New Beginnings Are a Part of Life
We are embarking on a new beginning in our family! By the time you read this, we will have a new addition to our family – Noah, our new puppy! Following our long time family puppy, Daniel, some would say he has some big shoes to fill. But, puppies don’t wear shoes therefore they can’t fill shoes. We might more aptly say that Noah has a big void to fill in our hearts and lives. I learned a long time ago, however that puppies don’t take the place of their predecessors.
Every new pup I’ve received has made his/her own NEW place. Each one has tackled life with me in their own unique way. Yet, they have all had one thing in common – they bring with them new beginnings and lessons. My last three cockers taught me much. Because they lived well into their later years, one thing they exhibited and taught me was the overwhelming difference between the puppy and the old dog.
Randy, my “old” guy puppy, insisted on escorting me up and down the basement steps to do laundry. Going up was a chore for him. I learned to carry the basket of laundry under one arm and, taking one step at a time, helped him up those steps by lifting his hind feet up each step. Some of you get this, but some are wondering why in the world would I go to so much trouble! I won’t even try to explain. Not certain I could. I can only say that is what we did. He died and in a little bit of time we got Hannah.
Hannah was young, strong and full of boundless energy. She also insisted on walking down and up those steps with me. I remember the first time we went back up the steps. She took two and three steps at a time then proudly sat at the top waiting for me to come up – I was obviously old and slow compared to her. She grew older and got slower and then there was Daniel.
Daniel was another new beginning. Karen Ward, a member of our Hope congregation, once gave Daniel a few racket balls for Christmas. He loved those balls and played with them until he got too old to do so. I was cleaning the other day and found one of them. I smiled at the memory of the countless hours of tossing that ball in the air for him to catch. I placed it in a drawer. Perhaps Noah will have a passion for playing with it as we start this next new beginning.
Thinking of those new beginnings reminded me of our new beginnings with God. There is the initial new beginning that moves us from death to life. That moment when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, when we realize our need for His grace and accept His gift of forgiveness Jesus secured for us when he went to the cross. It’s in that new beginning of receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior that we have our first new beginning.
But there are many new beginnings in our life with our God: times when we fail and sin and need a restart; times when we make a commitment to the Lord and then fail to follow through; and times when we misunderstand how God is leading and find ourselves outside of God’s will. These are all an opportunity for new beginnings. Some might refer to these as opportunities for second chances, but a second chance implies the risk for just repeating what we have been doing.
By new beginnings I am talking about re-thinking how we do life and making changes so we don’t relive the same mistake or sin over and over again – stuck in some sort of theological Groundhog Day. I’m talking about true new beginnings of change using the strength of the Lord to do a new thing. Isaiah says, “sing to the Lord a new song.” Living the new beginnings is recognizing the ways we miss the mark of living with God (i.e. sin) and beginning to live differently. One challenge might be how we find time to spend with the Lord in scripture. Many of us make a plan to get up earlier, but when the alarm goes off, we hit the snooze button again. The cycle continues – make a promise to do better tomorrow, tomorrow comes and we hit the snooze button again – repeating the pattern of failure. Maybe a new beginning would be to choose a different part of the day to protect for the Lord – to be His and only His.
Maybe there is a problem in your life that is a bigger challenge or even a more difficult sin. Is there a new way you can approach your situation so that the victory of a new beginning can be yours?
Our Lord is not only a Lord of grace and forgiveness, a God of second chances. He is also a God of new beginnings. So take heart, leap to attention (if only in your mind and heart) and enjoy what God is doing in your new beginnings!