In the last few years, life has tossed us against the rocky shore. We’ve gotten beaten up a bit in the storms, but the journey has been a valuable one.

A year ago found us in the thick of chemotherapy treatments for cancer, watching the declining health of my mother-in-law who has since passed with Alzheimer’s dementia, and preparing to send our oldest off to college who endured his first hurricane evacuation within the first two weeks of school.

Life offers no guarantees. None of us knows how much time we have on this earth, only that the number of our days are known by God before we take our first breath.

As I think back on the last few years and the trials we have faced, I’m so grateful for His faithfulness. I’m thankful that even when I didn’t know how we would make it through the difficulties, He always did.

These last few years, and the trials we’ve endured have taught me a few things. I’ve experienced first hand that God’s word is true. That His promises can be trusted. I’ve realized I worried when I should have trusted, and I despaired when I had reason to maintain my hope.

No matter the vastness of the mountain in our path, trusting God is our first step.

This year I celebrated a milestone birthday, and I believe that God wants my latter years to be better than my former years. The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we could have life to the full. But I believe we have a part to play in that. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we will react to them. So I’ve given considerable thought about how I would like to choose to respond in the future.

I’m not much of a fan of New Year’s resolutions per se’. By January third, too many people feel like a failure, and then give up for the rest of the year on goals that were perhaps never the right focus to begin with.

Instead, I’ve prayerfully considered some basic life principles that I’d like to become more consistent in adopting. These are the kinds of things that I’d like to be known for when I’m no longer here. Life is short. I’m tired of wasting energy on things that don’t really matter.

15 things I promise myself this year:

1. I’m going to remember that I serve God, not man.

2. I will focus on God’s call for my life, not a career.

3. I’m going to spend more time looking through the larger windshield of my future than the small rearview mirror of my past.

4. I’m going to walk in His peace, and not let worry, fear, and anxiety rule my experience.

5. I’m going to look for the little things in life to be grateful for, while thanking God for the ways He has used my pain from the past for good and for His glory.

6. I’m not going to let comparison steal my joy; I’m going to recognize that we are better together and cheer others on as they obey God’s leading in their life.

7. I’m going to continue looking for opportunities to offer His help, hope, and healing to others who are in need.

8. I’m going to enjoy the journey instead of making it about the destination.

9. I’m going to appreciate present over perfect.

10. I’m not going to allow other people’s fears, insecurities, and opinions limit my future.

11. I’m not going to give attention to being dismissed, ignored, overlooked, rejected, or ridiculed by others, but instead remember that I am accepted, chosen, loved, redeemed, esteemed, and found worthy by Him, the only One who matters.

12. I choose not to pick up a spirit of offense, but to separate people and their actions from the evil that dwells within them, and offer grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love.

13. I’m not going to waste precious time trying to prove something to someone who doesn’t care about me anyway.

14. I’m going to take risks and live boldly courageous for Him.

15. I’m going to allow God to keep refining me like precious gold so I will become more like Him.

15 things I promise myself this year. Basic life principles to adopt and live by. Life is too short to waste energy on things that don’t matter.

I’d love to hear what changes you are planning on making this year in the comments below.

Make it a hope-filled year!

Because of Him, #HopePrevails!


Now Available! The Hope Prevails Bible study.

Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor's Personal Journey Through Depression Bible Study release date October 25, 2017


Are you or is someone you love experiencing depression? This book offers tangible help, hope, and healing from someone who’s been there and has come out on the other side.

In this Bible study companion to Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression, Dr. Bengtson, a neuropsychologist with over 25 years of experience, shares both her clinical expertise and her own personal journey through depression.

Dr. Bengtson’s personal experience is interwoven with questions for reflection, key thoughts, music playlist suggestions, resources, plus a leader’s guide.

This Bible study can be used as a companion to Hope Prevails or independent study by an individual or is perfect in a small or larger group study. Useful for churches and counseling practices.

“Authentic connections, raw insights, and powerful truths. A great resource for individuals that would be highly beneficial to both church and counseling groups.” ~ Pastor Debbie Kitterman, Founder, Dare 2 Hear Ministry


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How do you want to be known when you’re no longer here? I’ve prayerfully considered some basic life principles that I’d like to become more consistent in adopting. Life is short. I’m tired of wasting energy on things that don’t matter.

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