Are you looking forward to this new journey? I am hopeful, for many reasons.
Please welcome a new face to the blog, Lynn Kinnaman! She's an author and ministry leader with a heart for Jesus Christ. Today, she's here to share a devotional about taking a fresh start in life.
I hope that your heart will be encouraged by her message.
God bless you!
A New Beginning – A Fresh StartA New Year 2017 post by Lynn Kinnaman
I’m not much for resolutions, but I do feel a renewing with the beginning of a new year. After all, we’ve just come off the season of the birth of Jesus, the hope of the world, and we know the promise of salvation that He brings.
However, one January many years ago found me desolate. I felt no hope and couldn’t imagine a future. My life, as I’d known it, had disappeared.
I was getting a divorce.
I’d met my husband at church when I was 15, and on my 16th birthday he gave me a ride home from a youth event and we became an item. A little over three years later we got married and a few years after that we were blessed with two children.
Having a family meant everything to me. As an only child of divorced parents, I’d never really experienced the closeness and warmth I’d read about in books, and I relished the idea of building new traditions.
Then it was gone. After 28 years of marriage I had to begin again. The problem was, having gotten married so young and identifying myself as a wife and mother, I didn’t think I was anyone by myself.
In addition to the divorce, we’d also gone through bankruptcy. I had no job, no credit and no ideas.
Stripped of all the things that I thought had defined me, I was forced to figure out who I was and what I should do with the rest of my life.
I could crawl under the bed and hide, which was very appealing, or I could make some changes.
I knew I wasn’t alone. Through the darkest times of the divorce and bankruptcy I prayed and God sustained me. I was angry, I was frightened, I was hurt, I was shattered. I went to church and cried. Yet He never left me.
I felt unloved. He loved me and rejoiced over me (Zephaniah 3:17).
I felt betrayed. God was constant and He keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9).
I felt abandoned. God is faithful (Deuteronomy 31:6).
I felt tired. God gave me the strength I needed (Isaiah 40:31).
I moved, for the third time in months, and stayed with relatives in another state. I found a church, got a job, and learned a new skill, building websites.
It’s been years since I had to make that massive new start, but I haven’t forgotten the lessons I learned about how to do it.
First, I needed to get grounded. I needed to reconnect with God and find a community of friends who would support my faith and encourage my focus on Him.
Then, I needed to honor my losses but also go beyond myself so I could begin to count my blessings. This wasn’t immediate, it’s a process, but I got a job working with an organization that used animals for therapy for people who had injuries or other disabilities. It was a daily reminder of healing potential.
Finally, I wanted to help others. In 2 Corinthians 1:4 it says that God is the father of compassion and all comfort, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” I wanted to make that a reality so I took a coaching course and later becoming a Divorce Care Facilitator.
I’ve written books on divorce recovery, comfort verses and began a group called Solo Sisters to create a community for women, who are single for any reason, to support and encourage each other.
My fresh start opened a new path for me, but it worked because I committed it all to Him. As I remember that dark January long ago I realize God has blessed me beyond my imagining. Today I appreciate this new year, and feel full of joy and possibilities.
You don’t need a life-changing event to create a new beginning. If you don’t like where you are, imagine where you’d like to be, commit it to God then put one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way.
Lynn Kinnaman is a published author and website designer. She’s a Stephen Minister and founder of SoloSisters.com, welcoming women who are single for any reason.