If you’re reading this congratulations, you are among the extremely blessed individuals to physically cross over into 2017. You are alive. No, it’s not a churchy old head cliche thing to say my G, I’m dead serious (pun intended). So again, let me remind you: YOU ARE ALIVE! If I stop this blog post right now that fact should fill your heart with overwhelming gratitude and happiness. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that many of us are physically here in 2017 but our hearts and minds are still reeling from the global, local, and personal tragedies and/or disappointments we’ve encountered over the last twelve months.
I began 2016 overwhelmed by financial strain. In February my boyfriend proposed and it was one of the happiest days of my life. Excited and ready to finally take that next step, we set the date for January 7, 2017. In April we had a death in my family while preparing for my siblings graduations. By May I’d made the hard decision to move back home with my parents in order to save for the wedding and at the start of summer my fiance and mother both had great new jobs. My family’s collective season of hardship seemed to be over. Then in July while at a concert with my sister, she had a grand mal seizure. We spent the entire month at various appointments with neurologists as they determine if she has epilepsy. August 1st my fiance was abruptly let go from his job and by the end of the month the same was true for my mother. I must say, this nearly crushed me. I felt like what was supposed to be my happiest year was turning into my worst. In September another death in the family on my mother’s side and Thanksgiving weekend her brother had a massive stroke.
If you’re feeling battered by the events of 2016, trust me I understand. Many of you have buried loved ones, lost jobs, and ended relationships. It may seem like the positive affirmations, declarations, and decrees have been null and void over the last year but PLEASE hear this: God is sovereign! Proverbs 16:9 says “A person plans his ways but the Lord orders his steps.” I spent the last three weeks of this year reflecting and talking to God the father. Lord, what was the purpose for ___ , what was the lesson in ___ , how could I have handled/responded to ___ better, is ___ your will for my life or am I forcing something unintended for my destiny? These questions have yielded answers, some I honestly didn’t like so much. However, there is peace in knowing that my times and seasons are in God’s hands.
The calendar year has no bearing on the spiritual seasons of our lives. 2017 will be exactly the same as 2016 unless my perspective changes. Even if the circumstances don’t change immediately, my understanding of them can produce the fruits of long suffering and patience. If I let myself go there, I could be devastated that I won’t be getting married in 5 days. I could feel like a failure that I live with my parents again at age 33 and become angry with myself and God. Instead, I choose to see God’s plan unfold. I don’t always understand or agree with his methods but because I trust him and I know his plans for me are good, I can take comfort in knowing he’s with me. Purpose has a process! This process is unavoidable. It may include some heartbreak, embarrassment, and discomfort but ALL things are working for your good and pain is never wasted with God.
Somewhere in the fall of 2016 God reminded me that life is not always going to be peachy, but it can be victorious. Many days I would get into prayer and worship, pouring my heart out to God. Writing in my journal and reading his holy word. In times of trial and testing we must learn to hide ourselves in him and let the joy of the Lord be our strength! As we journey into 2017 the word of the Lord for me is change – maybe that resonates with you also. Change in perspective, attitude, thought processes, mode of operation, etc… My only goal for 2017 is to finish what was divinely inspired and to learn from the challenges of 2016. Let’s implement the lessons learned from the hardships of last year and make 2017 a year of visible change!