How Your Spirit-Filled Example Can Lead Your Family Into the New Year

(Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash)

Sheets of frozen white driven by cutting wind kept my snow-loving son indoors. By late afternoon, the worst moved past. Glittering flecks blew from drift to drift, tiny razor shards of snow bit into anyone brave enough to challenge the outdoors. My husband shrugged into his marshmallow puffed coat, scarf and hat to make a trek into the front yard where a buried sidewalk needed clearing.

Our son, my husband's little shadow, scurried to pull on boots and insulate himself with layers of warmth, eager to step into the winter wonderland. I helped stuff him in and zipper him up. He talked of snowmen, and snowballs already rolled through his mind while I jerked mittens onto tiny hands. Together we opened the door. Brittle cold chased away all the accumulated coziness inside. I heard an intake of breath like a tiny gasp from the freezing slap across my little boy's cheeks. I glanced down to see his short hesitation turn into enthusiasm, and away he went.

Watching through the window, I could see his bundled figure dwarfed against sculpted hills and valleys. They dazzled pure and brilliant like whipped cream on hot chocolate. With each step, he lifted his leg so high it nearly toppled him. I watched him reach far and nearly plant himself in a half-split. I saw the awkward toil of boy versus deep snow and wondered why he didn't just plow through. But, as I watched, I realized what he was doing.

He was following his father's footsteps.

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Another new year can either look like an unmarred sparkling blank slate of possibilities or an endless pile of heaviness waiting for shoveling. Surviving the holidays is one thing; gearing up for a New Year is another, almost like a little boy trying to stretch short legs to fill steps too far apart.

Moms and dads, as you look ahead to the pile of 12 months, gird your loins. There is a heap of stuff ahead.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,' whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:13-14).

I'm pretty sure James, the brother of Jesus, had no objection to planning and goal setting. He wasn't trying to thwart organization but rather put life into perspective as a follower of Jesus. He recognized arrogance often underlies resolutions.

The most counter-cultural and seemingly counterproductive action may be the most beneficial. Put the year ahead on pause at the starting block.

Take time apart for humble intentional submission. God in His sovereignty holds time and moves it toward His purpose. He desires our steps to be in tune with His and our plans to reflect His will.

Evaluate your walk with God throughout the past year and consider how to follow God more closely in the next. Plan ahead for times of spiritual reflection and renewal. Like a child putting his foot into the imprint of his father, we lead by example.

"Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that'" (James 4:15).

Before you get out the planners and calendars, take time at the feet of one who holds your future. Search the Word and seek His desires. Step carefully into His plans and then follow His lead.

The spiritual import of our plans is foundational.

A year in a child's life is a long stride, but to see children walking in their heavenly Father's footsteps is a precious sight.

Sylvia Schroeder serves in Women's Care at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 14 and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.

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