I have spent a lot of time this year looking back over the past three years – and really over the past nine years. I have so much to be thankful for.
If I could only express one thing that I am the most thankful for – it would be the trials and tribulations that I have walked through. That seems a little odd – but that is what I am most thankful for.
During these past few years:
- I have seen so many friends grow up with me in the family of God.
- Challenging health issues (both mine and my husband’s).
- Learning different ways to worship the Lord.
- Learning to trust and obey God.
- Learning to just breath.
- Learning how to be a lover of souls.
- Dealing with conflicts within the church.
- Learning how to be open in my walk with Jesus.
- Sharing with a younger generation the path that I have learned to walk upon to have a deeper relationship with God.
There comes a point in a believer’s life that is unexplainable to others – but there is a point that you realize – that you can never go back – to fear – to hurts – to playing – to hiding out. You realize that you must go forward.
Last month, my pastor challenged his flock to follow Jesus – to follow Jesus at all cost. Yes, it comes with a cost. I have freely been singing a song:
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
2016 has been a freeing year for me! Free in so many ways. I am free to use my gifts. I am free to just love others – to be a lover of souls. I am free and no longer a slave to fear. I am bolder – I can stand upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So today, I share a verse with you that has brought me freedom in 2016:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
Maybe you have been through the fires of testing this year too – count it as pure joy that God is revealing who you are in Him.
I believe this coming year, 2017, we will see many changes in the hearts of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. If you are willing, God can help you to start cleaning up those messes in your life. It hurts at times and it will make you want to curl up in a knot and not face those trials – but trust in Him – He will make a way where there seems to be no way.
You will encounter those who say that you think that you are better than others. You will encounter those who are still wrapped up in fear and are afraid to step out in faith and start that journey – that journey where you realize that you can never turn back – you must follow Jesus with all your heart.
But no matter what you encounter – just love others. There will be a season of setting up new boundaries in your life and that is okay. You will be called to take a bolder stand for the Kingdom of God – it gets easier with each step you take forward.
If you are ready to walk that path of cleaning up your life – your messes, find someone who you have seen start that journey and share your heart with them.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the many rocky roads that you have taken me down over these past years. Some have been hard – some a little easier – but I can see the effect of that steadfastness take place in my heart. I look forward to the coming year and the surprises that you have in store for me to learn more about your ways. I love you, Lord. I ask this in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.