Font Size » + | -By Tonya Snodgrass It’s that time of year again. All the holiday festivities are over, and people are as determined as ever to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions (especially after indulging in all the Christmas treats!). I’m not much of a resolution person myself, but there’s something about the New Year that makes it easy to set goals. I think it’s because we love fresh, clean starts. Knowing there is a whole new year full of possibilities brings out our desire to accomplish big things. However, as much as we love new starts, endings aren’t always that easy for us. In a sense, we have a hard time actually ending our endings. While we might be excited and ready to open the next chapter of our lives, it’s difficult for us to leave certain things in the past, especially if the last year didn’t end as neatly as we hoped it would. Maybe 2018 simply didn’t end the way you envisioned. The divorce was finalized. The pay cut came. The car needs repairs . . . again. Instead of a perfect ending where everything makes sense and all loose ends are tied up, maybe this New Year has left you with a cliffhanger. You’re wondering how you’re going to make it through 2019 when you barely survived 2018. As hard as your situation might be right now, I want you to be encouraged. Throughout Scripture, God shows us over and over again how He creates beautiful beginnings from what seem like tragic endings. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, betrayed Jesus in the most brutal way. On the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter blatantly denied he had any connection with Jesus. Not only once, but three times. Can you imagine that? Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, yet when his faith was tested, he failed miserably. In our churches today, someone who denied Jesus would most likely be dismissed or deemed a lost cause. However, shortly after His resurrection, Jesus sought out Peter and asked him to take care of His followers. After what was probably Peter’s deepest disappointment, Jesus immediately redeemed his life and set him on track to become one of the most influential founders of the church. I’m sure accepting Jesus’ forgiveness wasn’t easy for Peter. He had turned his back not only on his friend and teacher but on the one he believed was the Messiah, the Son of God. And yet, there Jesus was, offering him a brand new start. All Peter had to do was choose: would he allow his mistakes and brokenness to determine his path, or would he trust in Jesus’ offer of redemption? Just like Peter, we have the choice. We can choose to let our “bad endings” or mistakes determine the course of our next chapter. Or-we can choose to trust that God will redeem our brokenness to create a new beginning that will lead to something more wonderful than we could ever imagine. Choosing to trust God’s plan won’t make everything easy. Whatever struggles you are facing right now are very real, and walking through them will take time. But trusting that God delights in creating beautiful things from our brokenness helps us live in confidence, assured that no pain is ever wasted. Regardless of the year you’ve had, don’t let the ending discourage you from pursuing God. What lies in the past is already done. We can’t change what has already happened, and while consequences might follow us, the one thing we can do is lean closer and closer into Jesus. About the Author Tonya Snodgrass works one-on-one with behavior students at a local school district. She is also the administrative assistant to the pastor at Journey Church of the Open Bible in Urbandale, Iowa. When not working, she can be found at either a coffee shop or a gym.