There’s a saying that goes, “It was real. It was fun. It wasn’t real fun.” I think this sums up half the year, though I can say I did have lots of fun with family and friends. 2015 was the year of valleys and shadows, heavy grief and intense worry, betrayal and freedom, upset and realization. WoW! I guess seeing these words myself makes me wonder how I got through it all. It was Grace, so much grace and good doses of supernatural, divine strength.So maybe 2015 didn’t turn out at all the way I intended. Maybe it was just as messy for you too. Isn’t that just like life? It takes us down winding roads without a map or easy way out. We have to take the machete of faith, resolve, and will to move through the thicket of trials. Even in all this messiness, I am reminded we were never promised a bed-of-roses life, that in this world we would have trouble, but the good news is we are not without hope. We can overcome as we overcome.
I have learned throughout this year, it is in the walking through the valley, through the hurt, through the pain, and through the discomfort that I gain strength. I shake of weakness. I am purged of fears that have tried to keep me bound. I am given the opportunity to get real and honest about what matters and what doesn’t. I am healed as I hold the many shards of brokenness. I find I am not ruined by the things I once thought would overtake me. For this, I thank God for the year and all its imperfections.
I embrace the mess because it was and is and will always be a part of my story tenderly threaded with heaven’s redemption theme. All is not lost. I am not without hope, so I embrace this life in all its highs and lows. I honor my heart and soul and say to them, “let’s keep moving forward –one foot in front of the other.”
I’d like to leave you with twelve things that have stuck with me this year.
- Everyday we have breath in our bodies is a day to begin again, to start anew.
- Love matters, and in the context of community it expands and refines our perspective and ability to love others well.
- There are many ways to rest that don’t involve physical rest. Sometimes we just need to rest in the fact that we are who we are and that we are doing good, hard work that makes a difference.
- It’s okay to say a thing, idea, career, habit, or practice no longer fits who you are. In these moments we are stretching and growing. I know I can give myself permission to bloom, to rest in being whole.
- There is power in using the word “no”, and I need to use it more. I can say no to manipulation, power tripping, and guilt. I can say no to playing a small bit role is someone else’s tirades.
- Travel opens us up to new horizons that have been softly beating in our hearts. We cannot ignore the lullaby of distant dreams. More often than not the are supposed to awaken in us and flourish. I want to to broaden my dreams and bring them to fruition.
- In some seasons we will have to let go of good things and bad things so we can make room for greater growth. The growing pains can be gut wrenching, but in the process of pruning we unearth beauty in the darkest places. We find sparks of life. We find we can rest in who we’re growing into.
- Social media silence and breaks are necessary. The always-on-access can really mess with one’s psyche. I have found reprieve and clarity in the moments I rested from social media. Sometimes breaking away is a good and healthy choice and a time get renewed.
- I can do hard things when I set my mind to it, like write everyday for 31 days. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I did. I learned the practice of writing and creating is something I want to have woven into my life and not just for a 31 day stint. It was just enough of a push to remind me to lean into to the gifts and calling of God on my life – a delicate but strong weaving of purpose and passion in the ordinary, everyday mundane.
- We build balance by choice. It is not by accident. No one part of my life should consume the other. I must create my own harmony between work, life, and creativity.
- Faith and hope matter. I cannot live without them. God is my Refuge and my Solid Rock. When I keep my heart and mind fixed on Him, I find grace and strength to persevere through challenging circumstances that would otherwise knock me down and out. God is faithful, and He can be trusted.
- Rather than see 2015 as a failure to launch various ideas and dreams, I’m reframing it as the year of continuous composting. I want 2016 to be about cultivating, pruning, sowing, and reaping. It will continue to be the year of rest, but it will also be the year of returning to my own true north, and I’m okay with that. I cannot be afraid to dream. I choose to be fearless.
Last year my one word was rest. This year, I have a new, but I’m not sharing it yet, but I’m also going to keep rest because I could always use a little more of it. I want to thank you for following along with me on my writing and life journey. I wish you much love, peace, and joy for 2016.
A final thought for 2015:
A miracle of amazing capacity is centered in the way of love and is a hope given, strength to transform, and so I believe.
May your 2016 be one full of faith, miracles, hope, and the fulfillment of who you’re meant to be.