“… so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:9
I actually had the idea for this blog several months ago, but didn’t ever know how to really articulate it until now. The New Year seemed like as good a time as any to talk about expectancy and hope and goodness.
I’ve never been huge on New Year’s Resolutions- I used to make a few each year, but I’m better with short-term goals. (Weekly, Monthly, etc.) In 2016, I was with a group of friends for New Year’s, and we ended up writing out prayers over our year. We were actually encouraged to pray big prayers. Scary ones. Prayers that required boldness and faith and challenged us. I did. And throughout the year, they were answered. They didn’t all happen directly within 2016, but several years later when I looked back; I realized God had addressed each of those areas in my life, and it was beautiful. They weren’t all obvious, in fact, most of them were too subtle to notice until I moved forward and reviewed them with new perspective. Most of them were NOT answered in ways I was expecting. But all the answers were exactly what I needed.
Since then, I have tried to start off with prayers or declarations for myself and my life every January. Many times the Lord gives me a theme word based on what I’m coming out of or what I’m stepping into- or both. Sometimes the year starts in the middle of a mess, the middle of a big season. But I still get new hope and focus for it each time. This year, I didn’t ask God for any words specifically- but waited to see what He wanted to declare over 2019. And over me. I got lots of things.
My friend had a prophetic dream about me on December 31 (shoutout to Luke Trimble, you’re the best). Saying he believed that God wanted to Elevate me to new levels in 2019. A place of putting pieces together that I have been seeking clarity in. That I was being held close, seen and loved by the Lord and having it revealed in deeper ways. That it’s a time of being called out and up; a year of growth. Such a rich word!! I’m still praying into what that means for myself and others this year, believing to see things brought higher! On top of this, I have just been overwhelmed with the deep Goodness of God in this time. Just being reminded of it, and having such a hunger to see it in all parts of my life. And ever since November, God has been teaching me more about Thankfulness and just being entirely Grateful. These words are HUGE. If thankfulness is not at the very core of my being, then nothing else will be viewed from the right perspective. And I’m longing to have an even greater heart of gratitude. With this, I’ve stepped into a place of Anticipation and Excitement. I believe God is moving me into new places, new things, new people. Lots of Change. And I am beyond excited about it. Normally, I hate change. I crave consistency and routine and dread anything that will take me out of my ordinary. But when God brings it and He is in it; I have realized it is well worth releasing my schedule. I know that Big Things are approaching in 2019. Not just for me, but for others in my life as well. I heard specifically that Increase is coming. Along with being elevated, I believe things are going to move and shift all around me as I step into areas of abundance where God is moving me. I can’t wait!! Also this year, I feel especially provoked to remember that I am Beloved. Several years ago at a girls’ retreat, one of the leaders handed out mirrors with words on them that we were supposed to remember. Mine was ‘beloved’. At the time it didn’t mean much to me, until recently when I began to feel God just singing it over my heart again and again. I had forgotten all about the word and the mirror- but once I was reminded it all came back to me. I felt as though God was trying to teach me in new ways how beautiful I was; especially in my heart- and how He longed to reaffirm my identity. It is often overlooked and forgotten, especially when so much is going on around me. But even when I feel overlooked or alone or cast off, I remember that “I am my beloved’s, and He is mine.” I printed off a sticker of this and put it on my steering wheel- so as to always be reminded of who I am and whose I am. Everywhere I go, He is with me. And I am NEVER alone. I may not have someone calling me ‘beautiful’ but that doesn’t determine my worth. My maker is the one who fully knows me and fully loves me. He sees me and never forgets me. I often look at the word as be.loved. And it’s so true. I am loved. I need to remember that He loves me and allow myself to sit in it and feel it and truly be loved by Him.
All of these words have been given to me in regards to my life and my year ahead. That’s so much! It’s a lot to look forward to. I believe they are all connected in so many ways that I could never expect. But I receive them and look eagerly ahead to 2019.
I say all that to say, I didn’t have resolutions for this year. I didn’t have a specific prayer or even a theme word. (I had 10, haha) But what I do have is Great Expectation. I went into the year just so full and hopeful and receptive to every good thing that God wants to bring me. Open to all that He will do. Ready for all that will come. I’ve realized that His ways are always so much more beautiful than mine. His ideas are big, and I don’t want to stand in the way of watching them fold out. His love is infinitely huge and I want to be right in the center of it to receive every last thing that He has. I didn’t begin with a prayer or a goal- but I did begin with Him. And I am eager to continue through the year in exactly that position. Through the amazing things like all of these words display; and also the low points that I’m sure will come. <But sometimes we must be brought low to be elevated. Must experience hardships to recognize goodness. Must learn to be thankful when we lack. Sometimes change is hard and big things come through small disappointments. We may not feel loved but we learn to let it be.> Even if this is the case; the journey is beautiful, and years like this are the kind that change you.
I used the verse on top of the page because it’s so true. No matter how excited I am for this next chapter of life, God is even more excited. No matter how many plans and dreams and ideas I have, God’s are even greater. No matter how much I do, He has even more in store. But there was another verse that was so fitting for this as well. “Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20. FAR. MORE. ABUNDANTLY. God is so far above me- He already knows my thoughts, sees my dreams, and holds my life. This verse encourages me to dream and dream big. To pray scary prayers. To think daring thoughts. Cause He is already in them and He’s already lining my path with surprises. He’s already seen it all and said it was good!!! And that just kinda gets me excited! The fact that I can’t dream too big or ask too much or hope too high- yeah, that’s pretty dang thrilling to hear!
And He’s already started my year off in ways greater than imagined! Namely with the fact that one of my VERY BEST FRIENDS, Megan Alford- flew up to Pennsylvania to surprise me last week! Megan is a missionary in Jamaica currently, in the middle of a 3-year commitment. The last time I saw her was the beginning of summer 2017. Before I was gone for a month, then she moved down, and when I came back for a couple weeks before moving to PA- she was already gone! Since then, neither of us has been in the same state (or hardly even the same country) at the same time. It’s been so hard knowing she was in Georgia to visit while I was here- or when I would go down to see family or even go to Florida, but she wasn’t home. But on Dec. 31, she walked through my door (a complete shock!) and I cried my eyes out as I gave her the biggest hug in years. Spending the first few days of 2019 with her was one of the greatest blessings imaginable. God worked all that out- something that wasn’t even in my mind. AND, 2 weeks from now I fly out to Oklahoma to visit another one of my girls!! Jaclynn and her husband Andrew moved out there for his station in the airforce, and I get to see them and meet their precious new son!! Only God could organize that I get to see 2 of my greatest friends in the course of a month; girls I haven’t seen in years. This year is off to such a great start already- it’s not difficult to look for even bigger things around the corner! It’s gonna be wild but such a ride!
I do actually have 2 prayers for this year: Mainly this season. The first is “God, help me to become so much more aware of Your constant Presence.” And the second one, “I want to see You with my eyes open.” Both of these were inspired by our church’s time of focusing more on God going into this New Year, and those are the deep prayers He brought to my heart and mind. I start my days with thanksgiving and gratitude, and I ask Him for deeper revelations of Himself and His presence in my life. When this is my focus, my day becomes much more purposeful and productive. I walk around with His heart and His eyes. And that’s how differences are created.
So, hey there 2019. Let’s make things happen together.