New.

Here we are at the end of yet another year. For some this year has been the hardest one full of challenges, heartaches, pain, suffering, and disappointment. For others, it has been among the best in their life, full of hopes fulfilled, joy, dreams coming true, and more. For all of us, we each inevitably face the new year, we face whatever is coming while looking back at our past year. And we reflect.

It’s funny for me. This time last year, I was preparing and gearing up to work in just a few hours on New Years Eve. Honestly I had no plans and didn’t want to be alone on New Years, not because I can’t handle being alone at the holidays but because I wanted to be focused on starting fresh without wallowing in the pain of the past. For me, last year ending was so needed. A year full of compromise, brokenness, disobedience to God, but ending with painful yet beautiful redemption…I was insanely ready to have new goals, dreams, and purposes. So as everyone else rang in the new year, I had been on a traffic stop when I heard our dispatch welcome everyone into 2018. As I walked into the year, I had no clue just how polarizing it would be to 2017. I had no idea that less than two weeks into the year, I’d meet the man I’d marry this year, a man far beyond my dreams. I had no idea I would be gaining some amazing (almost) family members by this man. I also lost family members. I had a friend I considered one of my closest, walk away from our years of friendship. I published the first edition of my book, Naked and Bare,…a dream longtime coming came true. I completed my 4th Tough Mudder with my roommate. I paid down a ton of debt! I lost weight and went down pant sizes…no idea how many pounds or inches because I don’t really care. I only care that I’ve gotten in better shape, gotten stronger, and eat healthier. I’ve continued to grow in my field as a cop. I’ve served at my church and seen lives changed by Jesus.

This year has had so many amazing moments. Moments that surprised me, humbled me and blindsided me. There have been some rough moments, but honestly, the good of this year far exceeds the bad. I don’t say this to brag at all. Nothing I did made this year great. God absolutely gets the credit. He took a girl that despite some mistakes, failings, disobedience, and pain from the year before, and make a year beautiful because he is redemptive and loving. He is kind. And he knows more than I do. To you reader, I encourage you in this. Whatever good or bad you have faced in this year, know that God loves you tremendously. His love outweighs the bad and nothing you have done could make him love you less. But he does have more purpose for you than you even know. He longs for a deeper and stronger relationship with you. He longs to lead you to a better, holier, more fulfilling and purposeful life. Even if you’ve had the best year ever, can you imagine for a moment, what more God could have for you? If your year was bad for whatever reason, God does have more for you beyond the struggle and difficulty and pain. And for all of us, regardless of what this next year brings, if you keep God at your center and continue to pursue him, there is nothing that will defeat you. It doesn’t mean you won’t face hardship or pain. But it means God will walk alongside you on your journey and give you strength, peace, wholeness, and perseverance. Be humbled today as you have yet another day, and hopefully, another year to live not just your best life, but your best life for God and become part of a bigger and better story than one you could write for yourself.

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