The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

Hope for the New Year (Whether you’re Stumbling or Soaring)

Happy new year, friends!

I’ve been praying for you as we flip the calendar page and welcome 2018.

This morning the snowflakes are dancing beyond my window and covering my backyard in a canvas of white. And as I watch the snow pile high, I’ve been thinking about fresh starts and blank slates. If I’m honest, I have to admit that sometimes the blank slate of a new year feels exciting and fresh, and other times it feels overwhelming and hard.

Sometimes I greet the vast stretch of a brand new year with expectancy and ambition. I dream new dreams and script new resolutions. I imagine all the possibilities that lie ahead and turn my wishes into prayers.

But other times that fresh canvas of a days looks daunting and difficult. It’s hard to embrace a new year if we’re reeling from the sting of the old year. It’s not easy to dance with expectancy when we’re tripping over disappointment and despair.

Sometimes we stumble into a new year. And sometimes we soar.

But God has a plan for our steps either way.  Whether we’re limping or leaping, whether we’re plotting goals for tomorrow or merely pining for strength for today, our faithful Father walks besides us.

And maybe what we really need to hear as we step upon the blank pages of 2018, is that God’s got it.

We may not know what the year will hold, but we know Who will hold us. We may not be able to define our new year’s dream, but we know Jesus is able to do more than we dream or  imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

The hope of our new year isn’t found in our perfect plans or resolutions, the hope of this new year and all the new years to come is found in the resolute faithfulness of our Perfect Savior.

Wherever our steps may lead, I’m glad we get to walk together again this year. Thanks for lingering here. Thanks for sharing life and faith and prayers.

Let’s keep surrendering our steps to the One who knows the way. To the one who IS the WAY. (John 14:6)

And for all of my friends whose stride feels a little shaky in this first week of this new year. And for every heart that feels a little empty, I dug this gut-honest post out of the archives just for you.

It comes with a prayer. A hug. And a reminder that our weariness doesn’t exempt us from God’s wonder.

May we see Him in new ways this year…

We were sitting in the dimly lit corner of our favorite Italian bistro when my husband asked the question that made my heart lurch: “What are you looking forward to in the new year?”

The last hours of the last day of December stretched before us like a gift wrapped in moonbeams and grace, and I was grateful for time to connect as we bid another year goodbye.

I cast him an appreciative smile, knowing that my quiet guy would have been content to merely eat his steak and savor our momentary break from baby babble and toddler tantrums.

Normally, his inquiry would have aroused my love for conversation and undaunted dreaming. But as I sliced into my baked potato on that particular New Year’s Eve, I realized I was strangely devoid of words.

I felt more hollow than hopeful, more discouraged than dreamy.

I wanted to answer with expectancy and exuberance, to rehearse to my willing listener a list of grandiose goals and polished plans. But I was road-weary from a long and exhausting year. Unexpected disappointments had left me discouraged, and I felt depleted by the demands of the daily grind.

My husband buttered his roll and waited in comfortable silence. And I felt a cavernous ache rise from the tip of my toes to the corners of my muddled mind. I held his green-eyed gaze and wondered if my heart would split wide open if I put words to my unseen struggle.

I willed my tears not to drizzle, and I blinked long and slow in an attempt to hide the drops of watery despair.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” my husband asked, reaching across the table to lace his fingers through mine.

“I just feel so empty inside …” I cried, as I tipped my water glass to my lips and sipped the last drop. “I don’t how God can use me in the new year when I feel so depleted by the old one.”

Maybe you’ve been there before — too haggard to hope, too wary to wish, too exhausted to anticipate.

Maybe you’re there right now, toes tired from the journey, your heart feeling bankrupt by the barrage of life.

But if you’ve limped into the new year with muted hope and a poured-out soul, I’ve got good news for you. Our emptiness doesn’t disqualify us from Christ’s extravagance. Our weariness doesn’t exempt us from His wonder.

In fact, there’s a little verse tucked into the second chapter of the gospel of John that suggest that our emptiness might actually give us reason for expectancy in the new year.

“Three days later, they all went to celebrate a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee … While they were celebrating, the wine ran out … [And Jesus said] ‘Fill each water pot with water until it’s ready to spill over the top.’” John 2:1a, 3a, 7b (VOICE)

You see, we have a Savior who delights in filling empty vessels.

If we read the entire account of Christ’s first miracle in John 2:1-12, we learn that Christ didn’t view those barren wine jugs as a reason for condemnation; He simply viewed them as a wordless invitation. A subtle summons to reveal His glory in a fresh new way.

Think about it, friends: if our lavish Savior can use poured-out pots to display His splendor, surely He can use poured-out people to do the same. We need only to admit our void and ask for His help.

A waiter lingered beside our table with a pitcher and reached for the glass near my plate.

“An empty one!” the waiter exclaimed as he held the fluted glass up to the light. “I can fix that!” he said with a silly smirk. Then he tipped the pitcher with a gallant swoop and filled my glass to the brim.

My husband raised his eyebrows as the young man waltzed away. “Maybe being empty isn’t so bad after all …” he said with a wink.

I took a long sip of water and let it wash away the lump of tears that had been sitting in my throat.

Then, I cast my husband a grateful grin and let an unexpected giggle spill from my lips.

After all, it suddenly seemed like I was in the perfect position to embrace a new year brimming with possibility.

