Sitting at the end of 2017 and looking towards the beginning of 2018 gives a unique perspective. One year closing up and another one…foggy in the near distance.
What’s in a year? Is it made up of merely hours, days, weeks and months…or is there more? Perhaps it’s made of experiences. Things that happen to shape who you are and challenges you to grow in your faith.
I have this thing I do when one year is wrapping up and another is staring me in the face…I rewind it and try to break it down. Then I ask some questions. This last year will be my hardest one yet to analyze, but today I sat down in one of my favorite coffee shops with my Bible and journal. I attempted to distill 2017 to a few paragraphs.
What was 2017? Here is my attempt…
Year-end Recap: This has been no doubt my most challenging and reshaping year EVER. God has literally remade me into a completely different person. He has left no ground unturned. I’ve been at the end of my rope. Tasted the deep grief and sorrow that comes with loss. Faced depression. I’ve encountered new things and seen Jesus in ways I never have before. While it’s been the hardest and most painful year I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My foundation was tested and I’ve discovered that HE HOLDS ME TOGETHER! His Word is now my anchor and He is the lover of my soul.
Word picture of 2017: A roller coaster. (Note: I hate roller coasters both physically and metaphorically speaking!)
Major happenings in 2017: I wrote the bulk of my singleness book through the year. Started doing Friday morning “dates” with Jesus in March. I was caregiver for a sweet friend until she went to heaven in April 2017. I dealt with depression off and on from April thru August…and I learned to lean into Jesus. Both my parents had significant health issues in the summer and my mom was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in June. PCM (the young ladies’ ministry I work with) had the best event ever in July! MaryEllen and I ministered in two women’s prisons in September and October. One of my best friends got married and I started a personal blog in November.
The cry of my heart in 2017: “Lord, show me Your glory! I want to see YOU!”
Things I learned this year… Brokenness is merely a catalyst to see Jesus clearer. My world was rocked to its core and I found Him to be my Lifeboat. Jesus is compassionate. We are all busted up, needy and broken. Jesus comes into our messes and enters our darkness. God with us. He is faithful and will never leave me. Sometimes our greatest platform to witness for Christ is in our deepest pain and suffering. Suffering is the glue of our hearts…both to each other and to Jesus. And…water slides aren’t as scary as they seem. Just saying.
My favorite moment in 2017: Meeting my newest nephew on October 26th. Bryson Lee is the cutest little chunk you’ve ever seen!
What would I repeat? I would lean into Jesus through the pain of loss and heartache. I would be open about my brokenness. I would share from my life rather than my mind. I would bravely follow Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense. I would love fully, even if it hurts.
Theme and verse for 2017: “BE BRAVE” from Joshua 1:9, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (HCSB)
Anchor Scriptures of 2017: Isaiah 40:28-31, Isaiah 43:1-5, 1 Kings 17:8-16, Genesis 32:24-32, Exodus 33:11-23, Philippians 2:5-11, John 1:14, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 and 16-18, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jeremiah 17:7-8 and the Book of Psalms.
Quotes from 2017:
I generally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I’ve probably made resolutions less than the fingers on one hand. I’m one of those who think that if I don’t make them than I don’t have to keep them. Which honestly, is pathetic at best. It’s just super discouraging to find out weeks into the New Year that I’m a miserable failure at holding to my word. So…my practical side decided to just not promise anything. Which, as I said before, isn’t really any better of a plan.
Then 2018 rolled around…and I started feeling kind of guilty. That was originally why I avoided New Year’s resolutions in the first place, remember? It got me to thinking…maybe having goals for the year really wasn’t a bad idea. Goals are great to have. They’re like targets to shoot for in life. The saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, any train will get you there!” can be so true. Don’t you think?! I began looking over my last year and marking the points I need work on and things I want to put on REPEAT. Love freely…even when it hurts. Laugh more. Jesus is full of JOY! Live full. Remembering that I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. Live purposefully. Live fully. Leave all out on the field. If this was my last year…I wouldn’t want to save anything back because I was too afraid or too busy. Invite others to His Table. I want my life to be an actual invitation to the Table of the Lord.
What’s in a year? Looking back I can tell you what last year was…but looking forward, I have no idea. My prayer: that I will see Jesus this year like never before and I will follow Him fully, without reservation.
What’s in a year? Truth be told, only God knows.