The new year is upon us, but I want to look back before moving forward. 2016 was a big year. It was full of transitions. It was hard and wonderful all at the same time.
We had to make plans and do things that we found scary and uncomfortable. The irony is that, in doing it, we discovered an abundance of blessing that we would have otherwise missed. I learned the importance of stepping out in faith. God can do so much more than we dare dream if we will just trust Him!
One of the biggest joys we experienced this past year came in the form of friends. They have blessed our family as they welcomed us into their circles.
A dear friend lives six houses down the road. She was sitting by her window on the snowy afternoon that our moving van drove past. “I prayed for your family that day,” she told me. It still brings tears to my eyes that, when we were strangers, someone here was lifting us up in prayer.
God knew we would need those prayers. Some of our hardest moments in marriage and parenthood yet have come this past year. I have experienced loneliness, temptation, depression, anxiety, bitterness, resentments, and fear. God continually proves that He is greater, and that His Word is sufficient. He never leaves, never disappoints, always forgives, always satisfies, and never stops covering me in His grace. With a word, He calms the storms of my heart and gives peace.
We did not anticipate moving, especially to Michigan, when we dreamed of our future. One of the most beautiful moments in 2016 was coming to the realization that God had been molding us for this year and all it would hold. He had readied us for Eric’s job change. He prepared us to not to have the conveniences and luxuries of having family nearby. He had shaped us as individuals to face the changes and challenges – even from childhood experiences!
I can only imagine how God is preparing us today for what will come tomorrow. I wonder how will He use this past year in the lives of our children and future generations. Only He knows. I find such comfort in the small glimpse this year has given us in how He truly does use all things to work together for good!
When we face challenges that will come, I want to look back on this year and remember that God, in His love, is always preparing the way. When my feet stumble and my faith falters, I want Him to remind me of His never-ending faithfulness.
Goodbye, 2016! I am thankful for the days you held.
Welcome, 2017! I’m not sure what the year will bring, but can trust the One who does.
Draw me closer, Jesus…
“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hand…”
Psalm 31: 14-15a