It’s always easier to step into a new year when we know we’re not walking alone. So, before you go, let us know how we can cover your steps in prayer. Leave a note in the comments and we’ll pray each other through.


19 thoughts on “Hope for the New Year (Whether you’re Stumbling or Soaring)

  1. Some days are easier than others. The treatment for MS is rough– 3 injections a week and all the medication you have to take. I am thankful for a supportive husband and wonderful son that are so supportive. Most of all I am thankful for my Heavenly Father that walks with me each step of the way.

    January 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:11 am
  2. Traci

    I suffer from severe generalized anxiety and the last month or so has been really bad to the point that I don’t want to get out of bed most days even though I do. I tend to focus all my anxiety on my work and I don’t know if it’s because it’s easy to pin it there as it is a stressful job, if I am just burnt out or if I need to move on to a different job. I’ve been here 14 years and so moving on is hard but I hate waking up every day scared and filled with anxiety. But, my boyfriend wonders if I wouldn’t just find something else to pin my anxiety on if I wasn’t this job. He is very supportive and isn’t picking on me but he knows that my nature is anxious and worrying and so he wonders if leaving my job is really the thing to do or if it’s just because of who I am. Prayers would be so appreciated that I can conquer this anxiety and find peace and know where God is leading me. Thank you.

    January 3, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:11 am
    2. Mary

      Praying for you. I can relate to the fear and anxiety. It sounds like you have a good support system in your boyfriend. That is so important. Please know you are not alone. Peace to you in 2018.

      January 4, 2018 at 10:13 am
  3. Pamela B.

    Emptiness is the feeling that I have been having for a couple of months now. I have a guy in my life that is draining my spirit, and goes behind my back and speak negative of me to my mother and brother, to make him look good. On top of that my children have chosen me to be the savior of their life. running up my credit etc. I am not a person of complaints, God has made way out of no way. I just want to make sure I can make myself as happy as he Blessed me to be, through it all. Hardship, I don’t claim it. But the hole that is there to let go and move on knowing that I am needed, but in the wrong way. Help me to Pray into me, Forgiveness, True Love, Worthiness, Understanding, whatever message God is sending me may I receive it and find comfort in it. May my family seek Peace and comfort also in his word and find themselves worthy of talking to God, and asking for what they need. Peace to the New Year and Thank You for your words of comfort.

    January 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you and your family!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:10 am
  4. Karen Gray

    This new year hasn’t started out to good for us, my husband is sick with whatever is really going around right now, Christmas decorations still all over inside & out. I have pretty bad chronic pain from a bad head on car accident 12 years ago, so I can’t do a whole lot. It’s all over whelming to both of us!! God Bless!

    January 3, 2018 at 4:18 pm
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:10 am
  5. lc

    Please, please, please pray for my son and grandchildren going through ugly divorce.
    That is all I can say, except the risks are high and there seems to be no end to the lies and low level some will sink to. I’m trying to trust the Lord, but I fear for my one and only child’s safety. Very dangerous and unstable people out there. My sincere heartfelt appreciation.

    January 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for your family!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:09 am
  6. J

    I have been interceding for family who have got themselves involved in a serious cult through a relationship. Jehovah witness beliefs. We fear for his life and other members of family too who are inadvertently involved spiritually but not practicing.

    January 4, 2018 at 12:46 am
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for your family!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:09 am
  7. G

    I’m sick with flu and feeling very down. I don’t enjoy my work but the hours are good and it is close to home so I worry about leaving as not many jobs come up in our area. There is bullying in my workplace and this person has left me and other’s in tears and it is really getting to me. The person cannot be reasoned with and cannot see they are wrong in any way. I feel like I’m just getting through each day and there really should be more to life. I wish I could find my passion and work for myself or a nice company. Or be a stay at home wife.
    Praying for you all x

    January 4, 2018 at 1:17 am
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:08 am
  8. M. S.

    I suffer from serious depression, PTSD, anxiety, and migraine headaches. I am in the process of filing for disability. I don’t leave the house except for doctors appointments. My mental health seemed to only get worse in 2017 instead of getting better. I had to quit school, I am only 4 classes shy of having my masters degree in Counseling, but due to my symptoms I could not finish. My faith has taken a dramatic hit, so that is what I am asking prayer for. I am asking that my prayer life can return and that my faith will flurish. Secondly, I am asking for prayer that I will be able to move past the symptoms that I am experiencing so that I can reconnect with my family. This is the first time I have ever vocalized my problems, my extended family doesn’t even know what is going on, I havn’t even told them why I have been in the hospital so much (suicidal ideation). So this is very hard for me to ask publicly for prayer. Thank you for your prayers for a better 2018.

    January 4, 2018 at 8:52 am
    1. A McCarville

      Praying for you!! ❤️

      January 4, 2018 at 9:08 am
    2. Mary

      I can relate and will pray for you. I also have severe depression and it has robbed me of my relationships and even myself. I tend to isolate from everyone, including God. I try so hard to keep my faith strong but the numbness of depression takes over. Please just remember you are not alone. Peace to you in 2018.

      January 4, 2018 at 10:09 am
  9. Been praying past year I’d be closer to God and it hasn’t happened. Full of anxiety, worry, and fear of the future. Know I’m in God’s hands but see so many Christians suffering around me & desperate I so fear. Praying to be set free from worry & fear but….

    January 4, 2018 at 10:37 am

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