I have many childhood memories. One of my favorites is remembering Sundays when my mother treated my brothers and me to Italian ices after church. It didn’t happen every Sunday, but on the ones that it did, you can bet we were three very happy children. Even now, just thinking about those ices makes me smile.                                                                                    

It’s always a pleasure to remember the good times in our lives. Unfortunately, all of our memories aren’t good ones. They are a mixture of the good and the bad: divorce from the spouse you thought you would spend your life with, death of a loved one, loss of your dream job, a child’s illness.                                                                                                                                      

Memories of loss and hurt can be very painful and it can become a challenge not to let them color your present and your future. But there’s a two-part process that can help you and keep you from focusing too much on what is gone.                                                    

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18)

Have you ever had an argument or disagreement with someone and spent days or even weeks afterward thinking about what you should have said? Sometimes we replay a past incident over and over in our minds thinking about what we should have said or should have done. That’s not always best for us. It’s important to learn from your past but it’s just as important not to live your life in the past. Doctor Johnnetta B. Cole, Educator and past Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, says, “. . .let history and past experience instruct rather than determine your destination.” In other words, learn what you can from your past experiences but do not allow them to determine your present or future.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)

A life lived in the past causes you to miss new blessings from the Lord. Everything you’ve gone through – the good and the bad – has contributed to making you the woman you are today. Have you ever seen a glass artist at work? The artist uses the hottest fires to mold and shape glass into beautiful works of art. The ultimate artist, the Creator of the universe, uses every fire you go through to mold and shape you into the beautiful woman of God He created you to be. He promises to make a way for you, and He will do new things in your life. Hold on to the promise of a new thing as the Lord makes streams in your wasteland.  

This past year is over and whether it was a good one or a bad one, it’s gone; never to be seen again. There’s nothing you can do to change the things that you didn’t like. You can’t go back. But what you can do is focus on today and your tomorrows yet to come.

Use your focus to create a year in which you walk in agreement with God by being the woman He’s called you to be, helping the people He placed you here to serve and doing all the other things He’s destined you to do. Make this your “Yes, Lord!” year and He will do amazing things through you and for you.