Hope for When the New Year Brings the Same Old Struggles

{image: Iakov Kalinin / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: Iakov Kalinin / 123RF Stock Photo}

Ever feel like there’s really nothing new about a new year?

The kids still wake up fighting over who gets to pour the cereal and who will make the eggs. The laundry lays in kicked-over piles along the hallway where we folded it (for the second time) the day before. The dishes pile in sinks we swear we just emptied last night.

Nope. Nothing new there.

Another year dawns and I’m still trying to figure out marriage (it’s been 16 years this month). . . still raising a gaggle of emotional girls. . . still pursuing help for the one who’s missing part of her brain and the one whose Bipolar mixes with preteen hormones like vinegar and baking soda in an elementary school volcano project.

And come to think of it, I’m still trying to figure out how to keep the cat from shredding the toilet paper and barfing on the carpet outside my bedroom.

It’s the same old stuff cluttering up the house, the mind. . . the soul.

Except it’s not the same, is it? Not really.

It may feel like I’ve awakened in the movie “Groundhog Day” again, but if I look close at the details, I see it: I’m not the same me.

  • I’m physically healthier because of a surgery I never expected.
  • I’m emotionally stronger as I deliberately ask for (and sow and grow into) better in my marriage.
  • I’m spiritually deeper as I read my Bible daily after years of allowing devotionals to be my connection to God.
  • I’m relationally freer as I’ve stopped hiding my broken marriage in fear of people’s judgment and started letting them love us through the struggle.

This New Year, things may look the same on the surface, but they aren’t. And they never will be again.

Not for me. And not for you, friend.

Because growth and redemption aren’t a flat road across life. They’re a winding road up the mountain of hope. {Tweet This}

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber

–Psalm 121-1-3 NIV

We’ll circle back around the same side of the mountain time and time again—but always a little higher up, a little closer to the One who beckons us: “Climb. Come closer to me. You are not alone. I’m an expert in ascending the mountain of struggle and sacrifice. We’ll do this together.”

So whether you face the New Year with a burst of joy or a sigh of grief—whether you’re setting bold resolutions or simply resolving not to give up—trust the process. Trust the drive up the mountain. It may not look new, what you’re going through, but you are different now. And while that may not make it a “happy” New Year, it’s certainly a recipe for a powerful one.

Walking alongside you in hope,


Get Your Joy Back CoverP.S. If part of your mountain-circling journey is raising a child with special needs, my new book’s officially out today. We’re giving away 15 copies over at Goodreads.com. Stop by and enter to get one. Let’s get that joy back in 2015!

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  1. Nina says

    I went to bed early. woke up and a few hours later I realized it was the New Year. OH, I pondered, hmm, ba-humbug,,whatever… Remembering that I have usually stayed up and listened for the neighborhood ‘fireworks’ welcome in the new year. Then touched bases with God, hope for what this next year brings. Again I just pondered. Now what? What do I want to look to for this next year? There has been some shifting in our focus as we look to and for the future of our child/young man, that may not be able to live independently. I shall be grateful for all the progress last year brought, and keep pressing into the one whom I have believed. Thanks for this post Laurie

  2. Elizabeth Jones says

    This really resonated with me Laurie. The Holidays brought out some of my wounds and bruises in my heart and soul and it left me feeling abut loopy. I felt like I was going backwards for a time and if I am totally honest, I still feel like I am one step from falling off the cliff, BUT GOD. Amidst this STUFF- I have been blessed to serve in my new church in AMAZING ways which have been totally healing and awesome. And some of my healing has come from revealing some of this ugly stuff to brother and sisters in Christ who can love me through it. I love what Nicco below said- that we need to give humble attention to our broken condition to help us stay focused on the Healer. That is AWESOME. Makes brokenness sound not so scary because it keeps us clinging to our Rock.

  3. Nicco says

    Change doesn’t come naturally for us, so God requires brokeness as tge catalyst. Humble attention to our broken condition helps us stay focused on the Healer who lives to heal us. Thank you for being the encourager by your openess and prayers.

    • says

      The openness… I think that’s the biggest gift in the brokenness, if we let it be. It’s given me such a deeper connection with people whose love I never even knew I was shutting out before!

  4. Hopefulangel says

    Thank you Laurie! I needed this important reminder this morning. This year WILL BE different because I am asking God to allow it to be. I have come to the realization that my life is the roller coaster, not the merry-go-round that sometimes I long for. I have to learn every day how much I have to be thankful for and to look forward (and up) not back to things I cannot change. Thanks again for this reminder. Today, I am thankful for the life and blessings I have.

    • says

      “Look forward and not back to things I can’t change” . . . Isn’t that the truth! We always drive in the direction we’re looking. Keep looking up, friend. <3