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  • Writer's pictureFaith Hakesley

Staying Rooted in Hope in the New Year

Some reflections and encouragement for the new year

+JMJ+ As this new year dawns upon us, I just want to say a quick thank you to you all for all the love, prayers, and support over this past year. Please be assured that, even if I don’t know every single one of you, you are all remembered in my prayers in a special way each and everyday. The birth of my husband’s and my fourth child is fast approaching (could be any day now) and so I will probably need to take a bit of time away from social media and from my blog. I will still be checking my messages and still plan to publish submissions for the Healing Hearts, Hope Restored portion of my blog (keep them coming!) but my own writing will likely need to take a back seat for the time being. We’ll see what God has in store for me in the new year! If you can, please remember my family and me in your prayers, especially over the coming weeks.

Here are my prayers for you in this new year:

That your heart be open to receiving God’s grace (whether you “feel” it at all times or not)

That you cling to your faith no matter what

That the love of Christ reigns in your heart

That you are filled with the hope that only He can bring

That you allow His light to live in you

That each of us does our part (in our own small ways) to bring that light to others

If you are someone who focuses on goals, that's great. Do you have a special word you want to focus on in this new year? That’s great too. Are you just going to keep doing your best to put one foot in front of the other each day? That's great too and I’m proud of you! Whatever your plans for the new year, I encourage you to hold onto hope. I know this is hard! Believe me, I know! A lot of us (myself included) tend to fear the future where there are so many unknowns. Taking leaps of faith aren’t easy. We don’t always know what lies ahead. After all, there could be suffering, betrayal, rejection, loss and whatever other things we generally want to avoid. We were never promised an easy life or one free from suffering. But we do have a place to bring whatever fears and hardships (and joys!) come our way. Jesus!!! How do we look forward to the future with hope?

By placing our trust in Him.

By placing our hope in Him.

If our hope is firmly rooted in Him and Him alone, then we will find that peace enters into our hearts no matter what comes our way.

How often do we start out on a path, with certain goals or expectations in mind, only to be easily frustrated or disappointed? How often do we give up due to that disappointment or due to fear of continuing on? Think of the many goals our family, friends, and loved ones make in the new year. We hear about diets and health goals, family goals, job goals, travel goals, etc, and so many people start the year off strong, but the enthusiasm quickly fades. Gyms, for example, are full at the beginning of the year (although maybe not this year due to COVID concerns) and, within a few months, attendance has dwindled.

The good news is that, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, we have absolute certainty in His love, presence, and grace in our lives. He remains ever certain and we can always rely on Him.

In this new year, there will be change. Change is an unavoidable part of life and none of us can predict whether the changes that come our way (both personally and in the world around us) will be good or bad. We can’t always control the way things go in life. There is always hope at any time because God is always there. His grace is always waiting for us. God never changes. We can always rely on Him and trust in Him. Our day to day goals might fail from time to time and the people around us may fail from time to time, but He remains ever constant, ever loving, ever faithful, ever true. No, we are not always going to “feel” His presence or His light and love. Rest assured, He is always, always present. Rest assured, He is always fighting for you. His grace is sufficient and His glimmers of grace are there for you and for me. Whatever God has in store for you, He is there for you. Only He can bring us the hope, peace, joy, and fulfillment that we so desperately crave.

Whatever chapters this new year opens for you, may you embrace them and cling to Christ. May you place ALL into His hands. Rest in His loving presence and allow Him to work in you and through you.

Whatever the new year brings, Christ is there to meet us! He is there to give us the gifts we need to embrace and get through each new chapter! Please. Never lose sight of what is truly important. Never give up hope and, the wonderful news is that, with Christ by your side, there is always hope. And by "hope" I am not talking about the more shallow kind of “hope” we tend to speak of on a regular basis (such as when we "hope" the weather is good or we "hope" we get to eat a certain food). I’m talking about the hope we feel deep down in our hearts even when everything seems bleak and dark.

Consider how the Holy Family must have felt on the flight into Egypt. How frightened they must have been! But how full of hope they were because they had faith and they trusted in God. That, my friends, is true hope.

There is always hope! God bless you all!

"The one who has hope lives differently."

Pope Benedict XVI

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