I’m not sure there has ever been a year that I have had to fall so many times to grasp the truth that God really is JOY and He is all my HOPE..and I can have REST no matter what! On a cold November afternoon, I realized that 2017 was a birthplace of hope, not pain. It took me the majority of the year to truly believe that God was sculpting my heart into hope not grief.
This year has shocked my heart out of its placid indifference. It has had me clinging to El Deah, the God who KNOWS! I have silent screamed, re-learned joy, grieved with God, hoped in Him, found His promises to be true, clung to Psalms 146, and made a truth book to carry with me (literally & figuratively) into battle. This 2017 has defined real hope to my heart. Oh thank you God for this!
Apart from these significant heart matters, 2017 has brought definite change, good things, new adventures, and deeper friendships. In January, I turned 22 and celebrated with a family birthday picnic and long-awaited sunshine.
In February, we fell into work routine, celebrated Valentine’s Day simply, and bought a new dog-friendly living room rug. We also experienced our first light dusting of snow in our new home!
In March, we woke up to snow lightly falling! Our little blue house was surrounded by enchantment. It was a real highlight for me! Opening our curtains to a light blanket of white made for a wonderful California surprise!
In April, we celebrated Easter, and hope began to spring forth new in my heart! I began to realize things long since buried beneath dead expectations and my noisy soul. We also took our Easter photo in a gas station. Who says life has to be perfect?!
In May, we did lots of little house projects, and signed onto the Wolf Mountain resident staff team four months earlier than planned. I think my Instagram post explains it perfectly,
“I can’t believe May is coming already! I can’t believe how 2 years of marriage feels so short and so long all at once 💜😘 I can’t believe this time last year we were moving to Wolf Mountain, and I can’t believe that next week we will officially be on resident staff!🎉🙌🎉 That’s a lot of “can’t believes”, but the best part of all is that through every up & down, low & high… God has remained the same…faithful, loving, patient… a Giver of good things and a Father of grace!” #lifeisworthliving #becauseofGod
We celebrated our 2 year anniversary with a scenic drive down Highway 49, and an overnight beach stay. And we finally made it to Red Lobster which we have talked about doing since our honeymoon! Procrastinate much? 🙂
My younger sister got married in May! It was such a fun time! There was a great deal of laughter & it was a bit of a mini high school reunion. I continued to learn about real surrender throughout this month, and it was hard…but tentative joy that began to grow within my heart.
In June, we flew fast into summer camp at Wolf Mountain! But for me, summertime was a hard, dark winter. I had a difficult time trusting in God & making Him my Hope alone. Sunlight came in the form of God’s truth, and my heart learned what it meant to cling to God. I asked Him to re-awaken in me an enjoyment for my life. AND HE DID!
We celebrated the 4th of July very simply, and in this month, I began to experience the freedom of hoping in God. It was fresh life all over again!
In August, we finished up the summer camp schedule. I was able to honestly share my heart with the Leadership Live girls, and it was so good to verbalize how my life had changed once again in the midst of summer.
In September, I took a much needed break from blogging and found rejuvenation in the silence. We also celebrated my husband’s birthday and it was such a fun evening! I am so thankful for this man and his faithfulness to me. He has been my steady throughout this year full of ups and downs, and I am more in love with him now than ever before!
In October, I barely took any photos. My heart took a plummet and I once again worked through it with God’s truth. Our truck also had a series of unfortunate events, so an accurate description of my October can be seen in one single photo…
And still it was a month of life! I was able to host my third consecutive October series! Let’s Talk Marriage was absolutley encouraging, and I loved sharing the stories of other women. I am already planning & looking forward to October 2018!
November came like a fresh start all over again. I remember sitting in our backyard surrounded by the beauty, a hint of storm in the air, with my Bible, journals, and truth book…thinking about 2017. I finally saw that it was a birthplace of hope, not pain. I experienced my springtime in November, and it was beautiful! We were also able to host our first Thanksgiving.…and we LOVED it.
We continued to have trouble with our truck. Near the end of the year, we could barely go two weeks without something going wrong. We were jumpstarting our truck to get to church, jumpstarting to leave the church parking lot…etc & so forth. In a matter of months, we bought 4 new tires, a new battery, took apart the steering wheel to fix it, acquired a new & notable dent, and only ever laughed about it all.
And this brings me to December. It was our third Christmas married. WHAT JOY! I have never felt more at home in our little family than this 2017. Decorating our tree, spending the holiday side by side, working through pain together, re-learning each other, building new furniture (well, Ben did that), organizing & adding character to our home, traveling through the night, and in the early morning made for full memories.
We were also able to purchase a new-to-us car! WAIT, WHAT?! (totally God’s provision with perfect timing…a whole new blog post for that one, maybe). I even managed to finish the 4th draft of my book & send it to my editor somewhere in these last 4 weeks. It was one of the fullest, and yet most ordinary Decembers in my short lifetime. I loved it.
We traveled to my family’s house for Christmas and what a joy it was to be together! I took it all in (including gobs & gobs of whip cream! 😉 ). I had deep conversations with my sisters. I cried, we laughed, we shared..it was lovely! Oh, and of course, my brother got engaged. I get a new sister in 2018! ! I love Ember so much… a perfect addition to our family!
I cannot imagine experiencing this year without Ben. It was one of our hardest to be sure, but we have ended it with laughter, joy, and full hope in God. We begin 2018 much the same….laughing, joyful, hopeful, healing, and resting in God.
January 1st is not a magical day, but it is a new day just like any other…full God’s promises, fresh-given mercies, and grace + love abundant! I celebrate today knowing that this year will bring countless changes, but none with the power to separate me from the love of God. I am confident that my heart will always be safe in the hand of my unchanging, completely satisfying God.
I didn’t know my heart could break so much, and still be so thoroughly whole. God works heart-miracles, and I can’t wait to experience how He loves, holds, and changes me in 2018!
I am happy today because God is my Help, my Hope, and my Healing.
Happy New Year!
oh HELLO 2018!
remembering much & look forward to much more.