Looking Back, Looking Ahead

New Year

I’m not sure how I would even begin reflecting on 2015. It’s been almost exactly a year since I started my original blog. I am a different person today than I was a year ago. To go on record, this has honestly been one of the best years of my life, when I hit some of my highest mountaintops. I traveled to the championship bracket with my soccer team. I performed in two shows that are very dear to my heart with two of best casts of all time. I graduated from high school with my best friends. I spend an astoundingly renewing two weeks in the wilderness learning more about myself and building life-long connections. I moved into college at my dream school. I made millions of incredible memories with old friends and made new friends that will be in my life for a long, long time coming. I shared long late night talks and countless cups of great coffee. I learned a little bit more about what love is supposed to look like. I discovered my passions and got to run with them, to be a part of something bigger. I found a new church family and got to see the Holy Spirit move in incredible ways. I explored and adventured and fell in love with brand new places.

Without making that paragraph impossibly long, I’ll just say that I run out of adjectives to describe the year 2015 was. It has been nothing short of amazing. And sitting down looking back on it now, my only response is gratitude. We have a God who isn’t content with mediocre. He wants to give us so much more. I stand amazed at where He brought me and what He gave me in 2015.

I think this past year will serve as a reminder for me. Because you never come to the mountaintops without walking through the valleys first. 2014 was a year of valleys for me. But I would never wish it away, because I know how much God used it to grow me. He proved to me through it that He really can make beauty from ashes. And 2015 wouldn’t have looked the way it did unless I had passed through 2014 first.

The last few days I’ve been feeling stuck and overwhelmed. The New Year always comes with this expectation for transformation or renewal. But when I look ahead, I see an increasing amount of adult responsibility, decisions about internships, finances, and other scary stuff. I feel utterly disqualified to handle anything ahead of me. When I look back, I see a year that I don’t want to forget. I don’t really want things to change or transform, because everything I experienced in the past year was so wonderful. I guess I want to press pause on the New Year.

But I know that I can’t. And again I am reminded, I cannot get to the mountaintops unless I pass through the valleys first. If I’m honest, I realize that I am never going to be fully qualified for the things life throws at me, but God will equip me to do them anyway. Because it’s His strength, His motivation, His discernment, His peace, not my own. Above it all, He holds the plans for my future. He’s shown me before what He can do and I’ve stood amazed. He’ll do it again. I can trust in Him to bring me through the valley, renewed more than ever before, and set me on the mountaintop. I’m not projecting that 2016 will be a year of valleys, not at all. But every year has some valleys. When I am faced with unknowns and uncertainties, I can trust they are never too big for Him to handle.

 

And so, I can walk into 2016 with confidence. That He is not finished with me yet, that He is in control, and that He is always good.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” (Exodus 14:14) In this I find my rest.

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