It’s a new year. The posts about setting new goals, putting together vision boards, and starting over are rampant this time of year. Ads about getting into shape are everywhere! Want to start new projects? There’s an app for that. Planners for 2019 are flying off store shelves, faster than the stores can keep them in stock. Set a budget. Write down your goals. Make the lists…

…And it can be downright exhausting! Ummmm, can I just take down the Christmas decorations and get the kids back into school first? Please?

This time of year can be glorious to some and outright overwhelming to others. Some of us have it together, and others just want to survive another day. And that’s OK. Seriously! It’s OK.

There’s nothing magical about January 1st. It’s not any more important than June 17th or October 11th. The only thing that must change at the beginning of a new year is writing 2019 on all the important documents. Other than that, it’s another day. Because vision itself is not limited to a certain date on the calendar!

Now, I’m all for writing down goals. Vision boards are a great way to stay focused. But it should be happening all year long. Why limit yourself to only one day of the year to start new things? Goals can be started or revised all year long.

“But forget all that—

    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

For I am about to do something new.

    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Those two scriptures are some of my favorites. But do you notice that there’s no date attached to it? It doesn’t say, only on January 1st will God do new things. Those verses are good for any day of the year. New beginnings can happen at any time!

Let’s take a lesson from our kiddos. They aren’t limited to a calendar. They’ll start a new project whenever they want! I remember when my kids would get out their toys and build a new city in the living room. When they would go to their dad’s house, I would take down the city and vacuum under it. Then, they would come back, whine for a minute that I had destroyed their work. However, they would just start over and rebuild it. But they would change things. “Hey, let’s put the road over here and move the bank to the end of the street.” “Let’s put Batman in this car and Spiderman on this building.” Their imaginations would soar, and another city would be built.

So, don’t worry if January 1st comes and goes and you can’t write down new goals until February 15th. All that matters is that you consistently allow yourself to grow. Permit yourself to dream all year long. And, when there’s a thought that says, “Hey, let’s do this,” then get out a piece of paper and write that stuff down! Set some goals. Add it to your vision. And then get started.

This year allow your imagination to soar! But, let it happen as it happens. Let yourself be flexible. And have a great and wonderful 2019!

Gwendolyn Irene

It’s Perfectly OK to Not Be Perfectly OK.

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As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, many people are setting new goals and reaching for the stars. They’ve ended 2017 big and are ready for an even bigger 2018. My hat’s off to them and I’m truly happy for them. But, are you ready for a great big huge secret? My 2017 wasn’t so great. And to many of the single moms around me, they’ve whispered the same thing.

            Goals weren’t met.

            Relationships struggled or failed.

            Jobs were hard.

            Money was tight.

This has been said with eyes downcast and voices low. They felt as if they just barely made it to December 31st. And they are left wondering if something is wrong with them. Did God not hear their prayers? What happened?

So, I’m going to say this right here, Sweet Momma’s. It’s Perfectly OK to not be OK. It’s fine that life didn’t go as planned.

Want to know why I can say that? Because the Apostle Paul talks about it. Yes, the man who wrote most of the New Testament, the Apostle who taught us so much about faith, about God, and about the Holy Spirit.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. Philippians 4:11-14, NLT

I see so much in this passage:

Paul knew how to be content in all situations.

He understood what it was like to have nothing.

He knew what it was like to have everything he needed.

Paul’s circumstances were hard at times. I mean, it’s hard when we don’t have the money to buy the chicken, so we feed the kids ramen noodles and add a can of corn or peas.

Paul experienced betrayal and hurt from those around him.

He was shipwrecked…while doing his God-given assignment.

But, Paul held onto something stronger than hunger, better than friendships, and as steady as his personal commitment to serve God. Paul knew where his strength could be found. That strength was found in Christ, His Savior.

Because of that, Paul could say he was never in need. Because all he needed was in Christ and in that, was contentment.

So, ladies, feel free to acknowledge, out loud, that 2017 might not have been everything you hoped for! Allow yourself to grieve what didn’t come to pass. Embrace the fact that some things just weren’t OK.

But, never let go of the source of your strength! Never lose sight of what keeps you going every day. Life isn’t always going to be easy. But, you know what? Life is constantly fluid and as you trust God, it will get better. That season is just that; a season. A time. A line on the timeline of your life.

That test is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. The time will come when you can look back and say, “Things weren’t OK and that’s OK. Because I kept believing and now look at how God took a difficult time and turned it into something beautiful.”

Have an amazing 2018, Momma’s!

Gwendolyn Irene