New Year Focus

by Jan 4, 2021Devotional

Why are thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5

2020 was an eventful year for us.  But so was 2007.  So many things happened that year.  People from Independence, Kansas, know 2007 as the year of the flood that destroyed blocks of homes.  I know it as the year that I had twins.  The year that I spent several months near the Wichita hospital.  The year that my husband, Todd, had a nervous breakdown. 

In December of that year, Todd was rushed to ER with what seemed to be stroke-like symptoms.  After an expensive helicopter ride to Wichita and multiple tests, they discovered that his body was assimilating seizures.  The only thing physically wrong was stress.

Honestly, I don’t know which events contributed the most.  I only know that by the time 2007 was over, my little family was never the same again.  God brought healing to Todd, and he recovered.  But even today he is not the same person that he was before 2007.

We found out the hard way what it felt like to hit the brick wall.  We found out that we cannot do everything that everyone else can do.  We cannot fill our schedule as full as some people.  We have to put a buffer around ourselves emotionally. 

Last year in 2020, Todd had one more episode where he was rushed to ER, but this time, we had a better clue what was happening.  We had already lived through what Todd calls the dark years of his life.  Todd found that his coping mechanism was damaged.  His emotions were out of whack, and God seemed far away.  He went through the motions.  He stayed in church and near God’s people, but he felt dead inside.

Then in a preacher’s convention in the spring of 2008, God came.  My friend Dink was visiting the service and felt impressed to start the chorus “I’ve Never Seen the Thousands Fed or the Blind Made to See.”  She did not know the people, and it was a little difficult to obey.  But when she obeyed, God dropped down.  People were out of their seats and shaking hands.  Someone came to shake Todd’s hand, and God touched him.   It was as if his coping mechanism had been healed.

After that time, there were moments of difficulty when Todd was tempted to start to dwell on the negative and darkness again.  God told Todd, “Now I’ve given you the ability to cope.  It’s up to you to stop focusing on the negative, or you will go back into that pit.”

Months later, Todd praised God into the night until he fell asleep.  He blessed God for everything that God had ever done, Who He was, and every prayer that He had ever answered, even if He never answered another one. When Todd woke up, he was restored!

There is power in praise!

This is a really good lesson for me.  The older I get, the more I have to deal with melancholy and feelings of grief.  I have determined that I WILL lift my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help.  The Scripture says that the joy of the Lord is where I get my strength.  I will lift up my eyes!  “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.  I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.”  (Psalm 3:3-4)  I will encourage my heart in the Lord!

There are so many negative things, that I must be careful with my mind.  Maybe it is good that people keep up with things politically and other problems in the world, but there comes a point that this can depress me. 

My biggest focus in 2021 needs to be trying to help my children and others get ready for heaven.  If the distressing things of this world keeps you praying, then that is good.  If it lights a fire underneath you to carry a burden, then that is constructive and positive. But if it’s just giving a feeling of gloom and depression, then I cannot go there and cannot do it.  Not day in and day out.

If God gives me a burden, I want to be faithful to carry it.  Otherwise, I’m praying that He will fill me with so much joy that it will be attractive to my neighbors, and that they will want what I have.  If I will be full of God, God will bring the people across my path to touch.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God:  for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 43:5

He is my Friend and Savior, in Him my anchor’s cast,

He drives away my sorrows and shields me from the blast;

By faith I’m looking upward beyond life’s troubled sea,

There I behold a haven prepared for me.

-Lewis E. Jones, 1901




  1. Melinda Heyer


  2. Linda knight

    The joy 0f the Lord is my strength

    • Elizabeth Hamilton


  3. Angie

    So appreciate your open honesty-
    This is exactly where so many of us live.❤️

  4. Stephanie

    Sometimes, I know for me things can seem dim and isolated, (and that is what the enemy of our souls wants) but broadening my vision and looking upward, at this very moment, there are millions of people day and night calling upon the Lord, giving Him praise, lifting Him up as King of their lives. And as they do, His Joy and Peace is flooding down from Heaven on different areas of the earth to hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously. I love how this chapter gives me a fresh focus and brings to light His Lordship and Sovereignty.

    Psalm 47
    Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
    Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
    2 For the Lord Most High is awesome;
    He is a great King over all the earth.
    3 He will subdue the peoples under us,
    And the nations under our feet.
    4 He will choose our inheritance for us,
    The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah

    5 God has gone up with a shout,
    The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
    6 Sing praises to God, sing praises!
    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
    7 For God is the King of all the earth;
    Sing praises with understanding.

    8 God reigns over the nations;
    God sits on His holy throne.
    9 The princes of the people have gathered together,
    The people of the God of Abraham.
    For the shields of the earth belong to God;
    He is greatly exalted.

    Amen! :-) \o/ \o/ Hallelujah!

    • Elizabeth Hamilton

      I was thinking of the story recently of the time that Jehoshaphat put the singers in the front when they went into battle. (II Chronicles 20:21) I had this visual image of heading into the battle with a song on my heart. Thank the Lord!

      • Stephanie