As I wrote the previous post, I saw this draft in my unpublished section of blogs.  I really don't remember when I started this post, but it's still incredibly relevant to how I'm feeling now, particularly at the start of this new year...

I came to this place a few months ago completely intending to write things out again.  To get life printed so I don't forget.  After two posts, I walked away again.  I've been nothing if not inconsistent this last year.  So, for this year, I want this to be a regular thing.  Not necessarily an every day sort of thing, but at least something that happens once a week.  I've just perused through my old blogs and it's incredible to see the things that I've forgotten already.  Those little details that escape your memory as soon as a new day dawns.  I'm so thankful for the things I've written here so that I can remember.

I also can't believe how much I can learn from my younger self!  So many of the posts that I've written before have challenged me yet today and I've needed the encouragement more than I can say.  I know it's true that God works in mysterious ways but if I ever thought He'd use my words years before to teach me truth now, I'd think I was going crazy!  I love how He works, though.

I am beginning this year feeling like I'm trying to crawl out of a dry, dark cave.  This last year has been one of many challenges for me.  Ultimately, I see it as a year of failure.  My husband, awesome guy that he is, says I should instead see it as a year of learning.  He's so sweet to me to pull the good out of something I see as completely horrid.

This year, I am seeking to be renewed.  I want to have a renewed sense of purpose and for my hope and excitement in Christ to multiply times a thousand.  A big goal for this year is to stop thinking so hard about how I'm representing myself but instead how I'm representing Christ and the gospel.  In no way do I take this lightly and want this to sound like it's a piece of cake to do this.  While it is a joy and is such an honor that God entrusts us with His message, it's not easy to represent Him well when life is hard.  And, while our pictures are cute and everyone is usually smiling, life can be pretty hard at times.  I guess that's where my prayer and goal come into play, though, isn't it?  If I'm going to have a renewed vision, that means looking beyond the hard and looking ahead at Christ and His plan for me instead.

I'm still in a place where I want to represent Jesus well.  I was reading through my journal this morning and this time last year I was noting how I was allowing the outside world to have such a strong influence in my life, particularly social media.  My prayer was that I would weed out the things that brought me down.  I've done this, disconnecting from Facebook and Instagram so that I wouldn't be constantly comparing with those around me.  This has helped me immensely in both my contentment and my gratitude for what I've been given.

Still, we're in a huge season of transition, not knowing at all what is to come for our family.  This is scary and this fear robs me of faith in Christ.  Will we be okay?  Will He really provide for all of our needs?  Why would He care about these small things when there are huge things happening in the world - Aleppo comes to mind right away.  There is true suffering all around us, and I'm seeing the words of the Caedmon Call song to be true in my life right now - "My faith is like shifting sand, changed by every wave, my faith is like shifting sand so I stand on grace."  Grace.  That's the point of it, right?  That God's grace covers all of the things I deem so insignificant?  That His grace runs deeper and further than I could possibly imagine?  It's through His grace that my shifting-sands-faith is still in tact.  It's through His grace that people show up - Christmas cookies made, meaningful cards given, texts checking in.

I hear it whispered through these little things.

I'm here.  I care.

And then I remember - if He works through little things, He cares about them too.

And He's carrying us.

So, this year, while my prayer is still to have renewed vision, it's not as much about what I can do - I'm so good at wanting my efforts to be what matters.  But what's most important is what He can do and what He is already doing.  That's where I want my vision renewed - to see clearly that He is here.
He is Immanuel.  God with us.  And I need to cling to that truth more than anything right now.

How grateful I am for his grace and that it's with me as I enter this new year and new season of life.

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