Beginning Again

All creation groans for a new beginning, and here we have January—the clean slate of new calendars and new planners and new expectations. The two week period after Christmas, when we take down the tree, pack away the Christmas decor, give everything a good cleaning and prepare for a new year, is my favorite.

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Often my own groanings are more about regrets and missed opportunities, though, rather than an earnest expectation of glory to come, and a new year can look like the false hope of The Year We Finally Do Things Right.

The trap is in thinking that new equals better, that starting over fresh will create an opportunity to live failure-free. When I wake in the night with the crushing burden of all my shortcomings—some of which are real and true and some of which are just the enemy’s rummaging through my garbage—the way out of the trap is not to develop a new plan or system or list, though I try.

The way out is only ever through Jesus.

Continue reading at natalieogbourne.com.

Remember Michael Finnegan? {Begin Again}

You know him, poor old Michael Finnegan. How many times did he have to grow that wretched beard, all straggly and so sparse that the wind could just come blow it away? He was a persistant old guy.

And now we need perstistance. We will begin again tomorrow with a new year and fresh calendar and grace that is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need persistance to  be the new man, to walk in daily grace with our daily selves and our daily struggles. Persistance to begin again and again, and thank God for that.

This ends my first year of blogging. Rich and rewarding, a little painful, and so much growing. I appreciate each and every one of you, my gracious friends. Your comments and commraderie and encouragement have carried my thoughts.

And now, in true blogger style, I bring you a re-cap of the year's most loved posts. These aren't necessarily the most viewed or commented posts, but I loved these and the struggle they represent.

Thank you, friends. By His grace, we'll all begin again and again.

Elbow Room - “When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Fourteen Years - For Bailey.

What I Want to Preach - On grace words and finding wonder with my kids.

Ten and One - For Shelby.

When Prayer is a Struggle - On praying and working.

Family Dinner - On working through struggles and loving each other anyway.

For the Ones Who Can't Hear Beautiful - For all of us.

JoinBecause everyone, everywhere, at every time and point in history, has had to make their home with people.

When People are Big -  Flowered-shorts and wild hair and one huge pimple, all these giants we have to slay just to get out the door. 

But God - My favorite words, and oh how He intervenes!

How to Shock Your Kids Today - The one I need to read again and again.

When Boys Become Men - for Jacob.

How to be Born Again and Again - for Ethan.

On Keeping it Beautifully Simple - What I always want church to be.

Roots - My featured Five Minute Friday post at Lisa-Jo Baker's

Note to Self - A little straight talk for moms.