Happy 2017, friends! After an eventful year filled with milestone moments and personal growth, it is still refreshing to ring in a new year and look forward to all that it has to bring.
I’ve been fortunate to spend the past two weeks in my hometown with my family, meeting up with friends from high school and reveling in the familiar after moving to an entirely new city this past summer. And let me tell you, it has filled me (to the BRIM) with nostalgia. I’ve been reminded of so many different stages of my life as I grew up in this place, and while it has been somewhat therapeutic for me to reflect on how far I’ve come, it has also left me a bit consumed with how much simpler life might be if I were still here. Maybe you are nodding right along with this sentiment, or you couldn’t be in a more different situation. But either way, I have to think that as we all enter into a new year with the hope of new opportunities, somewhere there lies the question of how we step forward and allow our past to spur us on, not pull us back.
As Jordan and I have become increasingly more involved with our church since moving this summer, we’ve been blessed with a bible study group that has poured into us so much as we’ve learned what our life and faith looks like in marriage. Just before I came home for Christmas, I was meeting with a friend from this group to catch up before the holiday. She has been a blessing to me in so many ways, but as she allowed me to go on and on about life lately, she encouraged me to pursue wholeheartedly what I’ve always known is the greatest reflection of my faith: writing.
As I’ve alluded to multiple times in past blog posts, I can always tell how intentionally I’m thinking through and pursuing my relationship with the Lord based on the frequency of my writing. Needless to say, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for words many times throughout the course of this blog’s lifetime, and that links back to a heart issue for me. My friend encouraged me to flip the equation around — instead of looking at my writing as a reflection of where I’m at in my faith, use it as the starting point to get where I need to be as I continue to live in relationship with God. It doesn’t have to be perfect; the Lord can still use it to push and refine me.
Sometimes writing scares me when it doesn’t come easy. In college, I was often able to sit down and churn out a post for this blog in one try — as time has passed and my thoughts feel more convoluted many times, it’s hard for me to sit down and have that same confidence as I try to figure out the best way to articulate what God is teaching me during this time. And honestly, sometimes I don’t really know. Before I know it, I’ve spent more time fearing what I could write than simply trusting that the Lord will guide my words and thoughts. When my friend encouraged me to put pen to paper regardless, it really started a fire in me to remember who all of this is for to begin with — and it shouldn’t be me. So I hope that you see more of me on this blog this year, working through the challenges and questions that lie before me by pursuing the Lord and His plan. But more importantly, I hope you see more of God on the blog this year.
I’ve seen so many social posts come across my feed in recent weeks about 2016 being the “worst year ever.” And I get it — there has been sadness and tragedy, political divisions, slander, hurtful words exchanged and so much more, and that’s just on the public stage. There is so much more happening deep inside of our hearts as we go along with our everyday lives: small fractures that continue to wear on us until we break, insecurities that linger in the back of our minds, and so on. But when it all boils down to it, our problem is all the same — we are a people desperately in need of a Lord that we think we’re too busy to serve. And that may sound depressing, but I hope that reality sits heavy on your heart until you’re ready to do something about it. I hope it sits on mine too.
We may fail at our lofty goals this year. That’s not the January 1st sentiment that we like to carry with us, but it’s true. We may fail, it may even break us — but the Lord will prevail. He always prevails. He prevailed on the cross so many years ago, and He will prevail in you if you accept Him as Lord of your life. And I have to believe that this is more beautiful than me effortlessly meeting all of the expectations I set out for myself in the coming year.
Without fail, the idea of a new year is always exciting to me. I have no idea what 2017 will bring, but what I hope is true of me throughout this year and many more is that my ultimate hope is in Jesus. He surpasses the comfort of familiarity and worldly successes, affirmation from others and tallied-up good deeds — but only if we trust Him with all of it. That’s my prayer for us this year: to trust.
And you know what? I think we can do it.