A New Year with God...when you'd rather not.

December 30, 2016

A new year. New resolutions...or even if you don't want to classify them as resolutions, a time when we want to reorder our habits and make some fresh starts.

I find it is a time I want to clean up my diet, make some new new professional goals and even clean up the house.
Yet, I often find I lack new resolutions with my faith. 
Even more so since getting sick.

Make It, Bake it, Fake it

I'm over starting a new year with the knowledge that this disease has taken another year of my life. That it has consumed all aspects of who I am. That it has left me tired and weary. Not wanting to engage with God. Not wanting to trust in Him. Not wanting to pray. Not wanting to cry out to God. Yet, I know as I enter a new year, actually as I enter any new day, this is exactly what I need to be doing. Crying out to Him. Bringing my fears and worries and frustrations to Him. And stopping and letting Him speak into my life. Letting His words fill me. Allowing His spirit to do its work in me. Even though the steps ahead seem blurry and muddy...

When I have hit these times I have struggled to open His word. My brain fog, and headaches have made wanting to read impossible. My cognitive load is overdone before I have even started. Then there is the decision where in the Bible do I start. Do I do the open randomly and place my finger somewhere and find I am in the midst of Numbers...might not be refreshing to the soul. Or I open my bible at a book and find I am facing a whole double page of text and my brain just panics! 

I know I am not alone in this. I know there are many out there who are struggling with their faith. Trusting God. Yet struggling in the everyday. Tired, weary, broken and in pain. 

As we start the new year I thought I'd share some devotions that might be of help to you, as they have been to me this past year.

1. Songs of Jesus by Timothy and Kathy Keller

A reading a day through the Psalms. Or in my case a reading every second day through the Psalms. I started the year delving in the psalms. I loved the short format. The passage of Psalm was on the page, the commentary and application and prayer below. Short and sweet. However, as life progressed I think I am now up to July. So...slow and steady, in my case it will become two years in the Psalms. 
Years ago a dear friend and pastor once suggested when I am burnt out to open the Psalms. To read a Psalm, to reread it. To meditate on it, and see how it speaks to you in that day. It might not, but the next day move on to the next Psalm. And get back into Gods word, however, slowly it takes you. 
I found that with this devotional it was way to awaken my soul back in God's word.
Find out more about it here.
Make It, Bake It, Fake It

2. Hope for the Hard Days- A 30 day devotion for the tired and weary by Rachel Lundy

A few months ago. I was tired and weary. I had just shared with my Life Group ladies that I was indeed tired and weary. I knew I needed to get back into Gods word, but I was currently going through a period of extreme nausea and pain. Only relieved by lying down. Opening Gods word had been the last thing on my mind.
I was thinking through where do I start. And I remembered a little while ago I had downloaded this free resource that Rachel had written. 
Rachel writes over at Cranberry Tea Time, and I love the way she shares, life, family and faith whilst living with a chronic illness. 
This faith is clearly seen in this 30 day devotional she has written. Each day a very short passage of scripture is followed by commentary and real life application on the passage. A short prayer rounds out the days devotion. For those with more cognitive prowess on some days, a suggestion for further reading is provided. Find it here. And did I stress that this e-book is free, a blessing from Rachel to us.
Hope for the Hard Days: A 30 Day Devotional for the Tired and Weary

3. She Reads Truth

The ladies at She Reads Truth now have a large number of daily devotionals you can delve into. I recently did their Dancing and Mourning series. There are both books of the bible you can delve into or themed series. I do find with the theme series there are a lot of bible passages for each day, and so often I find this a struggle with my cognition. However, if you access the web version you can click through to each of the passages. There is also an App, but there is a charge for downloading some of the series, so I just stick with the web version. The studies are clearly set out, short enough for the struggling brain and give you a chance for reflection and processing what you are reading. I particularly like that they take a day a week to memorise scripture and spend time reflecting on the week (or in my case, catching up from the week).

Now, those are the ones I have engaged in over the past year...I also asked my Life Group ladies what they recommend...here are some of their suggestions. I have not used any of these...so delve in if they look of interest to you.

First 5
This app encourages you to spend the first five minutes of your day with God. Thinking about that now, how can I not give God the first five minutes of my day. Download it and have a look. A short bible passage, some commentary and some prayer. I am a bit hazy during the first hour of my day...but at some stage in that time I should be able to give God five. Check it out here.

Adrian Plass, When You Walk
I love the intro to this book on the cover..."365 readings for ordinary followers of Jesus who sometimes find the going a bit tough." Uh huh! That sounds like a goer.
The readings are grouped into 30 themes. Each day has a few verses, commentary and then a prayer. Just a page of reading. Find out more here.

Paul Trip Wednesday Emails
A devotional sent to your email every Wednesday. Sign up here.

ESV Men's/Women's Devotional Bible
A year of devotions working your way through the scriptures. I have always thought about getting into this one...just hasn't been in the budget. More info here.

Desiring God on Facebook
Now this is one I have been following along. So often there is a blog post on suffering that really speaks into my day and my life. And it just pops up in my Facebook feed. Go check it out here if you haven't already.

So, a few ideas for you to delve into the new year. Or, if you don't feel like any of the devotions are for you, why not open the bible in the Psalms and let God meet you there. Or open one of the gospels and be reacquainted with Jesus and how real the Gospel is.
My prayer is that in the weary and hard days you will be able to spend some time in God's word and that He will transform you, as He continues to transform me.

May it be a truly happy new year, and not a time of dread! xx

Make it, Bake It, Fake it

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  1. Love this so much Katie! Thank you for your honesty and putting together this great resource of devotionals! Sharing this!



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