To the one who is struggling this New Year’s Eve …
(1) If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety today, keep pushing forward.
It’s worth it. There is hope. You are here for a reason. God is not done with you yet. How do I know? Years ago on New Year’s Eve, I was so depressed that I wanted to take my life and end it all. I knew I had people who loved me and cared for me, but at the moment I couldn’t see clearly and those things didn’t seem to matter. It was a dark time in my life. Then I remembered that I had asked the Lord earlier that year, “Lord, break me, mold me and make me into the man you’d have me to be.” As I reflected on that prayer and year that had gone by, I realized that He had answered my prayer and wasn’t done yet. With His help, I had to keep pushing forward. So, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation I encourage you to reach out to a trusted friend. Ask someone to pray for you. Do some soul searching. Find a counselor. Ultimately, ask God to help you. He will. He is able.
(2) If you’re struggling to pay your bills, keep pushing forward.
Pay what you can, when you can. Learn from your mistakes. Learn to do without a few things. We had to learn the hard way. Years ago, one morning while we were getting ready we heard a “thud” outside and the power went off. Yep! We were behind on our light bill, we missed paying the disconnection notice and they pulled our meter. We had to pay a huge deposit to get the lights turned back on. That sucked! A LOT. Our credit got so bad because we made some poor decisions. We ended up only being able to get really high rates on an auto loan and our credit cards, but slowly but surely we rebuilt. It took a long time. We made sure we never missed a payment and we rebuilt our credit over time. We also attempted to tithe at church, doing what we could each week. We don’t have a huge bank account, but we can tell you that God has provided time and time again. Your bank account doesn’t define you. Be a good manager of what God has given you.
(3) If you’ve thought about leaving your spouse, keep pushing forward.
I have given Kyndal more than enough reasons to leave me over the years. I never cheated on her, I just worked all the time. Then when I was around, I was a huge jerk. We fussed and argued from time to time too. One day though, we had a fight over the stupidest of things — ask me sometime, I’ll gladly share the story — but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. My marriage was over. I didn’t know what to do. I was broken. In the moments that followed, I remembered a marriage conference we attended and decided to ask Kyndal if I could pray with her. It took everything I had inside of me to ask her. She agreed and we prayed together. Then we got our kids to come to our room because they had witnessed the fight and we prayed together as a family. I can truly say that was a God moment in our marriage and family. God answered our prayers. He drew us closer together. He healed wounds. He has indeed done a work in our lives and family. Are we perfect? Ha! Heaven’s no, but I can tell you that our marriage has grown stronger over the years and we try and be real and transparent with our kids. I hope they turn out halfway decent.
(4) If you’ve lost your job or between jobs, keep pushing forward.
In the fall of 2019, I learned that Prisma Health was eliminating my position at Tuomey. I had the option to apply for a job in Columbia, but I decided not to. I took a step of faith and asked God to open doors. He did. Knock. Ask. Seek. We have not because we ask not. I can tell you that in the last few months (and the last decade) that God has provided time again and time again. My prayer has been, “Lord, open the doors you want me to walk through and close the ones that you don’t want me to enter.” He closed one a few years ago that I thought was an answer to prayers. It was painful. I was hurt and confused when I didn’t get the job. Now, I look back and I realize that I’m exactly where He wants me to be. Had other doors opened and a few not closed along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
(5) If you’re struggling with ___________, keep pushing forward.
You might be struggling with something else I haven’t named. Can I remind you of two things? (1) You are not alone. (2) Keep looking up! There is a verse that “stuck” for me in 2019. It’s Psalm 121:1-2. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” As I try and remind folks every chance I get wherever I am, keep looking up! … He is able. He is our source of strength and hope. If you follow Him, does that mean that you won’t have heartache and troubles? Absolutely not. He doesn’t promise smooth sailing, but He does promise to be with you. Keep looking up! Seek Him, daily.
In closing, I don’t share these things to toot my own horn or brag. I share these things to encourage someone who is struggling this New Year’s Eve. Keep pushing forward my friend, it’s worth it!
Is my life perfect? No. Do I still worry and have troubles? You betcha I do. But I have faith that helps me. I have a loving and supportive wife that loves and encourages me. I have friends that love and encourage me. I have people I follow on social media that encourage and challenge me.
If you ever need to talk, shoot me a private message. I’ll be glad to pray for you. To listen. To pass along resources I’ve found. If I haven’t dealt with it or can’t find something I have tucked away, I’ll try and help find something or someone who can help you. I can’t fix your problem(s), but I know a man who can! I’ll be glad to introduce you or at least the three of us can have a conversation together.
Keep looking up.
Keep pushing forward.
He is able.
*Originally shared on my Facebook page on Dec. 31, 2019. Still true. Slight tweaks were made today in 2021 to update dates and changes.