One of the most important lessons I learned this year is to document the moments. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I think my year can best be summed up by Psalm 77. The writer starts off by saying, “Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?... I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago, I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds."
2016 was a hard year, and beautiful year. There was so much growth, but with it came growing pains. There were moments with tears of sadness, moments with tears of joy, and moments with both at the very same time. I’ve had some of my lowest moments this year, but also my greatest moments. And isn’t that just what God does? He loves to redeem our lowest moments with his glory and grace. Looking back I realized that all along, 2016 was a beautiful story. God’s goodness never failed, and he never left. What was intended for harm God used for good.
It’s so easy to miss it if we don’t remember, if we don’t write it down. I’ve learned that when I’m in those disoriented moments of doubt and discouragement, God’s promises never change. God doesn’t lie. When he said he had good plans for you, he meant it. And that is why Hebrews says God’s hope for us is an “anchor for the soul”. In those moments when the pain is so real, so is hope. It’s not like the world where we hope for things and constantly get let down. God never lets us down. And maybe someone needs to know that. The world will. The world loves to throw all kinds of curve balls at us, and usually there’s multiple at the same time, but God’s arms never close and his love doesn’t stop.
Yes. I will remember. I will remember the times I felt rejected, but God’s acceptance overcame the hurt. I’ll remember the crutches that were thrown away after praying for sprained ankles. I’ll remember the prayers that stopped suicides, and the joy that brought smiles. I will remember the community that God brought when friendships were drifting, and the saving of friendships that were broken. I’ll remember the healing of depression, anxiety, and broken hearts of those close to me. I’ll remember God’s love that never stopped redeeming, never stopped comforting, and never stopped saving.
Our feelings fail us. We don’t always feel like God is with us. We don’t always feel like we’re forgiven or that we are new. But looking back, I’m realizing that the truth was always true. God’s love was always stronger than anything I faced this year. So I’ve decided to hold onto truth tighter than my emotions.
I think we all love New Years because we all really want a fresh start. But the truth is we get to start new every single day with Jesus.
I’m so grateful that this year I’ve learned how to have freedom. I actually believe the truth: Jesus sets us free.