Mary Harmening
3 min readDec 31, 2022


New Year. New You. Your Choice.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV

The year 2022 has flown by! As I get older it seems the time passes so fast, and the words of my parents and grandparents ring in my mind. I remember my grandma talking about how life speeds up as you get older. When I was in my 20’s it seemed like life would last forever and I was invincible. I lost my parents and my grandpa in my 20’s, but I just stayed busy, pressed on, and unknowingly buried the pain. My 30's….these years were a wake up call in so many ways, but I remained busy raising kids and working hard. My 40's….I am now learning all the hard lessons I didn’t get in the busy child rearing years of my 20’s and 30’s. I am reminded of my own mortality thinking about how both my mom and dad died at 56. My oldest brother just turned 56, and soon enough, I will be too. Who knows how many days we each have to wake up and take another breath. I find myself these days doing a lot of reflecting. Life has slowed down and when I find myself creating unnecessary busyness to distract myself, I run out of steam, leaving me with no choice but to stop and think more than ever. I’m getting the sense that NOW is the season to reflect, take inventory, reconcile, and finally heal from every little hidden thing I have ignored over the years.

I see practicing Philippians 4:8 is a key to healing and living life in God’s will. More than ever, I want to live the rest of my days filled with His goodness. Isn’t that what we all really want? I mean, I don’t think any of us want to live our lives in torment by our own thoughts, right? In Philippians 4:8 we are taught to think on and focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. The other scripture that we can reflect on with this is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. An attitude of gratitude no matter what is going on is God’s will for us. I always thought God’s perfect will meant a perfect life. I have a new revelation. It’s not a perfect life that is His will for me. Me being thankful is His will. I simply need to focus on the good things in life, and practice gratitude for His blessings, big or small.

My choice for 2023 — I am challenging myself this year to choose to have a year filled with good thoughts and being thankful for the smallest blessings. I am not trying to get some beach body, or starve myself to lose 20 pounds, haha. I want nothing more than the perfect will of God in my life, so I will focus on what is good, practice gratitude, and I believe the rest will fall into place. What is your 2023 going to look like? What will you choose?

Father, thank you for all the many blessings in my life. Big and small. Thank you for a roof over my head, food to eat, work to put my mind to and people all around for me to love and that love me too. Thank you for my savior Jesus who came to save my life. I would be lost without you. Please help me keep an attitude of gratitude and my mind focused on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise in 2023. Amen!

Illustrations by Haley Punjak