January 2018 is here and I for one couldn’t be happier to see the back of 2017.
As years go, we have had worse; previous years have seen us navigate redundancies and relocations, while witnessing health and marriage difficulties in our nearest and dearest. In fact, on paper, 2017 saw the realisation of many of my dreams, from preaching God’s word and leading worship to becoming a mama for the third time.
So why so negative about the last 12 months?
Because I lost my way.
As a self confessed control freak and obsessive planner, I like to have everything set out before me. I like to organise and plan every detail of my life, and submit my requests to God expecting Him to simply rubber stamp my suggestions.
My path was laid out before me, I thought I had it all figured out.
At the start of 2017 I was brimming with excitement. My head was full of ideas and plans, my heart was bursting with love for my new family, and my faith seemed stronger than ever. I relied upon God for every piece of the puzzle and rejoiced as I watched them slot into place. I was on my way.
Then it happened.
The Enemy crept in, so stealthily that I didn’t even see it coming. As my arms were filled with joy, my mind was filled with lies. Like a thief in the night, the Devil stole my joy and replaced it with doubt and fear. He made me doubt that I was on the right path, he made me doubt that I ever heard God, he made me doubt my purpose.
As the doubt grew, so too did the darkness that fell over my soul. As uncertainty tightened its grip on my heart, my hand loosened its grip from my Heavenly Father. I suddenly found myself drifting from His path, doubting my purpose and feeling totally afraid.
Oh the Devil loves fear. It’s the very life force for him; he preys on our panic with pure glee.
Even on my darkest days, my God never left me
Even when my doubt threatened to overwhelm me, my God upheld me.
Even when I lost my way, my God pursued me.
Then when I couldn’t take any more, He took it away.
Oh I have come to rely on God in a more personal way than ever before in the last year. I have literally fallen to my knees, shouting, screaming, sobbing. I have laid things down and I have lifted things up.
And He has given me beauty for ashes.
The Enemy thought he had won the battle, but my Jesus has won the war
I may have been blindsided, I may have been broken, but God works everything together for the good of those who love Him. I may have lost my way, but God never lost sight of me. Like a loving parent who stands back while their child wanders off, God was always watching, always waiting for me to turn and look at Him.
And when I did, He came running.
Jesus gave everything – literally – so that I could have a relationship with Father God. I am starting 2018 hand in hand with Jesus with renewed hope and a reliant heart. He has saved me and strengthened me.
Jesus replaced my doubt with destiny, my fear with faith
Together we are on a journey and He is showing me that He knows the way, I just need to follow Him.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.
If you don’t know Jesus, can I suggest that you start 2018 by following Him too.