I so wanted to have this post up on Monday, however we were having horrible weather which made for horrible internet. Then, Tuesday I rented the new Jason Bourne movie and watched that instead of blogging. Because, y'all, the Bourne movies are some of my most favorite and it hit Redbox this week! On to today's post: around the end of the year, photos and videos start popping up on social media, giving a recap of everyone's year. The best nine typically is found on Instagram, so I checked out what mine was going to be. The website just generates your top nine based on numbers of likes. While I liked all the photos, I didn't feel like it really showed what 2016 meant to me. So, I chose my own top nine. You may have already seen it on my instagram, but here is my top nine, with lessons, moments, and memories I want to remember as 2017 begins.
We were only three months into 2016 and I found myself moving into a house with my already roommate and two practically new to me girls. I was a little iffy on the whole move at first, I am anytime that I have to move. In college and the couple of years after, I never blinked an eye to moving around or changing places. Yet, the older I've gotten, it's something I don't want to do as often. I like where I am and I want roots. Roots can't grow unless they've been planted somewhere for awhile. At the same time, I don't want to be unwilling or unopen to whatever and wherever the Lord may lead me. Ultimately, my roots are in Him alone and in 2017, I want those roots to grow deep and strong.
This is straight from the Instagram caption of when I shared this picture last May: "Four years ago I graduated from college. My life looks completely different four years later than what I thought it would be. But, I'm resting in the fact that God's ways are higher and better than mine and I'm so thankful for that and praise Him for where He has put me. These years have taught me to take risks and have adventures, to take care of myself and cultivate good habits, that moving back home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the importance of finding community. So, here's to the next four years of navigating the sometimes unfamiliar adult life. My time at Bama taught me a lot, these last four years have also, and I'm sure the next four will as well. Roll Tide to the adventure that awaits." This year, 2017, marks five years out of college and ten (10!) out of high school. You guys, that seriously feels like a lifetime ago. Even as I read that caption and this post again, all of these things still ring true. I want this year to bring more adventures, more risks (the good kind!), more community, and more cultivating those good habits.
I think THE biggest lesson that 2016 brought me was experiencing forgivess and reconcilation. Not only in extending it, but being offered it as well. I finally broke through a wall that I had built and continued to fortify for six long years. That wall did nothing but keep people out and allow my heart to harden. And when the silence of six years was broken, I found freedom. There was reconcilation, yes, but there is still work to be done. And I've never been so happy to see work in my life. If there is one post I want you to go back and read from 2016, it is this one. And I pray that if there is someone on your heart, someone you've had silence with, someone you need to forgive, that the walls will come down and freedom will come in. Never have I understood Ephesians 4:32 more. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
It's funny to me how quickly friendships can form and how I don't often remember the first time I meet someone. I just remember all the times after and the stories and moments we can relive. My last year at college brought me two of the greatest friends. We had been in school with each other for years already and in the same college ministry, but one summer we were all still in town when it seemed everyone else was gone, and we've been in a group message ever since. ha! Last fall, I got to watch one of those sweet friends get married. It was one of the best weekends and greatest celebrations. I love weddings, because they are like mini college reunions. And when one happens in your college town, you get to walk along the same streets and eat at the same restaurants at late hours and just reminiscence about how much you miss things. And realize that you miss it a lot, because of the people you were with the first time, and it just wouldn't be the same if you moved back without them. We may not all be in the same town anymore, but I know that they are literally only a phone call or text away.
Remember when I moved into that new house at the beginning of 2016? Well, it brought two new people into my little community. We are #Casa605 and we only have good vibes, #Casa605Vibes. And one of those girls got herself engaged and married in 2016. The other has become one of my dearest friends and we are practically the same person, except she is way extroverted and I am way introverted. So, it makes for interesting times.
One of the best books I read in 2016 was Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I knew the moment that I saw it announced, it was a book I needed to read. I immediately pre-ordered and wanted to devour it the moment I got it in the mail. Instead, I took my time, did an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 ministry and worked my way throug the book, chapter by chapter, week by week. And there were some days I didn't want to keep reading, because it cut so deep. I'm pretty sure Lysa had seen some of my posts here or maybe a journal or two that I've written in, because this book was absolutely for me. It will frequently be pulled off the shelf and most likely re-read each year. One of the biggest take aways from this book was the practice of replacing lies with truths. I realized that I am not unworthy or alone, invisible or ignored, uninvited or defeated. My God sees me, knows me, and wants me. The same is true for you as well. In 2017, get rid of the lies and practice putting on truths.
In 2016, I discovered what resting in the Lord looks like. And how following Him is simply choosing Him. It's not always going to look perfect and it won't always be grand. But, all I have to do is simply choose to say yes. No longer do I want my laziness, lack of perfection, or comparison to other believers distract me from following the Light. I read this verse with new light in 2016 and I want to carry it with me into 2017: "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek." I'm declaring and committing to that verse (Psalm 27:8) in this new year.
2016 also made me an aunt for the sixth time! I got to welcome and meet another sweet nephew into my heart. I swoon over every picture I have of my neices and nephews and wish ALL of my free time could be with them. I'll settle for holidays, praying that I make the most of the time that I have with them. And pray that they know how dearly loved they are. I will never understand how my heart can love so many places and so many faces. How much more is the Father's love for us!
And finally, 2016 saw the end of the golden year. I said goodbye to 27 and hello to 28. What does it hold? Only God knows. I've stopped with birthday wishes. Instead, I just thank Him that I'm able to blow out candles for another year and pray that I will enjoy every moment and honor Him as much as I can.
Happy 2017 everyone!
What lessons, memories, or moments are you bringing with you into this new year?
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