reflections and resolutions.

2016.
has been a year.
everyone i know agrees on that one phrase:
“2016 has been a YEAR”
most people speak of it in a manner of disdain.
“i can’t wait for it to be over”
“ready for something new”

i would concur in many ways… but i would not throw 2016 under the bus as a “bad” year.
it’s been hard? yes.
it’s been struggle? absolutely.
it’s been healing? very.

this year has been vulnerable. it’s taught me to speak truth, to speak my heart, to fight for better days in a way i would never have been able to without the struggle.
to be honest, this year was HARD.
i had a surgery.
which means medical bills.
which means debt i didn’t anticipate.
thanks to some back problems & other issues,
i traded in my cute little smart car for a reliable, more practical vehicle.
this year, i lost a couple friends that i had been close with for a long time.

i struggled with my faith right away at the beginning of 2016.
in the heart of a chilly Nashville January, i found that i still believed in God- it was a huge comfort to my heart. an anchor i could return to when i questioned things. an anchor i very much needed.
after solidifying my belief in a God who loves, heals and is everything i need, i ran straight into 6 months of traveling and expending myself giving to others. going to so so many shows and spending hours behind the wheel of my car talking to God about every second of it.
then i traveled to Indiana a few times and God made it very clear He wanted to deal with something in me… i was afraid. i knew it would require vulnerability and at first, i tried to embrace the process, but fear won and He still moved and healed– but it was not the fullness of what He intended. as often happens, God brings things back around to completion until it happens the way He intends. and so this time, still trembling in fear i was the most vulnerable i’ve been in years. but do you know what? i was met with incredible grace. grace so deep in friendship and in Jesus that i felt like i was drowning. instead of having stones thrown at me which i expected (and quite frankly would have probably preferred with my legalism struggling heart), i heard the words, “you need to take yourself down off that ledge…you’re human” and as i let this friend pray over me, i let myself cry and be healed in deep places.
just a month and a half later, my best friend had made the venture on a Megabus to Wisconsin and we drove over to Michigan. that night we ended up praying for a friend of ours in one of the top 5 most intense prayer battles we’ve ever faced together.
then in November, i got to spend time with my youngest sister traveling. that weekend i obtained my first ever speeding ticket (thanks Indiana!) but i also had the chance to delve into conversation spaces with my sister that we haven’t had the chance to explore since we were teenagers. that weekend also included one of the darkest venues/shows i’ve ever been to– i remember very vividly holding tight to my best friend’s hand in the middle of a bar show, praying fervently and aching to feel Jesus in that place. it was a suffocating darkness and we were both in disbelief of the magnitude of evil that dwelt there. but, as i have learned in these last years, when darkness rears its ugly head like that, those of us with light in our very being MUST stand against it. we have no other choice, it’s in the re-written DNA that is who we are. so we fought it. and we both gasped as we saw and felt the light come bursting through, breaking the darkness– the veil torn in two right before our spiritual eyes.

then suddenly…

the year was basically over.
it was back to discipline.
back to routine.
time to dig back into relationships and the everyday.

at first i was very okay with those things- sleeping in my own bed was wonderful and even doing laundry was a quiet restful pause for my heart. but i’ve learned that i actually thrive in constant motion- it’s the quiet and the average daily life that i struggle with most. sure, it’s easy to be full of faith when you’re in motion and seeing God tangibly move. it’s much harder to walk in grace and assured freedom when you’re doing data entry and answering emails at your 9-5. honestly? after a few weeks of this, on top of the weather turning colder and winter rearing it’s icy, blue head– well, i sank into a depression of sorts. i was constantly tired and not wanting to be around anyone- not even my roommate.
it was in this time period that i became incredibly grateful for the facetime calls i would have with my 2 year old nephew. the way he calls me “auntie!” melts my heart. he loves playing with me so much that when i’m in Kenosha and we facetime, he likes to take my sister’s phone into his playroom and we “play” over the phone. i’ve never known such complete adoration and love from someone as much as that kid loves me unconditionally. i’m incredibly thankful to God for him because he has kept my heart out of depths of darkness with his giggle. at Christmas when i was visiting my family, he took off my pretentious hipster beanie and put it on his own head, “auntie- hat on!” he triumphantly declared as the brim covered his eyes and fell down to his chin. i laughed and laughed and replied, “yup bud you’ve sure got it on!” to which he promptly handed me his hat and looked at me until i crammed his little mickey mouse toddler ski hat onto my own head.

so here we are.
2016 is ending in a few hours and 2017 will be taking it’s place.
a year wide open with promise and challenges of it’s own.
one of my old friends works for the local newspaper in my town and a couple of evenings ago, as i sat at my favorite Kenosha coffee shop playing games with friends, he passed by and questioned us if we had any resolutions for the new year and if we’d like to be in the article he was writing on that subject. one of my friends immediately stated, “yeah i’ll do it! i totally have a resolution!” but i knew in my heart that i didn’t have any strong resolutions for 2017- nothing to write home about and certainly nothing to put in a newspaper. so my friend took his notes and went on his way while we continued our game and i pondered the year of 2017 and what it could mean.

later, as i lay awake in bed, trying to doze off, i thought further on the subject of resolve.
sure, i could resolve to be more healthy. i’ve done that every year since i can remember and every year i learn more, and adapt my lifestyle more to one that helps my body grow stronger.  i could resolve to read “X” amount of books to gain knowledge- but what would that achieve besides a pressure to read consistently? i read anyway. i couldn’t come up with a solid resolution in my mind, so i let the thought go until the next morning when i woke up and began flipping through my notifications on my phone.

“that’s it!” i exclaimed out loud.
no more living in the past.

2017 is going to be the year i resolve to live in the now and the future of what God has for me.

no more looking back to where i was.
no more spending time lost in thought over regrets.
no more being chained to who i was before Christ rescued me.

2017 is unknown.
2017 is not smudged by failure or doubt.
2017 is new.
2017 is hope.

my new year’s resolution: live.

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