What did you learn in 2016? I learned a lot. But I can’t begin to measure what 2016 taught me.
It wasn’t my best year in concrete ways. I lost count of the challenges and financial setbacks somewhere around June.
Only to find higher and higher hills each month, culminating in complete physical and technological breakdowns that have left me physically wounded and without my computer to write and at least virtually step outside this broken body.
God is forcing me to BE STILL so completely right now. I’ve been trying to revel in the stillness despite its frustrations, and listen in it.
I have made no attempt to blog until I couldn’t let go of God’s sweet presence with me this morning. I am slowly and painfully typing this on my phone. But I wanted to write this down at least for myself.
I had times this year that I was so sad, I struggled to breathe in my despair. I felt hurt and inadequate, alone.
But what I learned there was what made me realize in the end, 2016 was exceptional in ways that defy measuring.
I drew closer and closer to God, pressing in, crying out for guidance and solace. I wept, arms outstretched to heaven, praying, groaning. Mostly seeking His answers and peace.
And I learned the greater blessing in that.The blessing isn't a storm free life, but God's peace and presence in the storms. Click To Tweet
This morning, I was reading in Isaiah, chapter 65 God’s promises for His people and I ached with hope.
“I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
Isaiah 65:19-24 ESV
After spending this year immersed in such a tremendously broken world, oh! how I long for this day of God’s promises: long lives and children who always grow up and personal health and prosperity.
If 2016 taught me anything, it is that without God, all we have are the storms of this life without any hope or joy or peace.
But we have PEACE.
A peace that makes no sense outside of Christ, but is so real and so profound that I know as hard as this year has been, for all the losses financially and emotionally and physically, I’ve been blessed spiritually beyond measure.
I’ve grown in how I process my hurts and fears. I’ve grown in how I respond more than react.
Each storm prepared me for the next. While I would have rather not had the challenges, I would not trade the reliance on Christ I’ve gained.
Each type of season passes. Both busy and slow, joyful and difficult seasons eventually give way.Every season passes - both joyful and difficult seasons give way, only God is eternal. Click To Tweet
I wouldn’t mind a season of fewer struggles, yet I know I’m heading into 2017 facing some difficulties that may not make for an easier year.
But when I gave up my life to follow Christ, I gained back a life that is blessed beyond measure in ways that cannot be counted.
I am still human and struggle against grief and fear, but through overcoming this year, I have an underlying current of trust and hope that the end of Isaiah speaks to so beautifully.
He writes a stunning dichotomy of God’s wrath and punishment juxtaposed against prophecies of Christ’s redemption of His people and glorious eternity in Heaven.
Joy and pain balanced with hope and promise, which is a pretty good way to end 2016. Happy New Year!