Fresh Starts and Failures

by Heather Norman Smith

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22- 23 ESV

The new year is a time of excitement—the thrill of what might be. At midnight, the ball drops, and the feeling of a fresh start surges, another chance, the gift of beginning again. January is the starting line, and the other months stretch ahead of us, waiting, like a just-discovered mountain path to be traversed. Most approach the new year with hope and expectation. We tighten our shoelaces, strap on the pack, take the walking stick in hand and set out with intention, determined to conquer the path ahead.

But what happens when the craving for sweets wins out on January 7, or you fall asleep before your daily prayer time on January 15? Maybe your fifteen minutes of exercise a day doesn’t last a week, or your resolution not to worry crashes and burns with one phone call before month’s end. Perhaps you’d promised yourself you’d be wise in your spending, but the new purse called out to you from the store window.

I was determined to read the Bible through in 2022, Genesis to Revelation. I was part of a great online community that encouraged me and reminded me. Each day, I was provided with the verses that I needed to read to accomplish the goal. It should have been easy. Still, I only kept at it until sometime in late March. (I didn’t stop reading the Bible completely, but I came nowhere close to finishing the entire thing in 2022.) 

Though the New Year is a great time to set goals, take heart—even when we fall short of our resolutions in 2023, every day is a chance for a fresh start. That New Year feeling can be ours every time we open our eyes in the morning. In Lamentations—a book filled with expressions of humiliation, suffering, and despair—it reads, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23 ESV).

We don’t have to wait for a new year to begin again. His mercies are new every morning! He loves us despite our failures, and He grants us the mercy we need each and every day.  

May the Lord give us wisdom to set the right goals throughout the year. May He grant us holy ambitions and the resilience to get up and keep going when we stumble along the path.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Heather Norman Smith is an author of Christian Fiction set in her home state of North Carolina. Her goal is to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. Learn more about her work and

Join the conversation: What goals do you have in this new year?

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