So, it’s time for my word of the year again. At the end of each year I make an intentional effort to remember and celebrate what the current year had for me and seek The Lord for what is to come in the new year. 2016 was a year of unexpected joys. The word God gave me for it was “Surrender with Joy”. I should have been prepared for just how difficult that could be. But, I don’t know that you are ever really prepared enough for the refining work the Lord does. Even when you see it coming and, better yet, willingly choose it. We walked both blessings and joy, and troubles and sorrow.
But, what I saw was that, with God, we really do get to trade our sorrows for joy. I have known this, I just needed to be reminded. When I look back on the year now, the joys are what stand out most. The joys are what defines it. He took every struggle and turned it into something incredible. He blessed us beyond measure. Far beyond what we could ask or imagine. I had a wonderful summer at home with the kids where I was reminded of just how sweet these years with them are and how quickly it is passing us by. I can’t begin to count the blessings from our mission trip. My heart grew immensely as God changed me and even more as I watched Lily begin to own her faith and walk it out separate of us. I was blessed with a new job in ministry. We moved to a new house where we have more room for new memories. And we probably had our most blessed Christmas yet. It was the kind of Christmas that had nothing to do with the gifts under the tree and everything to do with the immeasurable amount of love and blessings we have.
Throughout this year as I have surrendered with joy, like silver in the fire, I was being refined. God has been redefining me. Redefining what both joy and sorrow are. Redefining what matters to me. Redefining what matters to our family. Reminding me who I am defined by. Reminding me of who/what we are all defined by. So, as I look both back and forward, knowing that God is still at work, I believe this is going to be a year of living into being REDEFINED. It’s gonna be a crazy journey.