Welcome to 2024!
While the end of December is a great time for reflection on the past year, January provides the perfect opportunity to act on that reflection, change a behavior, or add something positive to our lives.
Often, people decide to focus on things like a healthier lifestyle, spending more time with family, or even taking up a new hobby. While there is nothing wrong with these ideas, as Christians, our focus should be ensuring we’re on track to live the life God calls us to live.
My novel, Charting the Course, explores this idea. The story is set on a cruise ship, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The main character, Liz, is bogged down with painful memories, childhood disappointments, and emotional wounds from the past.
While the book is a fun adventure with an on-board scavenger hunt, a singing competition, and an intriguing mystery, the heart of the story lies with Liz realizing she needs to finally let go of the past. When she starts to pray the Novena to the Holy Family that her best friend Josie gave her, she begins to see things differently and decides to make a change for the new year.
A Novena is a special prayer that you recite for nine days, asking a particular saint to pray with you regarding a special intention, and can be a wonderful tool to strengthen our faith.
Many of our CTB books offer other ideas to help you draw closer to God:
In Carolyn Astfalk’s Rightfully Ours, Paul and Rachel choose to get themselves to confession more regularly.
In Theresa Linden’s Standing Strong, Jarret spends time trying to understand the purpose of the Brown Scapular. Once he understands, he commits to dutifully wearing it.
Gabriel, in T.M. Gaouette’s Guarding Aaron, spends time at a monastery to discern a possible vocation. He takes his friend Christian with him, and in doing so, Christian's faith is also deepened.
In Gaouette’s Saving Faith, Tanner Rose participates in a missionary trip, which profoundly affects her.
In "Take Up Your Cross" by Marie Keiser, a short story from the Ashes: Visible & Invisible Anthology, Justin commits to reciting the Rosary with his brother, despite struggling with his faith.
And Corinna Turner’s Friends in High Places series features modern-day teens dealing with difficult situations and learning inspiring lessons from some of God’s faithful servants.
There are many wonderful ways to grow in our faith as we journey to become who God is calling us to be. Maybe one of the examples in this article will spark your imagination for how to deepen your spiritual life in the new year.
For a chance to win a copy of Charting the Course, please share one of your new year’s goals.
We at CTB look forward to another faith-filled year of adventure with you. Happy New Year!
About the author: Leslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She strives to write entertaining stories that encourage teens to grow in their faith. Finding a way to intertwine her passions by creating adventurous mysteries with positive Christian messages for today's youth has been an incredible blessing. Leslea also has become an advocate for families by reviewing faith-based teen novels on her website.