January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Trust in Christ

It’s a new day, a new semester, and a new year.

We are all home from vacations (check out a few candid shots below), our houses are cleaned of Christmas decorations, and it is officially day six of whatever New Year’s resolutions we will probably fail to keep past March.

(Jocelyn wondering why she can't just sit on mommy's lap like in Guatemala.)

I have never been a big resolutions maker. I figure if I set the bar low, or not at all, I won’t be disappointed with my failure to keep those promises. But my favorite author David Platt wrote a message on making resolutions, and I like his twist on them:

“To all of us who are in Christ, let us live our lives this year in the overflow of our faith in God. This is so key when we think about resolutions on New Year’s Day. If we are not careful in the way we approach them, resolutions, even the best resolutions, can only drive us into deeper dependence on ourselves. They become what we are going to try to do harder this year, or how we are going to change ourselves.

But remember that the essence of following Christ, what was initially displayed in your baptism was a renouncing of yourself, a death to yourself. It was a death to your every effort to improve yourself, to obey God in your own strength, in your own power, in your own resolve. Don’t do that.

(Four generations of Groenendyks.)

Instead, trust in Christ. Trust in Christ more this year, and ask him to do these things in you. Whether it is in your marriage, or in your relationship with others, or in your time in the Word, ask Him to produce faith in you, ask Him to bring that kind of fruit about in your life. Only He can do it.

We want this year not to be about things that we can do; things that we can manufacture in our own faith or in our own strength. Instead, we want lives that are clearly compelled, and impelled, by the very Spirit of God in us, doing immeasurably more than all we can even begin to ask or imagine. We want him to do things in and through us that we could never do on our own.

New Years is not about self-improvement or self-help. That would miss the entire point of Christianity. We have died to ourselves, and Christ lives in us. We want His life to flow through us.”

(Four generations of Broekhuis'.)

The first time I heard this message was exactly one year ago, when we were announcing to everyone that I was pregnant. It was a timely message for us, as we were both terrified about what our future of parenthood would bring. We both needed to take a deep breath and trust what God had in store for us, which was our precious daughter Jocelyn.

(Finally meeting Uncle James and Aunt Kristin.)

(And meeting Aunt Kayla for the first time too.)

And now, one year later, we have new challenges to face, new opportunities to learn to trust. Our contract with IAS is going to end in May, and we need to decide if we are going to stay one more school year or move back to the US in June. Right now we have no idea, with a less-than-two-months deadline to make our decision.

(Having a good time with Great Grandma Broekhuis' wig.)

(And knocking down pins at the bowling alley. A Broekhuis tradition.)

But all we have to do is trust. Trust not in ourselves or what we can do, but trust what God is already doing. He has always provided for us and guided us before, why wouldn't He do the same now?

(The whole Broekhuis clan.)

(Great Grandma and Grandpa Broekhuis.)

(The Dan and Karen Broekhuis clan.)

So maybe like us, you need to trust God in making decisions, big or small. In a conversation at church last week a woman said to us, “I believe God works through the desires of our hearts. He shows us exactly what he wants us to do through his Spirit inside of us, and gives us desires for where he would like us to go and what he would like us to do.” And if we are constantly praying for wisdom, I believe it’s right to follow those God-given desires. I had a desire to go to Dordt College, a desire to teach, a desire to marry Collin, a desire to move to Guatemala. In each of those decisions I prayed for wisdom and God answered with a desire.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

(The Potgeter Family.)

(Cousin...and friend...Jude.)

Or maybe like me, you need to trust God to be content, maybe with what you have or where you are in life right now. When I come back to Guatemala after a long vacation of staying in other people’s houses of plush carpet, where I don’t have to cook or clean, and I get to use fantastically crafted showers, I get really spoiled really fast. But instead of having a “woe is me” attitude, I can rest assured that we are in Guatemala, in our cute apartment, at this very time for a reason.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 

(Jocelyn cheering for daddy.)

Or maybe like everyone you need to trust God through the things in life that just don’t make sense, but will someday be made perfectly clear to you. We all need to have faith during seasons of life where we want to know “why,” but don’t yet know; we need to have faith through all of life’s trials and growing pains.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

(Jocelyn's Baptism.)

("This promise is for you and your children.")

Whatever it is, I hope you will give yourself a break this year, and simply trust in Christ. Trust that He will lead you and provide for you just as He always has.

Grace and Peace,