I thought about starting this post in disbelief that nearly three months have gone by without even so much as a few words being posted here, but I figured that fairytale world of being a consistent blogger (Am I even a blogger?) was flushed down the toilet several years ago so why start pretending now? I am sure you are well aware that we are now in the year 2017. Instagram, Facebook, and the yearly goals! plans! change! mantra everyone is screaming from their various platforms have made sure we are not missing the fact that this is a new year and new things need to happen and new is better than old and newnewnewnew. And unfortunately, even I, the slightly cynical woman, am not immune to the magic that is the New Year.
A few nights ago I had a mini-meltdown when I got home from work. Spencer asked what was wrong and all I could muster was, “There’s so much to do!!!!” In his attempt to console his manic wife by asking what exactly needs doing, I erupted into tears because HOW COULD HE NOT KNOW, only for another question to follow: Do I even know what needs to be done?
The hype of changing things up, setting goals, and forgetting the past had gotten to me in such a way that my personality and mental capacity just cannot handle. I am the kind of girl who likes things the way they are. And although you would never know it by how scarcely I write here, I thrive in consistency. My sudden outburst stemmed from feeling like I needed to do something but not knowing what that something was. Days later, I still have no clue.
With the hard push from all angles to give 2016 a “Bye Felicia!”, I have struggled with how I am truly feeling about this past year. My Facebook feed tells me this was one of the worst years in recent memory because elections and dying celebrities and ISIS. My Instagram feed tells me that filters and likes and catchy captions took up a lot of our time, focus, and energy this year (myself included) and took away from authenticity, family time, and self-confidence. All around I am reminded that cowards behind keyboards have gained confidence in their uninformed opinions on issues that go far beyond a computer screen. (I propose these people have always existed, we just now have a powerful figure on center stage who validates and justifies the deepest, darkest parts of our sin-ridden hearts.) This past year has left my shoulders hanging low, with a heart that pulses with sadness, and eyes that have been filled to the brim with salty tears. I am so tempted to look at all that happened in 2016 and run full steam ahead to a new year…
But something is holding me back.
I feel the tight grip on my heavy shoulders. I feel the tugging in my aching heart. I feel the familiar sting in my eyes from tears yet to fall. It’s Jesus. And He is telling me to look back and see 2016 with clear eyes, a healed heart, and strong shoulders. He’s whispering in the ears that have heard so much hate to turn around and hear the good. He’s baiting my mind to remember that He makes all things new and that in Him all things become beautiful in their own time. He’s holding my hand so tightly so that I might hold fast to the hope I profess, for He who promised is F A I T H F U L.
And as I take that chance of trust to look back on 2016, with a weary head and heart, I can see his faithfulness. I can see… Him.
Much like falling into the trap that is the New Year, I too googled “best nine” with anticipation for what would be my best moments of 2016. Maybe like me, you did the same and were met with great disappointment. I don’t know what I expected to see when the website spit out my square grid, but the mix of photos it chose were all wrong. I realized then that my “best nine” were never posted on a social media platform. The best parts of my year were not for the world (or tiny amount of followers) to see. My best nine honestly cannot even be put into words. But I will try to put them into a list. Because I am a list girl and there is nothing wrong with that.
- When failure and disappointment was met with the comfort and open arms of my husband, over and over again
- Answered prayers that came in the form of new friends
- Expanded realization of the privilege I have as a white human being and what I can do about it
- Affirmation that counseling is a call from God on my life, professionally or otherwise
- Working in a new place that has stretched, encouraged, challenged, and grown me
- Spending Christmas morning the same way I had for 21 years for the first time in three years
- Spending more money on travel and less on material things
- Letting go of past hurts and learning to forgive
- Stepping out of a dark season into light, love, grace, and mercy
There was so much pain in 2016 – there is no denying that fact. But there was so much good too. May you have the eyes, heart, and shoulders to turn back and see what goodness was in your days, despite your Best Whatever, and press forward into 2017 with the determination to not let the darkness steal your light this year.
Happy New Year, my friends. I am only 17 days late.