What a year 2018 was, definitely one for the books, but not in a good way. The year started with a difficult move and ended with us putting our marriage back together and trying not to fall apart, and on top of that the year also included everything in between. Loss of long time close friends, fires, living with the in laws, friend’s marriages blowing up, our marriage falling apart, our daughter choosing a path of destruction—the year was the sort of year they write soap operas about.
Never again, I never ever ever want to go back. 2018 will never be one of those years that I look back on fondly and long for “the good ol’ days”, in fact when we were celebrating New Year’s Eve, I may have ended the year with saying “Fuck you 2018!”. I’ve never cursed so much in my entire life, I’ve never cried so much in my entire life, I’ve never been on an emotional roller coaster quite like this, I’ve never felt my heart physically hurt so badly before, on so many levels all at once. I honestly didn’t even know that kind of pain was possible.
But in the pain God was waiting for me.
He was a gentle presence waiting to embrace me and hold my heart as pieces of it kept crumbling and falling through my hands like sand. He was the strength that got me through each day, He was the hope telling me to keep moving forward, He was the pillar of grace that helped me walk through forgiving all those who broke my heart this year. Proverbs 62:11-12 runs through my mind over and over and over again,
God said to me once and for all, ‘All the strength and power you need flows from me!’ And again I heard it clearly said, ‘All the love you need is found in me!’ And the Almighty said, ‘the greater your passion for more, the greater reward I will give you!’”
These verses became my anthem, my strength, and verses like Psalm 62:8 became my lifeline.
Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you—He will help you!”
And he did. He did help me. With each verse I read, with each word He spoke to me, with each revelation He gave me, with each worship song I proclaimed, He renewed my strength. Slowly He rebuilt my heart. Each day we worked on putting back together the pieces that had been shattered. We are still working on it, and there are a lot of pieces that still need healing, but it’s a journey we are walking together. There are still so many painful things, that I have no control over their outcomes, but I’m learning to trust the Lord all over again.
But this time the trust goes deeper than it has ever gone. The trust is stronger than it has ever been because without God nothing is possible. My trust is stronger because I’ve seen Him show up in the last few months, in ways I’ve never seen Him. If I was forced to say that any good came out of 2018, it would be that God showed up. He showed up in the brokenness, He showed up in the pain, He showed up and He never left, He never abandoned me. At times He has been the friend I needed Him to be, at times I have actually felt the Holy Spirit holding me and being my comforter, every day He has been my truth teller—reminding me of the truth when the lies are screaming in my head, He has been my counselor—counseling me through impossible things, and ever day He has been my strength—giving me strength to take the next step, giving me courage to keep moving forward.
What pleasure fills those who live every day in your temple, enjoying you as they worship in your presence! How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord; within their hearts are the highways of holiness! Even when their path winds through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward until they find all their strength in you, and the God of all gods will appear before them in Zion.” Psalm 84:4-7 (tPt)
I have read this verse so many times I swore I was going to burn a whole through the page. I need to find my strength in the Lord, it is the only way, and I hold onto the promise that because I continue to find my strength in Him my circumstances will improve and I will reap the benefit of “enrichment“. But my favorite is this, “they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain”, I was—and am—determined to dig deeper and deeper in to the Lord’s presence to find a “pleasant pool” —His peace, fulfillment in Him—I refuse to give into the pain, to be angry, to blame God. I will not give in, I will not give up, I will find Him instead of focusing on the pain.
And I believe I will receive a “blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring”. My hope, my desire, is that 2019 will be the beginning of that outpouring. I don’t know what it will look like, I have no expectation for what God will do, I just crave it. I am expectant without restrictions, I am hopeful without obligation, I am waiting and I am hungry for more.
I am hesitant as I open the door to 2019 and walk into it, because 2018 was so incredibly painful, but I am ready. One foot in front of the other, slowly I will face each day and bind the fear that’s trying so hard to grip my heart and my mind. Instead I will choose each day to “grow stronger and stronger with every step forward until [I] find all [my] strength in [Him].”
2019, I’m ready for you… I think… Lord I need you.