It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had motivation to write. And honestly I don’t know that I really have any right now but I’m doing it because I want to start this next year with all roadblocks aside of me, all side effects of the enemy blinded. 2016 has been hard. I will never deny that but I will also never deny how good it has been too. This year has been full of bittersweet goodbyes followed by new, beautiful beginnings. Full of some of my sweetest, dearest memories and some of my hardest days. Full of tense relationships and also some of the most Jesus-centered and building-up relationships that I’ve ever had. Despite the hard parts of this year I would never want it to have gone any differently. Because though it has been a trying year for a few patches, those things taught me a lot about myself and about Jesus. There’s just something about having to constantly be reminded of Christ’s goodness that keeps you grounded. I’m thankful for this year, I’m thankful for every lesson that came with it and I’m thankful for all the ways I’ve been able to grow and know God a little more fully.
10 things that 2016 taught me:
- Never limit God’s power. I know now that God is ultimately a lot lot lot lot stronger than me and He is capable of so much. If Jesus wants you where you are, He will give you the strength to do whatever it is you’re doing or be wherever it is you are.
- Trust God. This has been a long process. I have just had to be reminded over and over that whatever it is that God has for me, it is good and it is for me to better serve Christ. Trusting God with my future, with my plans, with my relationships, and my grades and all the in-betweens isn’t always as easy as it sounds. I wish it were. But in the end it’s way worth it.
- Follow God’s plan…not yours. Woah. This one. For so long I thought that I was following God’s plan for me because it sounded good, it sounded like something that was going to make a difference and it would serve people. But if I would have listened to God’s voice from the beginning, I would have known that serving comes from whatever GOD CALLS YOU TO DO. Sometimes it’s going to take a semester or maybe even a few but if you listen, God will reveal himself to you.
- Never take the Jesus-filled relationships you have for granted. Before I went to Liberty, I had some pretty awesome Christian friends here at home. They pushed me in my faith, and encouraged and corrected me when I wasn’t following after God. It was a hard break when I moved to Virginia for college and luckily I made some more awesome, Jesus-loving friends there but just never take for granted the steady relationships you already have.
- Be willing to let change change you. This is a big one. I used to hate change but now I find myself inviting it. Change helps you to grow and to rely on God a little bit more and really it teaches you to ask for help when you need it. You weren’t meant to do this life alone and never convince yourself otherwise. Change is so good when you allow it to be.
- Ask Jesus before you do it. As humans we like to either just make rash decisions without consulting anyone or we think about every possible solution to the problem and ask everyone we know before making a decision. Honestly life is a lot easier if you just PRAY and ask Jesus to do whatever He wants with you and you’ll save yourself a lot of difficulty in making hard decisions.
- Your circumstances right now won’t last and they will grow you if you let them. God has put you exactly where you are for a reason and never assume otherwise. He has a plan for you and His desire is just that you will love Him and serve Him, giving up yourself. Your circumstances might be really hard and that is probably true but always know that there is purpose for your pain.
- Reading my Bible everyday isn’t just a suggestion. All throughout high school I for some reason thought that reading my bible everyday was just an option. IT’S NOT. We are called as Christians to be in the word daily and constantly in communication with God. You WILL NOT grow if you don’t spend time with Jesus. You have to want it…and if you don’t, pray that Jesus would give you the desire to want it.
- God loves me a whole lot more than I could ever imagine. Jesus literally just wants my heart. The other day I was reading a passage in Romans where it talks about what Jesus’ death on the cross really meant for us. God showed how much He loved us by letting Jesus die on a cross for people who were still sinning. That’s absolutely crazy to me. I don’t even think you can feel unloved after you hear that. My Jesus died while I still rejected Him. wow.
- Never forget the ways that God has delivered you in the past. Wherever you are placed right now might feel very hard, you might not quite understand God’s plan but remember last year when you faced something really hard? or yesterday when you couldn’t understand why you were where you were? and remember that peace when God delivered you from the pain, from the hurt, from the confusion? It might be really hard but JESUS WILL DELIVER YOU in His timing.
No matter how hard parts of this year have been, I never want to forget that some of the best parts of my life happened in this year too, some of my absolute favorite, sweetest memories. After a year like this one, I’m tired of not trusting Him enough, I’m tired of following my own plan. I’m tired of chasing the world. I don’t want this next year if it’s without Jesus and I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t want me to go into it without Him either. Quite honestly I think this year would have been unbearable without dependency on Jesus. But luckily I never have to do anything apart from Him again. Thank you for another year to serve you and know you, Jesus.
All of that being said. It’s a new year. It’s a new chance for God to work in your life. It’s a new chance for you to create the habits that you need to in your daily walk with the Lord. If nothing else, just know that no matter how bad your 2016 felt, God was with you the whole way through it and He will continue walking right beside you in 2017–NEVER forget that. The walk won’t be easy, and we weren’t promised that but take a leap into the unknown knowing that Jesus has got you and just make the choice to trust Him.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.