“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19
There’s no better verse that could describe the last year for me. It’s amazing what a year can do, isn’t it? The filter in which we view our circumstances will determine our perspective. We have the choice. I confess I didn’t always make the right choice. However, I can’t help but reflect and marvel at how different the place I’m now standing is in comparison.
It was a year of trials, growth, transition and new endeavors. It came with loss and heartache as well as blessings and celebration. I’ve experienced grief to depths I’ve never known and also indescribable joy. I’ve lost someone precious, and I’ve gained new covenant friendships. I’ve grieved with loved ones over deep loss and celebrated new life with others. It was a year of change. Initially, I don’t do well with the idea of change if it’s not on my terms. Anything that seems to threaten the flow that I’ve grown accustomed to will usually be met with a temper tantrum of some magnitude. I threw quite a few of them this last year due to some unexpected changes and I learned a lot about myself; most of which I hated learning in the moment. Although I’m grateful now, it was painful in the process. Most the time it felt I was doing all I could to make it day to day, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes, minute by minute. I learned that I am capable of anger with God so deep that it can rock my faith. I also learned that before this last year, I only thought I understood what real faith looked like, and that you don’t know what you’re made of or what you really believe God is capable of until you have a reason to activate it.
This last year, I was given such a reason when one of my greatest fears was staring me in the face. One of the closest people in the world to me received a cancer diagnosis and I found myself being challenged to trust God unlike ever before. Even though I knew the Word and even knew deep down that she would be ok, the possibility of what “could” happen crippled me. In fact, it was paralyzing. You can “know” truth, but it doesn’t change the fact that fear still creeps in and the lies get very loud. Deafening even. This is what ignited my anger with God, but it’s also what took me to a new level of relationship with Him and trust. There were many difficult trials for me throughout the year, but this challenged me the most as well as prepared me for the others that would come.
I can NOW say I’m thankful for the stretching 2015 did, and the blessings in disguise that it held. There’s much I’ve had to let go of, but it’s not without receiving new blessings and vision in exchange. In looking back, I can see more clearly now than I could while walking through it. At first it appeared to be just desert before me with the hope and that it would get better. God is faithful. Though her journey wasn’t easy, He healed my friend, and she’s come away from it stronger and with more vision and purpose than ever.
Life is going to come with highs and lows, no matter if it’s the beginning of a new year, the middle or the end. 2016 will have it’s share of challenges and blessings as well, but we can choose what perspective we take when we encounter them. We can choose to see and believe that God is in fact doing something amazing behind the scenes, something new that our logical human minds can’t comprehend in the moment, but can only understand after we’ve reached the other side. We can choose to believe that He is creating a pathway in the wilderness and rivers in the wasteland. The story is just beginning.
Your Turn: Can you look back and see how God used your 2015 trials to stretch and grow your faith? What blessings do you have now that you wouldn’t if you hadn’t encountered the trials? We’d love to hear your story! ~ Heather