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Clean Slates of Possibilities or Endless Piles of Heaviness?

Clean Slates of Possibilities or Endless Piles of Heaviness?

Sheets of frozen white driven by cutting wind kept my snow-loving son indoors. By late afternoon, the worst moved past. Glittering flecks blew from drift to drift, tiny razor shards of snow bit into anyone brave enough to challenge the outdoors. My husband shrugged into his marshmallow puffed coat, scarf, and hat to make a trek into the front yard where a buried sidewalk needed clearing.

Our son, my husband’s little shadow scurried to pull on boots and insulate himself with layers of warmth, eager to step into the winter wonderland. I helped stuff him in and zipper him up. He talked of snowmen, and snowballs already rolled through his mind while I jerked mittens onto tiny hands. Together we opened the door. Brittle cold chased away all the accumulated coziness inside. I heard an intake of breath like a tiny gasp from the freezing slap across my little boy’s cheeks. I glanced down to see his short hesitation turn into enthusiasm and away he went.

Watching through the window, his bundled figure was dwarfed against sculpted hills and valleys. They dazzled pure and brilliant like whipped cream on hot chocolate. With each step he lifted his leg so high it nearly toppled him. I watched him reach far and nearly plant himself in a half-split. I saw the awkward toil of boy versus deep snow and wondered why he didn’t just plow through. But, as I watched, I realized what he was doing.

He was following his father’s footsteps.

Another new year can either look like an un-marred sparkling blank slate of possibilities, or an endless pile of heaviness waiting for shoveling. Surviving the holidays is one thing, gearing up for a New Year is another, almost like a little boy trying to stretch short legs to fill steps too far apart.

Moms and dads, as you look ahead to the pile of twelve months, gird your loins. There is a heap of stuff ahead.

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14; NIV

I’m pretty sure James, the brother of Jesus, had no objection to planning and goal setting. He wasn’t trying to thwart organization, but rather put life into perspective as a follower of Jesus. He recognized arrogance often underlies resolutions.

The most counter-cultural and seemingly counterproductive action may be the most beneficial. Put the year ahead on pause at the starting block.

Take time apart for humble intentional submission. God in His Sovereignty holds time and moves it toward His purpose. He desires our steps to be in tune with His and our plans to reflect His will.

Evaluate your walk with God throughout the past year and consider how to follow God more closely in the next. Plan ahead for times of spiritual reflection and renewal. Like a child putting his foot into the imprint of his father, we lead by example.

Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:15; NIV

Before you get out the planners and calendars, take time at the feet of One who holds your future. Search the Word and seek His desires. Step carefully into His plans and then follow His lead.

The spiritual import of our plans is foundational.

A year in a child’s life is a long stride, but to see children walking in their Heavenly Father’s footsteps is a precious sight.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves in Women’s Care at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.


  1. Such a needed reminder, as I am a planner and love to forge ahead with my plans. Many days I even forget to pray about them. I have learned, however, how much easier it is when my plans fall apart if I have prayed in advance about it all. Then I can hold my plans loosely and trust God with it all!

  2. Ms. Sylvia, Enjoyed your post, but couldn’t get past the image of your son trying to follow along in his daddy’s footsteps. Isn’t that exactly what each of us who claim Christianity be attempting to do? Loved, loved, loved the imagery of your post ma’am. God’s blessings.

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