I am ready for 2017 to be gone. It has been one of the hardest years of my life. In 2014, I had found a strength I did not know existed in the depths of my soul and once again, I had to rely on something supernatural to survive. The darkest moments of my life began in February 16, 2017 with a phone call. I instantly knew something was wrong, and within 5 hours I was faced with the greatest fear I have ever known. Over the next 2 months, confusion, doubt, and just plain uncertainty loomed every waking moment. Quiet walks, loud pleading prayers, the unknown. Fast forward to September, again I was faced with gripping fear and anxiety. Words spoken I never thought I would hear. Seeking wise counsel, reading God's word, blindsided. Move ahead to November, one phone call, and once again reminded how sacred life is.
Here we are just a few days away from NEW. So, what did I learn at each opportunity to kick my legs and push my head above the water's surface? I learned to grab hold and look fear squarely in the eyes and breathe. Yes, I wavered, I was shaken, but eventually I stood strong and peace filled me. How, when the storms around me surged and the hurricane force winds of circumstance pushed against me? Simple. I stood with loved ones. I stood with my Creator. I stood and leaned in. Anything else would not have worked. I let go of the outcome that I wanted. I released my hopes, dreams, and lifted my desire to heaven’s door. Knowing full well that what I want is a request that can be denied for a greater plan and purpose. A better outcome, a bigger picture.
I experienced hard, but knew in order to survive I must slow down and live one moment at a time. To breathe. To control what I could and let go what I could not. I even prayed, "God, I let go of this mess, it belongs to you anyway." Even now I hear the whisper I heard so clearly for 3 months. "Hold tight". At first, I did not know what to hold on to. When I said those words in my head or out loud, the grip on me and my circumstance lessened and the grip on Him became tighter. I have experienced throughout 2017, just like I did in 2014, who it is and what it is I need to hold on to. I am actually looking forward to 2018. In fact, so much, that I have a plan to go outside at 11:59:50 and kick the dirt, "good riddance", then spread my arms out, lay in the grass and smile as 2018 is welcomed, I am ready. I am wiser, stronger, and loved.
With almost every trial in my life, God brings a song into my life. Below are the songs that got me through, I hope they are a blessing in your life as well.
February- Throne Room by Kim Walker. Lyric… I fall on my face … Holy, holy are You.
King of the World by Natalie Grant. Lyric.. When did I forget the you’ve always been the king of the world? Sent to me by my sister. Reminded me that He is in control, He has allowed these circumstances, they are all part of His plan.
Thy Will by Hillary Scott. Lyric… That my broken heart is part of your plan… these 4 words, thy will be done. This song ran through my mind day after day. It literally got me out of bed.
September- Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells. Reminded me life has shadows and blessings, to praise God through it all.
Do it Again by Elevation Worship. At the oddest times and most needed times this played. Reminding me of His faithfulness. I have seen Him move mountains and I KNOW HE WILL DO IT AGAIN.
November- No song, just a miracle. A life was saved from death. An awakening, an awareness of how precious we are. When He has the whole world in His hand, He is able to see a car traveling across a lane into a motorcycle and make space for that young man to get up and walk away.
Lessons each trial in 2017 taught me:
February- To depend on Him, no other. Seek Him without ceasing. Pray before action. When I waver it is me actually doubting God. I became stronger when I realized this. I trust Him completely. I trust Him when I pray over my family, or why else pray. Wavering is a clear sign I am putting my trust elsewhere. My family, in February, developed a saying, “spin it”. When one of us would go down the negative path, looking at doom and losing hope, someone would say “spin it”, the positives would start one at a time. Pretty soon we were laughing in the midst of overwhelming uncertainty.
September- I rely on God for my happiness, contentment, joy, peace. Not a human. People can disappoint. God is faithful. He has a proven track record in my life. God is in the details if I only open my eyes and wait. God says He is sufficient for all my needs. 2 Cor. 12:9.
November- He loves my children more than I do. Miracles are real.
The song I finish the year with is, Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco. God is in the waiting. He never fails. “Take courage my heart stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting, hold onto your hope as your triumph unfolds, He’s never failing”. The song I begin 2018 with is For the One by Brian and Jenn Johnson. “Help me to love with open arms, like You do. A love that erases all the lines, and sees the truth… Let all my life, tell of who You are”.
I have had an amazing journey this year. I want to be able to hold onto the lessons I have learned, don’t need any more reminders thank you very much. I finally got it! I have decided to read only books that fill me. That draw me into peace and continue to speak courage and strength into me. I have begun to read One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I tried to read it about 4 years ago, but for some reason I could not enjoy it so I stopped. I am devouring it now. See, I am wiser. Her words make sense. Thanks always, always happens before the miracle. I am grateful. I have seen miracles. I am thankful a New Year is beginning. For another inspirational short read, the best is yet to come, click here Save your fork.
Author: Elizabeth Havens, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMT 2522