The ragged remnants are all that now remain of 2018.

The year had some incredible high points. The year also had some of the lowest times I can remember … and I am tired. I am soul-tired, ready for a new beginning in a new year.

These days between Christmas and New Year’s Day make me pause for awhile, make me sit and think and sort through all the items I have stored in my mental attic. Much of it is clutter that serves no useful purpose, like much of the stuff in my home that my daughter and daughter-in-law have been helping me sort through and decide whether to keep or discard. The thoughts need to be sorted, too. Only I can do this. Only I know which of these should be given up and which should be kept in the memory box to bring out when the time is right. It’s a lonely, solitary, sometimes painful task. It’s a necessary task if I’m to cast off all that hinders.

Some thoughts I tend to linger on more than others. Isn’t that the way of it? Dwelling upon the memories of good times with good people calms the soul and warms the heart like no other tonic. These are pasted in scrapbooks of the mind and placed with care in mental treasure chests to be cherished in the days and years to come.

The painful experiences must be brought out and considered, too. Like a carpet stain that has not been properly removed, these thoughts must be completely cleansed from our minds or they will continue to reappear and disturb us. You know what I mean. Pain, loss, resentment, unforgiveness, whether on our own behalf or on behalf of people we love, can rob us of peace and joy if left to fester. The only way to get rid of them is to deal with them, no matter how offensive we find this at present. A deep, thorough washing and scrubbing is indicated for these stains of the mind. The sense of cleanliness and purity left afterward is worth the dirty work of the moment.

As I prepare for a new year with all its hopes and dreams and plans, I am reminded again of the word I have chosen for 2019: restore. I came across this word during Bible reading, and it resonated in so many ways — in body, mind, soul, spirit. Consider these verses:

“For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD … .” Jeremiah 30:17 KJV.

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten … .” Joel 2:25 KJV.

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” Psalm 51:12 KJV.

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 KJV.

Yes, “restore” is the word my mind should hold fast in 2019 as I stand on the promises that never fail.

I will share one more verse. In a devotional penned by my dear friend, Dr. Don Thompson, in his series of “Daily Praise Moments,” Don cited Isaiah 43:19: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Restoration. Newness of hope. Roads in the wildness. Rivers in the desert. May we be blessed to see all these things in 2019.

Happy New Year.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at Lin

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