2017 is coming to a close, and like most people, I really can’t believe it. In 2017, we’ve learned how to answer 1000 questions a day from our 3 year old and how to keep our one year old out of the Christmas candy. We’ve laughed a lot too, thanks to our crazy boys. We’ve made memories on snow days and lake days, and we’ve shared sweet fellowship with our family, church family, and friends. Best of all, though, was that God worked in 2017, like He always does. As 2017 winds down, I wanted to reflect on some of the lessons from the Lord:
The Lord is faithful, and we need to keep markers of it. I bet if you looked over my posts, “faithful” would be one of my most-used words. I have and will continue to write about God’s faithfulness because it has been and will always be true. But as I studied the Israelites, I noticed how quickly they forgot about how God’s faithfulness. Then I looked at my own life, and noticed that I often do the same. Several times, The Lord told the Israelites to set up markers of His faithfulness, like stones from where He allowed them to cross the Jordan. We need to create markers like these in our lives too, so that when the days get tough, we’re reminded that our God is still the faithful, good Father.
My heart should be ruled by the peace of Christ (Colossians 3:15). This passage was preached on at a worship conference we attended, but the Lord spoke to me in such a personal way with this verse. I have struggled and sometimes still struggle with letting other things rules my heart, things like people pleasing and life’s worries. But when other things begin to rule, the Lord now reminds me of this command, and this verse has become my prayer. Lord, let Your peace rule my heart, and nothing else.
I need the Word of Christ in me as much as possible (Colossians 3:16). The Word of Christ is to richly dwell in us. There’s no such thing as having too much of Him or His Word in us. Daily time studying the Bible is so vital and important. The Lord is also teaching me to get creative with this, like through listening to Gospel-centered podcasts and Jesus-centered music as I take care of the house.
The “unfollow” button is my best friend. Social media can be used for good, but it can also be used to stir our hearts to things that don’t please the Lord. I was scrolling through Instagram one day, and asked, “Why am I following _______ ?” Certain accounts were doing nothing but filling my heart with covetousness, ungratefulness, and comparisons. So, I clicked “unfollow”, and I haven’t missed those accounts since.
The “follow” button is also my best friend. As I clicked “unfollow”, I also began to click “follow” on new accounts. I knew that there was no better way to fill my timeline than with accounts that would glorify the Lord. I’ve found some accounts that I LOVE that use Scripture to encourage and challenge. These things are filling my heart with the hope that I have in Christ, encouragement to make it through the afternoon, and reminders to keep pushing forward for the Gospel. If you’re looking to make your social media more life-giving, some of my favorite accounts are @risenmotherhood, @shereadstruth, @gracelaced, and @kellyneedham.
Hospitality doesn’t have to be perfect. I think that sometimes, we shy away from inviting people into our homes because we’re afraid of what they’ll think. We’re afraid that they’ll see how we really live. Hospitality is something that I’m still wanting to grow in, but one thing that having students over this summer taught me is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes there would be blocks sprawled out on the floor, and once, Hunter had an accident right in the middle of Bible study. Despite all of this “life” happening, none of them seemed to mind. I’m praying that the Lord would continue to teach me this in 2018, that He would teach me to open my life and my home, even despite all of its imperfections.
I need to preach the Gospel to myself- over and over. There are days when I mess up. There are days when my attitude and thoughts are not pleasing to the Lord. But this is when I need the Gospel. The Gospel is not just good news for us when we get saved, it continues to be good news for us. My identity is not in my successes or failures. My identity is in Jesus Christ and being His daughter. While sin breaks the heart of God, I am not condemned, but forgiven. The Gospel calls me to repent, and then to move on in the freedom that I have in the forgiveness of Christ. The Gospel reminds me of who I am in Christ, and what He has done for me, and there’s nothing better than that.
There’s so many other ways that the Lord has worked in 2017. He’s taught me more about His Word and how to study it. He’s reminded me of how He is gentle and patient, even when I am not. He’s carried me through another year of missing Mom. He’s allowed us to celebrate another year in student ministry. How has the Lord worked in your life in 2017? Let’s celebrate His work!
Now, for 2018, I have no idea what’s in store. That’s one thing Mom’s cancer diagnosis taught me- I don’t know what’s in store for each year, but I do know the One who is sovereign over it all. All I know is that in 2018, I want to know Jesus more. The thing about a relationship with Jesus, is that it satisfies you, but it also creates a hunger for more of Him all at the same time. I want to know Jesus more, love Him more, and do whatever pleases His heart the most. Happy (almost) 2018, friends!