.

As the days pass by, we find ourselves in the same day to day routine, with the same jobs & chores and dealing with the same challenges we had the past year. It even looks like we are losing the grip and the enthusiasm for the resolutions we made in the beginning. Our diet plans, Bible readings, developing new skills, family schedules, family time, acquiring good habits, work goals and all sorts of resolutions seem unsuccessful.

In fact, the resolution isn’t new in itself.  Most of us have the same plans and resolutions we had a year back or a couple of years back or maybe three years back:). We all have great dreams and high expectations in our lives but we find ourselves moved towards them just an inch. When we don’t see any momentum or change happening in our lives, we tend to give up on our efforts hoping that next year things will be better with better planning and clear goals.  

Can you relate?

But here’s a beautiful truth we often miss in our efforts to hold everything together by our understanding, capacity and strength. 

God has an appointed time for things and no matter how much we plan, set goals and have strategies for our lives, He works in our lives in His perfect time by his perfect plans and in ways we can’t envision.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Even though our resolutions seem to fail, our resilience shouldn’t.

Even though our plans seem unsuccessful, God’s plan for our lives doesn’t.

Even though we tend to give up on our lives, He doesn’t.

Where we see death, God sees life.

Where we see end, God sees beginning.

Where we see insufficiency, God sees abundance

Where we see impossibilities, God see opportunities.

So even if you don’t find anything new about the New Year, open your eyes to His mercies, which are new every morning. By Him on your side, you can always have a fresh start and a new beginning. So don’t settle where you are. Keep moving, Keep trusting His wonderful plans for your lives, keep the resilience, keep doing your best and see God do impossible things in and through your life in His time.

“I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me.” Psalm 57:2

Bridge

My daughter Jennie has turned 5 yesterday. Even though these 5 years of her life weren’t easy for her, I thank God for His faithfulness, His love, His grace and for molding my heart to feel the pain of others through my life experience. I met Jesus again during those lonely moments of my life, I realized His presence while caring for my sick child at home and I found the solace only being at His feet.

Here’s a video about her! Bridge is about the struggles she has been through, the emotional upheaval we faced time to time, the hope we clung to, the joy we chose over heartaches and the pain we understood well, caring for a special child.

 

 

When all you need is endurance..

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Every month I flip the page on our calendar, I stick labels on the dates of important days, I also place my hand on the month and say a prayer for God’s favour for the plans and goals I have made for that particular month for myself and for my family. I ask God’s protection and provision for the month. As, in the beginning of every month I do this, I thank Him for all His grace over me in the previous month.

28309524_1766363293384004_386204527_oOver the last few years, as I have been doing this, there is something I have learned: God’s timetable is totally different from mine. His plans are unlike my plans. Many times, what I have planned or fixed the stickers on the calendar just didn’t turn out the way I desired but that doesn’t mean it never turned out right! It has just taken a bit longer than I expected. It all fell into place in His timing.

The strategies I made for my son to improve his speech and behaviour, for my daughter to get regular physiotherapy and see her develop, to give her the best care possible, for my family to have a schedule & a well-planned life (which is too challenging), for me to be more productive in my God-given skills and my family to be more effectively contributing to the Kingdom haven’t fully been achieved the way I thought.

Sometimes I would find myself struggling, trying to reason everything and getting frustrated by my failed expectations. I would even question God, “Why don’t things ever turn out the way I want?” Why do I face setbacks when all I do is right? Why does life get harder for me with each single day?…and so on…

And it kind of felt unfair many times when I put a lot of my efforts in trying to change my circumstances with all possible ways I could, with all the possible plans I could, and with all my understanding and intuition. But at the end of the day, all I could see was no result, no change, not even a slight glimpse of the possibility of change!

But in the process of setting goals and plans, praying over them and believing for the desired results, I realised that all I need to do is to keep trusting His plans for my life, keep enduring, keep going even if it gets harder, keep depending on Him instead of depending on my understanding and strength, and most of all give it all to Him and rest…being confident that He holds the key to my future.

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I don’t know which circumstances you are battling in. It could be a family issue, a prolonged depression, a struggle in your workplace or with a relationship or you can name it. If you feel you have hit the limit, you have done everything you can do and you can’t see a way out, and all you want is just to quit, let me encourage you to keep enduring, keep giving your best, keep your focus on Jesus and His promises for your life. Don’t withhold your hope, prayers or faith. God has not brought you thus far to leave you in the middle. Remember that every trial you endure has a purpose. Let these truths continually strengthen your heart and encourage your faith to be stronger on your endurance journey.

 

A Legacy of God’s Faithfulness!

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My Mom wrote an encouraging note on my diary when I first began my journey into mission work. The note is in Marathi which is my native language.

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Dear Rani (it’s my nickname)

My best wishes to you for the path you have chosen to serve God. The path you have chosen is God’s will for your life. He will be with you and will provide for you. Cast all your cares upon Him. God will be with you. You will be leaving me soon. I feel a little sad about it but I am so happy that you are going to serve God. I feel so proud to see my children in ministry. Don’t worry about me. Just keep me in your prayers. May God help you in everything you do.

Your Mom      

She also wrote a few Bible verses for me to meditate on and stay encouraged. Psalm 55:22, 121:7 & Isaiah 41:13

My mum is one of the best gifts of God to me. She is my encourager, inspiration, my role model and my friend. Her life, devoted to God’s work and His people, always amazes me. Her sacrificial service to her family, her loving relationships with others, her wisdom in dealing with family issues, her courage to face trials and overcome them with the help of God make me love and respect her more and more. Being raised in an orphanage, she has bestowed much love and care upon her children.

From 1999-2002 she continuously suffered with a kidney related ailment. For almost four years she has been in and out of hospital. She would get so sick that she needed to be taken to hospital in the ambulance. Our family went through a difficult period. Our school, studies and upbringing were all affected. I, as a 12 year old girl, would always fear her sudden death. I constantly stayed with her, taking care of her the best way I could because I didn’t want to lose my mom. Whenever I returned home from school, I dreaded seeing people gathered around my home because I feared that my mom had passed away. The fear of losing her, constantly hovered over my mind.

Being brought up in a Pastor’s family since childhood, I knew about Jesus and his miracles through stories, songs and skits taught in our Sunday school and church. But I never knew Jesus personally. One day I got the news that my mom was seriously sick and might not survive for long. She was admitted into hospital. That time I was alone at home and I wanted to pray for her life. I held her saree in my hand and started to pray for her. With tears rolling down my cheeks and a weight on my heart I said to Jesus, “I need my mom, please don’t take her away.” I sobbed saying only this one sentence as I didn’t know what else to pray as a 12 year old girl.

My mom’s health condition began to improve gradually. Doctors were astonished to see her speedy recovery. She was discharged from hospital in only a few days’ time. Slowly she regained her health. Her medical reports were coming back “normal”.

I only knew about Jesus, but now I could know Him, experience His love for me and my family, realise His faithfulness in my life and understand that He hears us when we call to Him.

Since 2002 till this day, she has enjoyed good health; no hospital stay, no major health issues, and she is the most energetic person in our family. She is the source of blessing and encouragement to everyone who meets her. Her smile, her talk and her life principles are impacting people around her. I thank God that she is still with me and has been a great support to me in all my ups and downs. She is the legacy of God’s faithfulness in my life.

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Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19