You suck 2016.

I’ve read these exact words numerous times in the last week on my social media screen.

This year has been a tough one for many of us.

  • Political unrest and worry
  • Personal illness and loss
  • Death of celebrities we consider like family

A new year and a fresh start feels like it can’t come too soon.When It's Time for a Fresh Start|The Holy Mess

I could easily say 2016 was one of the most challenging years of my life.

Yet, curiously and miraculously — 2016 did not suck.

I count this as a good year.

You Are Refined

Difficult life circumstances are defining and refining.

The Bible talks about the refiner’s fire:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.

1 Peter 1:6-8

The past year brought me appreciation. I have been given so many blessings, and a life shake-up was what I needed to find joy in them again.

Living in a tiny apartment gave me an extra measure of excitement for our new house.

Being away from my family made me realize how much I need and want them as part of my every-day life.

Moving to a new city and state gave me perspective. Each member of our family is gradually sifting out what we want to keep and what we want to embrace. We have learned what is rock-solid and what shifts.

The year of 2016 brought me strength. You understand this. Isn’t it in life’s difficulties that you become the stronger person you are now?

When It’s Time for a Fresh Start

I love each New Year. I like fresh starts, crisp clean calendars, and bright to-do lists.

Before you say goodbye to 2016, consider the gifts God has given you in this last year, and not just the happy gifts. What will you leave behind and what will you carry into the new year?

Walking into 2017, you aren’t the same person who walked into 2016.

God promises us this,

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:5

Your only hope for a fresh start is found in Jesus and His salvation. If you plan to fix things on your own, you’ll soon be circling the same downward spiral.  In Jesus, we are a new creation and change is not only possible, it happens daily.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

When we turn to Jesus, a fresh start happens.

What did 2016 bring for you? What hopes do you have for this new year?When It's Time for a Fresh Start|The Holy Mess