Well, here we are: the end of 2016. Folks, I have written about some years being more difficult than others, but I think we are all in agreement that none, at least none in recent memory, can be looked on as more surreal.
How do you summarize a year like 2016? A year that held many public and personal changes and challenges- many mountaintops and a few very low valleys. While we publicly watched our country's leaders (and potential leaders) behave like characters in a bad movie, our own local leaders were no better. We watched in horror as babies were torn apart and their tiny body parts were sorted for sale, yet we sat idly when the videographers were criticized for the undercover methods used to get the information. Is it right that we stopped for a moment of silence for the death of a celebrity we never met, but not for innocent children killed in genocide?
Surreal. Ungodly. Appalling.
On a personal level, 2016 was no less odd. My husband and I were led to leave the only church home we had known in our married life (and for him, his entire life) and seek to worship and fellowship at a new church home. Praise God for deliverance and rescue! And as thankful as we are, it's still hard. And strange at times.
I was made aware of a series of betrayals and rumors that left me both angry and deeply concerned about the sanity - and the very walk - of people I thought of as friends and Christian brothers and sisters.
God held my hand as I walked with Him through some very difficult emotionally and spiritually-challenging moments this year. I have come through them stronger, more refined, wiser, and as focused as a laser beam on Him and Him alone.
Because of these trials and His provision, my faith has never been stronger. I will go into 2017 boldly and with the confident hope that only we as children of God can understand. I am free in Christ and therefore free to look ahead with joyful anticipation of the blessings to come. I KNOW that my Savior goes before me. I KNOW He will fight my battles. And I KNOW that if God is for me, no one can stand against me and succeed. No one. God is still in control and He is still spending every moment loving us and being our God.
At first I had visions of limping across the finish line known as 2016.
I am running hard into 2017, my friends. Charging ahead toward all God has for me - I don't want to miss a single thing! I am, as I voiced in prayer this morning, praying big prayers because we serve a big God! I am claiming all the goodness He has for me, all the grace, all the mercy, and all the love. Join me as I dance across the finish line and start on the new path ahead. It's filled with promise and abundance for all of us. Happy New Year!