Hi, friends! Happy New Year!!!
What a year it has been! So many amazing, difficult, wonderful, frustrating and beautiful things have happened over the past 365 days in my life and in our world- and I’m very grateful I got to experience some of them.
Before I dive into these moments, I just want to say that I know this hasn’t been the greatest year for everybody and many people are excited to see the end of 2016… BUT I am so thankful that God gave us this year and the hard moments because I believe we wouldn’t be who we are without them.
God is still King in the difficult, dark places of this world and He is still sitting on the throne when we feel like He has left us- He is in control over every single circumstance in our life and He is working to make every moment reflect and glorify His Kingdom!
So, yes…it’s been an interesting year but I believe that there have been just as many, if not more, blessings and good moments as there have been bad moments. And at the end of the day, God is still good and He has a purpose for each of our lives!
At the beginning of the year I wrote a post called A Year Full of Revival and it was about God’s promise for this year. Every year God gives me a word as a symbol for what is to come, in 2015 it was “light” and in 2016 it was “revival”.
I remember when I listened to my pastor give the first sermon of the year on God’s word for our church, the word was breakthrough. I felt like God was confirming my word, revival by giving our church this word. In my heart, those two actions go hand-in-hand and this confirmation gave me the faith to believe that God would fulfill His promise of revival.
As I already said, this year was beautiful and difficult in more ways than one. Of course, it was an amazing year for many reasons, here are some of the highlights…
My family and I got Rocky, our sweet blessing of a puppy after praying that God would provide the right dog for our family.
I turned 19 years old and got to go to New York City for the first time with my dad to celebrate (we saw The Lion King on Broadway and it was magical!).
I’ve made so many amazing new friends and have had the blessing of reconnecting with family.
I got to be a leader at my church’s summer youth camp, HUB Camp, for the first time and had an absolute blast!
I had the privilege of voting in my first presidential election.
And I got to go to Europe for the first time and travel through Greece and Italy with my sister!*
But, 2016 has also been a really difficult year too…
I’ve had ongoing health issues throughout the year that have made me feel constantly tired, sick and weak.
I’ve felt alone, unnoticed and hurt at times.
I watched my 18-year-old cousin battle against (and BEAT! Praise God!) the evils of cancer.
I’ve struggled with temptations and fleshly sins.
I have painfully watched people I love numb themselves with the world.
And I’ve had moments of crippling doubt and fear that have left me feeling completely in the dark.
If I’m being honest, there have been more moments of hopelessness and frustration than there have been of faith and thankfulness for God. And as I look back on this blessing of a year, I can see how unintentionally self-focused I was when I thought I was striving to be focused on Him.
Thankfully, God still works and moves in and through us whether we are focused on Him or not but I just realized how much sweeter the hard moments would have been if I had been looking to Him instead of looking for a way to fix the situation myself.
This year God did revive my heart, my life and my family.
He has slowly begun to knock down the ungodly beliefs that have tried to take root in my heart and has replaced them with His permanent promises of love, freedom and grace.
He has opened my eyes to the Godly relationships He has placed in my life so naturally that I didn’t even realize they were there. He has revived my perspective to see His beauty and “Only God” moments instead of getting stuck in my everyday routine.
He has been faithful with a seemingly impossible promise that He gave me at the beginning of the year. He told me that my family would go to Georgia (where my dad’s family is) and reconcile relationships, something that I believed He would do one day but never thought He would make happen this year. He also said that I would go to Passion 2017 in Georgia.
All I can say is, God is faithful because I am writing this post from Georgia right now and have had the blessing of reconnecting with family members who I didn’t think I would ever see again. I’m also going to Passion 2017 in two days to experience God’s awesomeness with thousands of college students from around the world.
God is faithful, even when we are not. Thank goodness! And He has made this year better than any resolution I could have created or attempted to actually follow through with.
He is the Great Reviver and His word is true.
My prayer for all of us this year is to focus on the promises He thoughtfully gave us in the greatest love letter of all, the Bible. He already knows every joyful moment, heartbreak and breakthrough that this year holds for our lives.
I pray that we will focus our attention from what could happen this year, to the One who has already made and will make all things happen for His good.
Sending lots of love, joy and peace to everyone this New Year’s Eve and am believing that He will do great things in and through each of us in 2017 and beyond!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
*A blog post about my AMAZING trip to Europe will be coming soon, I would like to say I’ve started to write it or have been working on it but the truth is I haven’t. But I want to write it and tell you all about it, so be on the lookout…