New year, new you, right? The start of a new year can feel like a reset button–a fresh calendar full of opportunities to do more, to do better. But what if you and your girls have walked into 2022 with the same things that were bringing you down in 2021? What if the hope you felt when the ball dropped has given way to the all too familiar feelings of disappointment and shame?
I have the best news: hope is not found in a new calendar year; hope is found in Jesus.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says this: “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” I’m sure you’ve heard this verse before, but let me fill you in on what came before it. The book of Lamentations is not just the cry of one man but rather it is written as the city of Jerusalem personified. Jerusalem had been living in sin and direct disobedience to God (Lam. 1:5,8), so God allowed it to be absolutely destroyed by the Babylonians. The city was leveled, people were killed, and those who lived were taken into Babylonian captivity. Before verse 21 in chapter 3, Lamentations is a chapter full of weeping, sorrow, and tons of regret.
Enter Lamentations 3:21. “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope…”
In the midst of all of the terrible things that were happening to Jerusalem and all of the terrible things its people had done, there was a reason to hope. Not because everything that they had lost was miraculously restored to them but because the Lord’s mercy renewed for them day after day.
Just like Jerusalem, we mess up. Our girls mess up. And just like Jerusalem, we serve the same God who wants to renew and refresh us every day, in every moment. So how do we walk in that truth instead of wallowing in shame and remaining unchanged?
1. We remember.
Shame is reserved for those who forget to remember the depths of God’s grace. Grace is a free gift we don’t deserve–aka forgiveness and relationship with the Father. Shame is a tool of the enemy to keep us thinking about all of our sin until we’re too paralyzed by guilt to live for the Lord. When we call to mind the abundance of grace that God loves to give us, shame doesn’t stand a chance! Remembering God’s grace leads us to the only thing that removes the sin between us and the Father and restores our relationship: repentance. (Romans 2:4)
2. We repent.
Sin is a part of life, and there’s literally no way to avoid it. God knows that, and He doesn’t demand perfection from us (can I get an amen?!). However, He does command repentance–confessing our sin, accepting forgiveness, and turning from our sin. Sin will always put distance between us and the Lord, and that’s why He offers unlimited amounts of grace–because He loves us and longs to walk as closely with us as possible.
For whatever you’ve walked into the new year with, and whatever you may pick up on the way, His grace is sufficient. Our God is so kind that whenever we choose to repent, He wipes the slate clean, as if we had never messed up to begin with. Our God is so kind that He will not let shame keep us from doing incredible things for His kingdom. And our God is so kind that He offers restoration and second chances just because He wants to be near to us.
As long as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, His grace for us will never run out.
Alyssa Lewis is a Nashville area native, enneagram enthusiast (super basic, she knows), and huge advocate of mental health. She has been serving in girls ministry for several years and it is her heart’s desire to work with young women in a vocational ministry capacity in the future. She is passionate about seeing young women grow from a basic knowledge of the Lord to a genuine love for Him and active pursuit of relationship with Him. Alyssa loves any time spent with friends, singing at the top of her lungs, and eating ice cream—preferably Jeni’s. Connect with Alyssa: Instagram