I started this year at a much different place than where I'm ending it.
Last year ended with a flourish, and as 2017 began, I found myself in a full and hopeful season of building, investing, and planting. 2017 looked to be the year that would bring a long-awaited-for and long-prayed-for harvest.
But sometimes, things don't go according to plan...
At the beginning of the year when I selected FULLY as my word for 2017, I wrote: I love that the dictionary describes fully as completely, entirely, to the furthest extent. It’s giving something your ALL, holding nothing back. That’s the kind of faith-filled life I want to live. One that trusts and seeks and follows Him without reservation, without exception.
FULLY: completely or entirely; to the furthest extent
synonyms: completely, entirely, wholly, totally, altogether, thoroughly, in all respects, in every respect, without reservation, without exception
I also wrote that I wanted to live a life of fullness and joy, not based on circumstances, blessings, or possessions, but on HIM.
And that's exactly the kind of life I was challenged to live this year...
When my deeply hoped for and prayed for plans unraveled, I felt Him very clearly whisper: "Will you still follow me FULLY, trust me FULLY, and live your life FULLY for me, even though your current circumstances and season don't look the way you expected, hoped, or even prayed they would?"
He knows how to cut right to the chase, doesn't He? :)
Sometimes my response was an enthusiastic YES! to that question. Other times, it was barely a whisper of agreement, but in all of those moments, whether I found myself feeling weak or strong, I continued to seek out His heart and follow where He was leading.
I failed often. I grumbled. I complained. I doubted. And I definitely can't say I always followed without reservation.
But in His grace, He kept picking me back up, drawing me near, strengthening my faith, and encouraging me to recommit myself to the on-going process of FULL trust and surrender.
So while 2017 may have broken my heart, it also built my faith.
I'm ending the year knowing Him much more FULLY, and I have an even greater understanding of what it means and looks like to FULLY trust, follow, and serve Him — in any and every circumstance.
As 2017 draws to a close, I will continue to put my trust in Him — completely, entirely, in every respect, without reservation, and without exception.
Because He is good. Always, always good. He's good when we are on the mountain top, and He's good when we are in the valley. This year taught me that I want to live so FULLY surrendered to Him that I trust and praise Him even when the story looks like it has gone terribly wrong.
This year taught me that I want the story that gives Him the most glory.
And as He continues to work that story out in my life, I will continue to FULLY trust, praise, and follow Him wherever He leads.