Sleepy-eyed.  I haven’t slept well for a while.  I suppose I could blame it on grief or hormones or not enough exercise.  To be honest, they all factor in.  But the reason doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the fact that all this middle-of-the-night wakefulness quickly devolves into middle-of-the-night worry sessions or beat-myself-up sessions.  Verbal assault from the voices in my brain (fueled by the father of lies–and don’t worry, they’re not “voices” like psycho voices–they’re voices like garden variety talk-to-yourself voices) tell me I screw everything up: kids, relationships, finances.  The insidious voices tell me I’m lazy and alone and pretty dumb.  Heck, they’d blame the national debt and the unrest in South Sudan on me if I’d believe it.  They whisper that I’m not enough.  They mingle a little truth with a whole bunch of lies and I wake up each morning mentally sore and desperate to shake off the pummeling from the night before.  Now, dear, well-meaning reader, before you tell me I should spend that time when I wake up, praying, I’ll tell you, I do.  I do turn to the Father of Lights and he does comfort and bring peace.  Eventually.  However, destructive thoughts from myself and the accuser are just as real and come in with force and it’s a battle.  The shame and guilt of past mistakes blanket my soul and it’s hard to throw off the covers.  It’s hard to keep fighting back with Truth.  But I do.  And I am given rest which is infinitely more important than sleep.  The Truth and beauty of the words  His mercies are new every morning are a life-blood to me and I step into them like a garment every day.

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles this way–not with sleeplessness–but with believing the lies.  But I don’t think I am.  I think some of you do too.  I see it in your eyes when I pass you on the street and I hear it in your weary voice at the grocery store and I read it in your Facebook statuses and posts of Twitter:  you’re tired in both body and spirit.   You’re being fed half truths and it’s hard to combat them.

Maybe today, as we say goodbye to an old year (that for me feels more moldy than stale) it’s hard not to greet the new one with trepidation and resignation instead of hope and boldness.  Let me offer you two posts that I’ve read in the last 24 hours that were an encouragement to me and maybe they will be to you too. The first is from a woman I’ve never met and the second is from a dear friend.  And my friend, she’s the real deal.  Her ever-encouraging heart is big and full of blessing to everyone she meets.  She lives what she writes.

Enjoy.  Be encouraged.  Be filled with hope and restful sleep in the New Year–I know that’s my prayer!

How to Move Forward into the New Year…by Ann Voskamp

The One Resolution that Can Change Your Yearby Jennifer Dukes Lee

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3: 22-24


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