So, you may have noticed it’s been relatively quiet on the blog for a while. Okay, fiiiine. More than relatively quiet. It’s been barren. And believe me, friend, the not-getting-around-to-updating-the-blog-thing wasn’t intentional.
I started a new job and grad school around the same time. Lots of sudden changes through me for a loop, time-wise, and some things just had to be put aside.
Hey, it happens. I’ve really missed blogging. So, for this post, let’s take a look at 2018 in review.
2018’s Phrase of the Year
If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know that back in January, a phrase of the year came about. It was pretty simple, “try your best and let God do the rest.”
This year was the first time I had really prayerfully considered asking the Lord for a word of direction. Honestly, I had never even heard of doing that until I started blogging and noticed a lot of bloggers in my circle were talking about their “word of the year.“
So, after praying a little, God didn’t just give a word. He delivered an entire phrase.
And, friend, for this year, try your best and let God do the rest couldn’t have fit more perfectly.
What started out hopeful…
When I think about 2018, I think about A Tale of Two Cities. In my humble opinion, that book is the worst. #sorrynotsorry
In the 9th grade, it was an assigned book to read for English class and… well, I didn’t (sorry, Mrs. S!). But, I do remember Dickens penning, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Sure, Dickens might have been describing the French Revolution. But, it also kind of describes 2018, too.
2018 started out hopeful. I had called it The Year of Doing Things. The intent was to try my hand at a bunch of new things and put my peepers on a bunch of new places.
But, I’d say, by February, 2018 started to turn sour– in more ways than one.
Soon became a struggle.
During the early Spring, it was clear that I was just going to have to really trust the Lord to work some things out. (I’m not going to discuss those “things”, not yet, anyway. ) It was obvious I was just going to have to try my best each day and let God do the rest. I can sit here and lie to you and say, “Oh, it wasn’t hard at all. I knew God would move, so I patiently waited.”
But, I can’t. I cannot lie to you, dear reader.
My patience wore thin. I got absolutely sick of the waiting. I teetered over the edge of despair many days. I’m pretty sure my tongue started to bleed from biting it so much. There were days that I sat by myself for hours wondering if God was really going to make a way in certain situations.
I mean, I know He can move a mountain. He can relocated an entire mountain range, if He wants. I’ve seen Him do that for other people. But, when it comes to you, personally, why is it so hard to have faith for yourself?
But, God is faithful…
But, God is faithful. Even when I start to doubt and lose faith by the handfuls.
Eventually, He did change my situation and He did it in only a way that God can. In the way God moved, the question of “why?” from years past was answered. But, believe me, friend, new “whys?” have taken place of the answered ones.
I know, though, those “whys” will be answered. Seems like they always are, eventually.
I can’t continue to talk about 2018 without mentioning something that seemed to happen more frequently that any of us cared for: funerals.
At one point in late fall, my family and I had counted 27 funerals we had attended. One. right. after. the. other.
Even when life is hard.
One funeral is hard. 27 funerals seemingly in a row is rough. It got to the point where we collectively cringed when the phone rang because we just knew it had to be bad news on the other end of the line.
I’ve thought a lot about the funerals I attended and the things that were said. And by said, I really mean learned. Actually, months ago, I had started a post about something that was said during one of the services that stuck with me, but I never hit publish on it. I dunno why I didn’t publish it. I guess the timing wasn’t right?
One of my favorite people in the entire world preached one of the services and said something like, “If you want to get anything out of this life, you better squeeze it out now while you can. That way, you don’t look down the road in 20, 30, 40, 50 years and say ‘Man, I wish I had done that.’ Or ‘Man, I wish I had gone and sat on the porch one last time…'”
Lessons were learned.
It has never been more clear to me than in 2018 that life is always changing and you’ve really only have today to do something that counts. Sure, days may look dark. And other days, you’re one step away from landing in the pit of despair. But, if you look hard enough, God is moving in each and every day. If we really want to do something that matters, it’s up to us to acknowledge His will and follow it.
A friend pointed out scripture yesterday that backs this thought up. James 4:14 says, Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
It’s so, so easy to fall into a slump when you’re waiting for the Lord to move and waste a bunch of precious time.
I know that to be true, because, maaaan. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of it this year. (Maybe, in reality, time wasn’t entirely wasted. In some ways I feel I wasted some time, but in others, not so much. Bottom line: I’m sure I could have redeemed it better.)
Here’s to another year!
I know it sounds like 2018, for me, was only hard stuff. It wasn’t. There was a lot of good that happened in the year, too. Each day, God’s mercies were and are new and there are blessings, both big and small, in each and every one.
Sometimes, you just have to look a bit harder to find them.
I don’t have a word or phrase for 2019 yet. But, hey, it’s only December 28th, so there’s still a few more days left to talk to the Lord about it.
But, I do know one thing. In 2019, my goal is to make each day count and continue spreading the Good News of the Gospel (and yes, blogging regularly like a normal person. 😉 )
What about you? What lessons did you learn in 2018? What are your hopes and dreams for 2019? Drop a comment below and let’s talk about it!