Welcome 2019! I’m so so happy that you are here! I wanted to write a blog post that would sum up one of the most influential years of my life. I wanted to provide a vulnerable and life giving perspective to the highs and lows of 2018. So, here it goes….
2018 has been a year of extremes; from weddings to funerals, pregnancies to hospital visits, break ups to new friends, graduations to first days, goodbyes to nice to meet ya’s and everything in between. The highs of 2018 were high and the lows were oh so low. That neutral in-between feeling, of most years, never made an appearance in 2018. Whether joy or sorrow; emotional were always high. God has taken my life, that once felt certain and constant, and turned it into an unrecognizable place. This year I have experienced 5 close family/friend weddings, 2 engagements, 3 family pregnancy announcements, a break up, two moves, graduation from college, a dietetic internship, and one death, and two hospital visits – on top of the normal transitions into adulthood. Sometimes I look at my current position with confusion; life seemed so set and consistent for so long, and within one year everything has changed.
I love setting goals for the new year. As I took my time getting ready this morning, I read through my journal from the beginning of last year. I had listed out specific goals for 2018. Some included the obvious, such as graduate from college, get into a dietetic internship, read the whole Bible in a year, go somewhere you’ve never been. I was proud to be able to cross off a lot of accomplished goals. One that I am extremely proud of is reading the Bible in a year! I have never done that and I finished the challenge today! As my eyes scanned to the next page I saw that I had written a little prayer about the new year.
“For 2018, I don’t want to have the same mediocre relationship with Christ that I’ve been fine with. I want to see true growth and change. I want to walk out my calling and not get wrapped up in non-sense and lies or schemes from the devil. I don’t want to allow fear to be my direction. I want 2018 to be a year that I remember as a turning point in my life. A year that changes me for the better and opens up the giftings and callings that I’ve been sitting on for all these years. Lord, let 2018 be the year of progress, growth, change, healing, newness, and giftings. Give me the ability to learn and a spirit that is teachable.” – 2018 Goals from my 2018 Journal
I can’t help but laugh at my prayer for 2018. I was so clueless asking such a bold request from God. When I wrote this prayer, I had no idea how God was going to answer it. I’m sure I thought it would be this glamorous transformation, like I always do! I thought God would miraculously change my heart and mature me. Little did I know, my whole world would have to be shaken in order for “true growth and change” to occur. I can truly tell you that 2018 has been a turning point in my life and has changed me for the better, just like I asked for. God has “let 2018 be the year of progress, growth, change, healing, newness and giftings.” Wow, has God answered this prayer!
I want to share a small portion of how God has answered this prayer. In one week, I broke up with the man I was dating for 2 years, graduated from college, almost ended a friendship of 8 years, signed for a house in SLO, and moved back in with my parents. The rest of the year would continue the pattern of extreme highs and lows. As I stated above, I was part of 5 different weddings (including bachelorette parties and showers), received 3 pregnancy announcements, buried my uncle, spent Christmas night in the hospital with my great grandmother, started my dietetic internship, moved to San Luis Obispo and even today watched my sister get taken to the hospital by paramedics. There were plenty of times that I stopped and asked God what He was doing? I didn’t understand the necessity of taking away everything that I knew and completely bulldozing it.
The things that used to bring me so much joy, didn’t. And the things that used to be so important, weren’t. Life felt like those cities that you see on TV after an incredible storm. But something so beautiful happened in the middle of this crazy year; God answered my prayer above. During the break up, deaths, changes, and moves I found intimacy with God. I sat at His feet with tears streaming out of me, begging for Him to change the circumstances and take away the pain. During the wedding celebrations, new adventures, and births He brought joy that could only come from Him, in the purest form. No one can comfort you in the middle of a storm like the one that has the ability to make it calm. In the middle of these changes, God’s intimacy produced this new maturity and growth. The maturity and growth came from a place of brokenness and uncertainty. Looking back at the prayer that I prayed for 2018, I didn’t realize that my prayer could be answered through brokenness and uncertainty, but it was.
It’s a painful process when God begins to prune. That “true growth and change” came from God removing toxic relationships and fruitless habits. Even though all of those things were bringing nothing but death it still was one of the most painful things I have experienced to date. God had to remove all of the things that were causing confusion and stagnancy in my life in order to grant me the newness that I was asking for. I can truly say that I have experienced God for myself in 2018. In the process of being pruned, I found the maturity, growth and change that I longed for at the end of 2017. Do I wish things could be different? Absolutely! But there’s a beautiful maturity that comes from the battle that can’t be gained in the victory.