I have a confession to make: 2016 was a hard year for me, one that seemed to include far deeper valleys than peaks.
In March, I experienced the difficult end of a three-year relationship and said goodbye to a future I had dearly hoped for. In July, my mother endured a terrifying health diagnosis. In September, I made the heartbreaking decision to part ways with my church in Nashville, a place that had reignited my faith and brought me my first true community in more than a year. In December, I lost a dear friend.
Please don’t misunderstand—2016 also brought me more than my fair share of goodness: a new, exciting job; wonderful, enduring friendships; a joyous baptism; a move into the prettiest Nashville cottage; a trip to India where I had the chance to live and love in a City of Joy…
In 2016, I made choices that changed my life.
I made little dreams into big realities.
I made mistakes.
I was beloved.
I was humbled.
I was brave and sad and vibrant and foolish.
I loved fiercely. I took chances, and I learned so much about my own, tender heart.
Yet, 2016 was a year that started out as a fight to become the woman I want to be and ended with me feeling adrift. And so, I was relieved to kiss one of the hardest years of my life goodbye when the clock struck midnight.
Now, as I face this new year, I’m reminded of one of my favorite verses from the Book of Psalms:
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.”
I need that reminder as much now as ever, because I no longer want to feel adrift. At some point in the last few months, I weighed anchor without meaning to and drifted as a result. It may not have been far off course, but it was enough to make me feel weightless and confused as I tried to navigate in uncharted territory.
Who do I want to be in this new year?
Truthfully, I want to be the woman I have glimpsed so often in the past, and the one I see so clearly in my future:
I want to be strong.
I want to be courageous.
I want to laugh without fear of the future.
I want to be kind in a world where that is not very valuable.
I want to love deeper than I ever have before.
And more than anything, I want to be able to do all of these things because I have rested in the Lord.
One of the best lessons of the past year was realizing that I cannot give without receiving. What I mean is, I cannot love how I want to love without first being loved by my God, who delights in me. And I have to seek Him in order to be reminded just how deep His love for me runs. I think that is the rest Psalm 62 describes: the complete and utter contentment that comes when a heart knows it is valued above all else.
In 2017, I intend to find that rest.
The poet Nikki Giovanni has this beautiful quote. I wrote it down on a spare piece of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror on New Year’s Eve, right next to Psalm 62:5. It reads:
“We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities.”
Every morning this year, as I stare at the woman I want to be, she’ll be surrounded by David’s and Nikki’s poetry. And I’ll think of these words as I continue to fight, continue to love, continue to seek God so I can grow into the woman He is shaping me to be.
Because I am alive to the imaginations and possibilities of becoming her, and my hope comes from Him.