As the New Year burst through the stars early this morning, I was reminded of all the events that took place during 2016. I was reminded of the joys that the year held, and I was reminded of the sorrows that occupied a year that saw much change for so many people. As 2016 slowly faded away, I was reminded that each day is an opportunity to start anew. I was reminded that the past is in the past. I was reminded that we should learn from our experiences, and we should allow them to make us better people. I was reminded that hope is the answer to all the problems of the world and that love will always triumph over hate.
The year 2016 is one that I will never forget. This year brought me closer to realizing my dreams, and it held sorrows that shook me to the core. Above all, through the joy and the pain, it helped to remind me that there is always hope and that God always has a plan. It showed me that God’s timing is perfect and just when we are about to give up, He steps in and shows us just how powerful He is. This year showed me that miracles do indeed exist and that all things work toward our good. This year showed me that love truly is the answer to all the problems in our lives and that having an attitude of gratitude will sustain us through the valleys and trials of life.
I remembered being grateful when our previous home sold. I remembered being grateful as Jeff and I finally exchanged wedding vows. I remembered being grateful when we were led to the ideal rental house, and I remembered being grateful when we broke ground for our saltbox. These were all wonderful events; however, I also remembered being grateful that I was standing in a hospital room with my grandma when she was given the news that she had terminal cancer. I remembered being grateful for every second I got to spend with her. I remembered being grateful for being at her house for one last Mother’s Day, and I remembered being grateful that I was holding her hand when God stepped into the room and led her home. I remembered being grateful that I was given the honor of speaking at her funeral, and I remembered being grateful that I could share her life and her stories with all of you.
A grateful heart can accompany every experience we encounter in life, the good and the bad. It is true that none of us knows what 2017 will bring us, and many of us are filled with fear and concern, but we should always do our best to lay those fears and concerns down. They are not meant for us to carry. We should give those fears and concerns to God. He is strong enough to carry them for all of us. What we should carry into the New Year is hope, love, faith, and excitement. Hope for all the miraculous things that God will do this year. Love for our fellowman. Faith that all things are possible, and we should be excited to watch those things unfold.
It truly is a matter of perspective. We can choose to see what is wrong with this world or we can choose to see what is right. We can choose to see hopelessness or we can choose to see hope. We can choose to see hate or we can choose to see love. We can choose to feel dread or we can choose to feel excitement. It is up to each of us which side of the coin we want to focus on. It is a personal choice what we want to see. If we choose to see the bad that is what we will see, but if we choose to see the good that is what we will see. Our eyes are truly drawn to what we are looking for. So, let’s all choose to see the good during 2017. Of course this year will present all of us with challenges and difficult times, but it will also present us with joy and happy times. When we focus on the good instead of the bad, it will truly change our outlook on life, and we will see the world in a different light.
Each New Year people make resolutions. Some of us decide that this is the year we will exercise more, eat better, give up a bad habit, or spend more time doing something we love. Those are all great resolutions to make, but we can also make resolutions to see the beauty in life more, to love more and to accept the differences in our neighbors more. We can resolve to have more hope, more faith, and more optimism in our lives. These resolutions will change our lives. They will change our minds, and more importantly they will change our spirits. They will give us a new outlook on life, and they will allow us to approach the challenges of the New Year with peace in our hearts.
As 2017 gets underway, I ask you to join me in making resolutions that will change our sprits. I ask that you see the good in the world instead of the bad. I ask that you love your neighbor and do your best to accept all people, even the ones who think differently than you do, the ones who live differently than you do, and the ones who believe differently than you do. I ask that you choose hope over hopelessness, and I ask that you choose to be excited about what God will do for all of us during 2017. When we make these resolutions and apply them to our lives, there will be so much more peace for all of us and PEACE MATTERS!