Has anyone escaped 2016 completely unscathed?
I certainly haven’t.
We certainly haven’t.
Because the first six months of this year were chaotic, confusing, and painful. Trapped between what we felt God had called us to, and the seeming inability to bring the pieces together to accomplish that very task.
And if the first six months were perspective altering for us, we saw with fresh eyes and heightened awareness the brokenness of sin in our world and the lives of those around us in the second six. Sickness, struggle, death, hurt and pain barreling through relationships.
So without trying to write off 2016 as a waste, here are a few graces I’m pulling from the rubble:
-I had missed the signs: I was looking for comfort, security, and stability in relationships and circumstances. But truthfully, God had surrounded me with those things – both painful and positive to point me toward Himself – the only One capable of fulfilling my hearts needs and desires.
-Anger is never as productive as I desire. At first it feels safer than allowing pain to be acknowledged, but in reality it is dangerous because it only hardens hearts, and dulls abilities to feel or experience anything at all.
-God doesn’t waste anything. I’m not ready to say I’m ‘grateful’ for the first six months of 2016, I am however grateful for the things that we learned, the time and relationships it allowed, the perspective and rest, purpose and movement of our lives that God facilitated in that period.
-I cannot control anything. Consistently, in vain, I attempted to accomplish and execute this year. In many areas I think this was because I was forcing in my own ‘strength’ something only God could accomplish but I had foolishly felt was an area He had forgotten or dropped the ball and needed me to step in… so silly, and yet more truthful than I would care to admit.
-Being Spirit-led and dependent is a reality for the Christ-follower whether we choose to live in its light or not. But how freeing to release the struggle to the One who knows my need, cares more than I do, and does not withhold any good thing?
Whether it has been in pain and sorrow or joy and celebration, I hope that 2016 has been life giving to you. And as you align your own heart, and shift your perspective with the beginning of a new year, I pray that it takes you to the secret place – the place of His presence and peace, more than it calls you to a task to accomplish. As Oswald Chambers reminds us, ‘Our Lord calls us to no special work – He calls us to Himself.’
Here’s to 2016, and to what is still to come,
PS: here’s a familiar little prayer that I recorded in those struggling six months: