I’m not gonna lie. I’m ready to see 2015 go.
This was a rough year for me and so many people I know. It was a year that left more questions than answers, that brought a lot of grief, and left many promises unfulfilled. So many times throughout the year I felt restless and frustrated, letting myself be distracted with busyness and fear and doubts rather than resting in Christ and trusting His plan. If I was honest I would say that 2015 was one of the worst years I’ve had in a long time.
At the beginning of the year I wrote that God was telling me that He wanted me to lean into Him this year, to fully lean into everything that He had for me and to learn to trust Him in even deeper ways. And in so many ways I failed miserably at that. I doubted Him. I got angry at Him. I pushed Him away and let a root of bitterness grow in my heart over some unanswered prayers.
Because the God that I serve didn’t turn away from me or stop loving me or become disappointed in me. He pursued me and led me to places where He could work in my heart and show me things about my future and plant new dreams in my soul. He patiently waited on me to
stop being dumb fix my eyes back on Him. He never left my side.
I walked through the majority of 2015 asking God “why” every single day. Not understanding.
But even so, He was still good.
And so here we are, the last day of the year. Only five more hours until a new year, a fresh start. But yet with all the excitement and energy that tonight brings, the truth remains – no matter what happens in 2016, He will still be good.
He was good this year in the doubts and frustration and bitterness, and He will be good in the new year, and His goodness is an anchor of hope that lays a foundation for our feet to walk on.
So tonight, I’m choosing to leave some things behind. I felt weighed down this year by so many things but the reality is that sometimes stuff feels too heavy because we were never meant to carry them in the first place.
I’m leaving behind my doubts and I’m choosing to believe that He has a plan and that He works all things together for my good.
I’m leaving behind the weight of other people’s expectations and judgments.
I’m leaving behind unrealistic standards and giving myself grace to try, fail, learn, and grow.
I’m leaving behind bitterness. Over still yet to be fulfilled promises and unanswered prayers.
I’m leaving behind the desire for constant clarity and will embrace the beautiful uncertainty of trust.
I’m leaving behind the thief of all good things – comparison. If I have to remind myself this every single day, I will run my own race, knowing that if I was meant to be doing anything else at this point in my life, God would have already worked it out.
If you have things you need to lay down and not carry into the new year, do it tonight. Just leave it. We don’t have time to be distracted with petty things. There’s too much at stake. Just set it down. You can’t carry it anymore. It’s too heavy. In these last few hours of 2015, be done with it. There’s no special formula or magical prayer that I can give you, it’s simply a choice. A choice to leave behind the negative and embrace His goodness and step into a new year full of gratitude and hope for what’s in store.
2015, you will always be remembered as the year that I almost gave up. The year that I got so angry at God and myself that I couldn’t even think straight sometimes. The year that I was so exhausted I almost had a complete breakdown. The year that I buried my dog of twelve years and laid on the hospital floor as I got the news that my mom had to have emergency surgery. The year that the love of God refused to let me go and captivated my heart all over again. The year that He revealed to me more things about my future and encouraged me at just the right times and planted new dreams in my heart. The year that He restored my hope and calmed my soul.
2015, you brought a lot of loss and pain, but you also brought a deeper level of intimacy with Christ and a new understanding of what it means to fully and completely trust Him and hope in Him.
Absolutely priceless lessons.
So in reality, you were the best year of my life.
So here’s to you 2015 – I’m glad to see you go but I’m thankful for what you gave me. And because of you, I’m stepping into 2016 bolder, braver, stronger, and more hopeful than I’ve ever been.
Happy New Year, friends. May your year be full of love, blessings, and crazy adventures.
We are fighting a war on Christmas.
That’s the first thing I saw when I was scrolling through articles the other day on a Christian news site. I’ve heard it before, seen it written, laughed at news anchors talking about it, but I always just brushed it away and didn’t think anything more of it. But this time I was curious (because too often I assume that my opinions must be God’s as well) – what does God think about this supposed war?
We’ve all seen the fuss made about cups and the way store employees greet us. Arguments about whether or not nativity scenes belong on government properties and the banning of Christmas trees from some stores. And everytime something comes up, there’s a flood of Christians right on its heels, ready to defend, defend, defend and go to war. Fighting for our rights. Standing up for Jesus. Because after all, He is the reason for the season.
I understand where people are coming from, I really do. It’s a natural human response to want to defend and protect what we believe in and hold everything so close and tight for fear of it being taken away from us. We call ourselves God’s army and show up ready to battle because we take such pride in our stances and how dare the Target cashier not tell us Merry Christmas.
So I asked Him – God what do you think about the war on Christmas?
And almost immediately I heard these words in my spirit – “it’s imaginary.” (God makes me laugh. He’s so blunt and funny and it’s fantastic.)
But how true is that? This war we feel like we are fighting?? It’s imaginary. It’s fake. It’s not real. It’s in our heads.
Because the Christmas story doesn’t belong to us.
It’s not ours. It’s His. The story belongs to Him because He created it. This sovereign God penned the most incredible love story ever written and breathed life into it. He set it into motion and saw it to completion.
The entire world could ban Christmas. Laws could be made preventing any public display of Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and decorative lights. Radio stations could refuse to acknowledge the season and not play any Christmas music and carolers could be arrested on the streets and we still wouldn’t be fighting a war on Christmas because the world didn’t give us Christmas. He did. And nothing and nobody can take away from us what God has placed in our hands.
Don’t let anyone steal the beauty of this season from you. It’s pure supernatural magic.
Don’t let the gift of love becoming flesh take a backseat to petty fights and fake wars.
Don’t miss the moment. This is such a sacred and holy story God has written and allowed us to take part in. To experience and be witnesses to its power.
Lean into the story this holiday season. Breathe it in. When you press in, you can feel it. You can feel the hearts, in sin and error pining, waiting and longing for a Savior. You can sense the anticipation welling over until suddenly, He appeared! Oh what a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!
This story, the one nobody can take away from you, you can celebrate it every single day of the year if you want to. The story of how Christ stepped into our reality, wrapping Himself in humanity, pain, suffering, and death.
It’s the celebration of Emmanuel, God with us. In all our trials, born to be our friend. O Holy Night.
Can we all just rest in that truth? God is with us. God is with us. God is with us.
Friends, lay down your swords. This Christmas season God doesn’t want you busying yourself fighting imaginary wars. He simply wants you to rest in Him and to rediscover the truth and the magic of the Christmas story. To long for Him and wait for Him in holy anticipation and then to fall on your knees in adoration and thanksgiving.
This Christmas story – it’s His. It belongs to the Father. He is the author of love made flesh. He gave us the Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace. And no one can take from you the story God wrote for you.
Let all within us praise His holy name.