Life in Focus

Where following Jesus and Every Day Life Intersect

A Fresh Start



Our car gleamed in the early morning light as we pointed it north and drove up the freeway. Freshly washed and waxed, the sun’s first rays reflected off the sleek surface as we began our ten-hour trek. It’s become a ritual in our family to begin a driving trip with a clean car. We even have a saying for it: “Clean cars run better.” It seems best to start a long road trip keeping this practice in mind. It’s never failed us yet.

Crossing the border from California into Oregon, a light dusting of snow began to fall. By the time we reached Portland, the grime of the road and the wet weather had dulled the sheen of the once-clean car. It was bound to happen, so why did we bother? Maybe it’s because there is something that feels good about starting fresh.

It could be the reason these words resonate with me:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)

Yes, the car got dirty after we washed it, but it was much easier to clean when we got home because the layers of dirt weren’t thick and hadn’t been there long. The same thing is true of our spiritual lives: every morning we get a new day to start again. God’s compassion for us is renewed and He shows His faithfulness. No matter how messy the day before was or how much we messed up, God lets us push the re-start button.

Maybe that’s why we celebrate a New Year. It’s why January First marks the day people resolve to start over and try again. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s never futile to begin anew. Each time, we learn and grow in new ways. Plus, it’s a chance to clear off the grime of past sins before they consume us. When we take time to do spiritual spring-cleaning, to examine our hearts and to receive God’s compassion afresh, we stay more closely aligned with His Spirit. The longer and further we stray, the harder it is to re-engage.

The beginning of a New Year is a great chance to regain lost ground and claim new territory in our walks with God. It’s the time to open a new devotional or to begin reading our Bibles daily. It’s a blank page, just waiting to be filled with new possibilities. If you’re a part of CPC’s Focused Living, you’ll be hearing much more about that as we begin our new study by Priscilla Shirer called One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land. If you’re a regular reader from beyond the group, I’ll be sure to keep it relevant for you.

I can’t wait to start fresh, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Click on the link to be inspired by Lincoln Brewster’s song: “Made New.”


Author: mmccullum

Marybeth McCullum enjoys writing and blogging about her Christian faith and how it intersects with everyday life. Her goal in every post is to encourage, challenge and inspire her readers. She is in her 10th year at CPC's Focused Living Women's Bible study and currently serves as Coordinator. She also writes a regular blog and speaks occasionally. You can find her page on Facebook at: Marybeth Mc Cullum- Author. Learn more about her other endeavors at

2 thoughts on “A Fresh Start

  1. Hi Mary Beth. Wonderful blog, how true it is. A thought I had is when we do not allow God to wash our sins away, who we are in Christ gets blocked out by our sin. When we see our selves that way we begin to take on the “dirt” as our identity and not the we are clean underneath when we are in Christ.
    Come wash me in mercy, come bathe me in grace rings true.


  2. It’s funny…while reading your story about cleaning the car before a trip, I thought “it will just get dirty again” (negative I know!), yet your analogy with our spiritual lives rings so true. Yes, the physical and spiritual in our lives will collect some debris no matter what – but starting new each day with the Lord will certainly result in less of that debris clinging to us. Well said Marybeth!


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