I’ve tried my best to get a good glance at my previous blog posts, journal entries, laid astray notes, and tumbled thoughts to come up with a post about my outlook on the new year in front of me and the year I have left behind — much like everybody else over the last few days.
It was full of newness and firsts. Challenge and change. Restoration and persistence. It was full of grace — an abundance that I probably didn’t deserve. I was stretched, prodded, bothered, and brought through things that strengthened my faith when they were designed to only hurt it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the last third of 2016 was far more pressing than the previous two-thirds.
The last 2 months of the year kicked me in the behind. The enemy really thought he was going to take me down at the last second. I’m sure he will continue to try and steal, kill, and destroy things of mine. But little does he know, God has a completely different plan. One that is for me, not against me. One for good, and not for evil.
It was interesting to look back at last years “farewell” post. To see the difference in the way I saw myself grow. The funniest thing is I wish I would have remembered to go back and read it, because all the things I wrote can be better applied to my life right now rather than a year ago because of significant moments of weakness I’ve experienced this year rather than last.
This point is easily illustrated by an excerpt from my farewell to 2015 last year:
“I’ve learned that in the midst of doubt, God will never fail on being there to lend a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
Because I had not “learned,” I can’t help but laugh reading that. I had only realized it on the surface. I hadn’t been through a situation yet that would test my faith. God had revealed to me how much easier it is to trust Him and receive His peace than to try on your own, but there was more to it. I had only experienced His peace on a linear level. One year later would I be leaning so hard on the truth that God never fails to supply us with peace.
Perfect peace that guards our hearts and minds.
Not to say you can’t learn in shallow ones, but apparently it’s not until deep, and I mean deep, waters come that you fully feel like you have received what the Lord has for you. Regardless, I think the Lord will always have a well deeper for us to drink from no matter how deep our waters may seem to get.
God knew I would face battles in 2016. He knew the things I would feel and fear. He knew all the things I was going to have to speak over. All the things I was going to think. Everything I was going to do was already known to God before I probably even thought to do them. He also knew I would make it through. He knew I would cling to His truth. Because why wouldn’t He? Why wouldn’t He believe in His child’s willingness to seek help from her heavenly father in a time of need? He knows everything.
I needed a lot of help this year. The most I feel I have ever needed. There was no way, by my own strength, I could have made it through the fear and anxiety I faced. The uncomfortableness. The impatience.
All by Jesus, was I made able. He’s been with me in the waiting. Through it all. Regardless of if I felt it or not.
This next year I’m still going to need just as much help, if not, more. I don’t want to forget about God’s availability. His desire to hear me call upon his name. I don’t want to forget that He’s never booked. He doesn’t have a waitlist. There’s no rain checks with God.
I wrote last year that 2015 was when I discovered how full of purpose I was. After reflecting, I’m going to say 2016 was a year where I clung to my purpose. I clung to promise and truth. But, I believe 2017 is going to be a year where I am secure in my purpose. Where I don’t so much have to cling, but rather live knowing I walk in spirit and in truth.
I can say with confidence, 2017 is going to be full of pleasant unexpectedness.
Fighting from a posture of victory.
Ironically, I’m expectant. For beautiful things and promise. There’s too many things I could pinpoint and say that I want. But I don’t want to limit the things that could be in store for me this year. I don’t want to ever put a cap on God or label Him as “predictable.”
But I will say that I want more Jesus.
And I want to be in a constant posture of worship. I want my actions to come from a place of obedience and humility. In my job, in my schoolwork, in my everyday acts. In all I do, I want my ways to glorify Him. And I want to always be yielding my ear to His voice.
I don’t want to forget that a new year is not my only chance to have a fresh start. God’s mercies are new every morning! In Him we get a fresh start every day (I love that about God). I want to wake up every morning with that thought in my head. That no matter what circumstances or challenges that life may bring that day or the next, God’s mercy follows me and greets me every time I wake.
I’m so ready. For a year full of the unexpected. A year full of God’s favor, restoration, and growth in areas I didn’t think needed to be touched by Him. A year full of more vulnerability — a willingness to be shaped and used. I’m ready to be stretched beyond my borders and rooted in good and holy ways. I’m ready to slow down and not miss the things the Lord wants me to see. I’m ready to be brave beyond measure. I’m ready to continue my relentless pursuit of discovering who God is — His character, his mannerisms, and his love.
I’m ready to be surprised by God.
“Behold I am doing a new thing,” says the Lord.
2016 was full of exponential growth beyond my control in the areas of faith, trust, and honoring God’s plan for my life. But I believe 2017 holds more. It will be similar in ways but at the same time nothing like I’ve (and we’ve) ever seen before.
The cry of my heart for 2017 is that which is written beautifully in Psalm 139:
“Oh, Lord, you have searched me and you know me… You perceive my thoughts from afar… You are familiar with all my ways… You hem me in — behind and before… You have laid your hand upon me… Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?… If I go up to the heavens, you are there… If I make my bed in the depths, you are there… If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast… Even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts O God! How vast is the sum of them!… Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
There are so many things in store — good and perfect things.
All of which will come from above.
Be expectant. And be watching.
God is definitely on the move.