It's no secret that 2014 was a horrendous year for me.
I remember as the year closed how everyone posted their year in review on Facebook. Although I thoroughly enjoyed seeing others' fabulous highlights, I couldn't bare to put together a photo collage of assorted pictures of my year... each photo bringing some sort of sting or another - even the happiest of ones. So many memories, but many of them felt tainted.
As 2014 came to an end, I was sitting on a beach in Hawaii trying to feel something profound about the end of one year and the start of another. (I know... I know... Not too shabby of a place to bring in the new year... Especially if your year has been the pits). I sat on the sand trying to feel something important with the moon shining down reflecting how big the ocean was and how comparatively small I was. I ran my fingers through the sand, hoping the wind would whisper some secret message from God about how all this pain would mean something one day... obviously I got nothing. The longer I sat & prayed, the more frustrated I got as I tried to conjure up some sort of spiritual sentiment about a "fresh new year." And at the end of much soul searching & prayer, all I could do was raise both hands in the air and give 2014 the middle finger and hope that God would honor my honesty as the waves welcomed in the new year in absence of my celebration.
It's not one of my finest moments, I'll admit, but as I stood up and wiped the sand from my legs, I honestly felt better. Not from giving 2014 the middle finger (sorry mom), but from being honest with myself and knowing that whatever 2015 held, God would sustain and He would provide. I might not end the next year standing valiantly looking back, but I was content with finishing the year on my knees, barely breathing, but still clinging to the one who stood valiantly in my place. And in that moment, the one where I shook my fists at life and then was able to walk away humming it is well with my soul, that was enough for me. He was enough for me.
I share this intimate memory because this year as I look at all the #bestnine's on Instagram and all the well wishes on FB, I am thinking of the many who aren't looking back on this year with fond reflections, but rather are desperate to say #byefelicia and take a step forward. I can't help but think about those who have quite possibly survived the worst year of their lives and are left clinging to Jesus, ready to have a tangible marker of newness.
A fresh page.
A new year.
A catalyst for healing.
This entire year that has felt like a dark night, well dear friend, it's over and you've survived it. And my guess is that if you look back on all the hurt and pain, you'll see what I saw even in my suffering too...
A good God, who ordains all things, walking with you through the rubble of your life, providing manna for each day... even if it wasn't the type of manna we were hungry for.
...And let it be enough for this past year. Let Him be enough.
As the sun rises on 2016 let's go ahead and acknowledge that although our circumstances didn't drastically change from 11:59pm to 12:00am, we have been given an opportunity amidst the hurt to live out our stories of suffering in a profound manner... To live our stories in a way that point to a Greater Story.
Today marks a new chronological chapter in your journey. It's an opportunity to reset, to create, to dream, to plan. And it is an opportunity to write new pages in your story of suffering. You can't change what has happened to you, but you can work on how you'll live it out in 2016.
So if last night at the stroke of midnight you were shouting profanities to the moon, I won't judge you, you're in good company. But let today be something different.
Today is the day that you fight through all the hurt and still choose to trust God with your future.
Today is the day that you choose the hard work of forgiveness, healing, restoration, grace, newness, hope, contentment in spite of it all.
Today is the day that you, like the Israelites in the Old Testament, lay stones of remembrance of what God has done in your life and choose gratitude.
Today is the day you wipe the sand from your legs and walk away singing, "whatever my lot Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul."
Today is day one of this new chapter of your story. Tell 2015 #byefelicia and live 2016 well clinging to Jesus my friends.
Cheering for you,