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New Year Devotion

Seven Promises for a Triumphant New Year

By Janet Perez Eckles

"You cannot stay home," my father said, "you have to go to school."

I trembled.

My 12-year-old heart anguished. Only days after my arrival from Bolivia and unable to understand a word of English, culture shock shook my world. Sixth grade girls huddled a few feet away, pointed at me and giggled. I struggled to understand them. And I couldn't figure out the teachers' instructions either.

But what paralyzed me with fear was the relay races in which I was told to participate. The distance I'd have to run between the starting point and the next runner where I'd hand off the baton made my stomach cramp.

For most, the distance was short, but for me, it ran the length of the world. No one knew the anguish that burned inside.

Dreadful thoughts would rumble like thunder. What if I should stumble or drop the baton? What if I fell or cause my team to lag far behind? Those visions tormented me before every race.

Have you been there? Another year begins. Another race. One more stretch of life is before you, and you wonder if you'll make it. No one hears the storm that rumbles inside. Ahead is a journey, uncertain and often painfully foreign. Sweat pours out. And you ask, "Will I make it one more step? Will I make it to the finish line?"

But while we question, God is not on the bleachers. He's right on the racetrack, right beside us, hearing our every sigh of stress. Watching each tear that falls. And listening to each doubt that pours from our anxious heart.

And in the midst of it all, His reassurance pours and peace blots out fear. Even when we don't understand the language of adversity, we step on the racetrack of life. And with the God of the universe as our divine coach, He takes us to the finish line with these seven promises:

With the firmness of His Word, He will give us confidence.
With His grace, He will lighten the load.
With His promises, He will cheer us on.
With His mighty hand, He will hold us up.
With His mercy, He will bring us through.
With His strength, He will keep us on track.
And because of His love, triumph will shine.

Looking back, how silly I was to be nervous. His calmness now rules. No matter how long the distance, how arduous the journey, or how threatening the obstacles, my legs don't need to tremble. And my heart doesn't need to race when facing the race of life.

And with fear left in the locker room of negative emotions, God's cheering fuels the soul: "those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Whether facing another year, another day or another moment, it was my blindness that helped me to see the beauty of my world. With spiritual eyes focused above rather than on the racetrack of troubles, the finish line is clear. The journey is do-able. And the New Year looks promising, taking us to the finish line that shines with triumph.

Copyright © 2012, Janet Perez Eckles, used by permission.

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Janet Perez EcklesAlthough blind, Janet Perez Eckles has been inspiring thousands to see the best in life. She is an international speaker, writer and #1 bestselling author of Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God's Fiesta, Judson Press 2011.

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