Today’s Truth

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)

 

Friend to Friend 

“I’m not doing this again,” I proclaimed, and I meant it with all my heart.

Just a few days before, I spent a dark, rainy weekend packing our lives into boxes and then unloading them into a new place in a new city.

Though the bulk of the work was behind me, I felt exhausted and unsatisfied. I didn’t look forward to new memories and planting roots, because this new place had no more certainty than the last one. I feared another weekend much like the one I’d just experienced was all too close.

So, I announced I wasn’t doing it again … but my husband’s career required us to relocate often. Although I knew I couldn’t cling to the idea of never moving again, I could purpose to do it differently the next time.

Why do we need this lamp? There are perfectly fine lights on the ceiling. Who needs headboards for the beds? The wall will be support enough. This dresser isn’t necessary. We can stack clothes on the shelf in the closet.

And so it went. One thing at a time, I whittled away at our stuff and created a simpler, much more manageable life of mobility.

In Today’s Truth, God promises to deliver His people, the Israelites, from their exile. After years in captivity, they would have rejoiced at the freedom to return to their homeland. But to get there, they would have to travel a long distance.

Their travel would look quite different from ours — no plane to catch and no moving van to haul their stuff. So you can imagine the challenge this nation would face when they found themselves standing in front of deep waters or difficult rivers.

Men, women, children, livestock and all their belongings would have to find a way through these physical obstacles.

Though we may not come upon an actual river, we will likely encounter something in the next year that reminds us of a rushing current or suffocating smoke. Notice how Today’s Truth says, “When you go through deep waters … When you go through rivers of difficulty … When you walk through the fire of oppression.”

When. Not if.

The nation of Israel was guaranteed to encounter all of these on their journey, and I think we can count on it too. So, let’s prepare for it.

When I realized the uncertainty of my family’s future, I purposed to get rid of all of the extra, unnecessary things that weighed us down—the things we absolutely could live without and would ultimately free us up to follow God wherever He chose to lead us.

After that day, my family moved another seven times. We actually got pretty good at it. Our things became so simplified that we accomplished one of our last moves in a matter of hours.

We all have extra, sometimes in our physical surroundings, and sometimes in our spiritual ones. To prepare for the troubles sure to surface, there are probably some things we don’t need to bring with us into the new year.

So, I’ve started asking myself a different question. Instead of pondering what do we need, I began to consider what don’t we need. Sometimes, the one thing we don’t need could be the one thing that drags us under.

Of course, no matter how prepared we feel, we’ll never be able to conquer our troubles alone. God didn’t just warn of potential problems ahead, He included promises to stand on in the midst of them.

God will be with us. We will not be overtaken. We will not be utterly consumed.

As we head into a new year, let’s start this one prepared, so when we face the trials of life we will stand. Undaunted by deep waters. Ready for rivers of difficulty. Fearless in the face of the fire.

Is there something you need to leave in 2022 in order to prepare for 2023?

 

Let’s Pray

Dear God, Thank You for the promise of Your presence as I travel through 2023. Show me what I need to leave in 2022 in order to be ready for Your plans in 2023.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

What don’t you need in your physical things? To help you answer this consider: If you had to move tomorrow, what would you throw away or give away?

What don’t you need in your spiritual life? Is there unforgiveness in your heart that you need to leave in 2022? Is there a habit that keeps you from growing spiritually?

 

More from the Girlfriends

Katy would love to help you leave fear behind as you begin a new year. Click here to download your free gift of 7 Prayers to Help You Smile Without Fear.

© 2022 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.

 

Not many people know that Girlfriends in God relies solely on the ongoing generosity of friends like you. As a global nonprofit ministry, financial support from sisters all over the world fuels our efforts to produce biblical devotions with the goal of equipping women to apply the gospel to all of life. Would you consider making a small gift, or becoming a monthly partner, to help sustain GiG’s efforts? To make a donation please go to https://girlfriendsingod.com/donate/

Did someone forward this devotional to you? Click here  to receive Girlfriends in God weekday devotions delivered directly to your inbox!

6 Responses to “One Question to Ask Before You Begin the New Year”

  1. Avatar photo Debbie says:

    Katy,
    This message is one that I truly relate to. I love Christmas, the lights , the decorations but this year was different. I am asking myself was the celebration truly to honor the birth of our Lord and Saviour, or was it so busy that I put more effort in preparations than I did reflecting on the reason for this season.
    Sadly my answer is I spent my time in preparing rather than honoring Jesus.
    As a result I feel overwhelmed and empty. Why, because of my focus for material things, gifts,not eating right,and lack of sleep.

    As I take my decorations down, this is the perfect opportunity to simplify,discard,and donate items that I won’t even miss in 2023.
    Not only do I need to do this with material items, but with my spiritual walk by removing barriers keeping me from seeking GOD with all my heart, mind,and strength.

    For me this is not a resolution but a lifestyle change. Thank you for this encouraging message! I am inspired to focus on the undeserved Grace and Mercy given freely to me a sinner. I believe simplicity is key.Happy New Year.

  2. Avatar photo Stephanie says:

    I love your message! What a beautiful reminder.
    I’ve always focused on what I need to accomplish in the new year. But this is a refreshing way of looking at what I need to leave behind to grow (spiritually & physically) in 2023.

    This year I’m leaving behind timidness, self doubt and sluggishness. All of that so that I can prioritize my mental health, physical health and be more present in relationships and opportunities God has blessed me with.

    • Avatar photo Katy McCown says:

      Amen Stephanie! 2 Timothy 1:7 came to my mind as I read your comment, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” Happy New Year!

  3. Avatar photo Emily says:

    Thank you for this! I stumbled upon this message as I was looking to spend time with God right as the new year began. I will be 19 this month and that scares me, but I’m also so excited for the plans that God has in store. It really struck me how you pointed out the word choice in the scripture. “When. Not If.” I know for certain I will experience difficulties this year. However it’s nothing that God cannot handle. I know that as long as I put Him at the forefront of everything I do, it will be okay. 🙂

  4. Avatar photo H says:

    As a military spouse of 16 years I relate to this so much.

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8