I have never been good at journaling consistently, but I do alright for being a perpetual overcommitter and procrastinator. Several years back I started for myself a New Years Day tradition to read through all of my journal entries from the newly previous year. Sometimes it’s a snooze-fest, sometimes it’s pretty painful, but regardless, I always learn a great deal from myself.
Today I’ve been cozied up on the couch, letting the words that flowed out of my pen in 2016 wash over me for the second time around. What’s sticking out to me after recapping this doozy of a year is the ebb and flow of raw emotion throughout the course of a year. The ebb and flow of spirt, of happiness, of relationships, desires, dreams. My heart was broken a lot over the course of the past twelve months, but I don’t think I’d have had it any other way. 2016 tugged on my heart, stretched it out, and stomped on it once or twice, but the result has been a heart that has grown in its capacity for love and compassion.
Below are a few excerpts from last year’s scribbles that continue to resonate with me as we usher in a clean calendar and a fresh start. I’ll be carrying these thoughts into the new year, while perhaps letting others stay behind in the past where they belong.
But praises be to the God that provides seasons of refreshing. Praises be to the God that pursues me and loves me and roots out my heart of stone before it turns the rest of me hard. Praise be to the God that takes risks and is able to be hurt. Praise be to the God that knows rejection and knows when rejection is coming, and still chooses to love. May I be strengthened by that perfect grace, and still choose to love even though pain may be on the way.
This is giving me a lot of comfort at the moment: “You simply can’t beat love. You can’t out-humble it. You can’t suppress it, because you are always free to love no matter how someone treats you. If others are putting nails through your hands, you can forgive them. If someone is shouting curses at you, you can silently receive them. Love is irrepressible.” (from A Loving Life)
As I come to honestly know myself and what I am and am not capable of, I come to intimately know the Artist that created me with the needs he knew would ultimately bring him glory, and me into closer communion with himself. What a realization- that I am only capable of serving God if I first allow him to serve me.
I’m scared, but it’s everything I want right now. I want a story with twists and turns that leave me reliant on the grace and mercy of God. He is giving me the strength to get through, despite my sin. And he’s refining me, even still.
I trust that God is in control, even when I look at the messy fragments of my life and am left scratching my head wondering how it could even be possible for all these pieces to fit together. I believe he’s working on a masterpiece for the glory of his great name. At least, I pray that’s what he’s doing, and that he’ll help me with my unbelief along the way.
Thankful for the past year of growth and refinement and for the mystery of the future that’s before us.