How is it already the end of 2017? I don’t think any of us will ever understand how quickly time passes. It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in the year 2017, and now here we are just a day away from 2018. 

This post is a little different than the way I usually write. It’s more of a reflection of this past year and all the crazy ways the Lord has been at work in and around me. 

This year brought numerous new experiences I never saw coming and some that I had been anxiously waiting for. This semester especially school was so crazy- three state exams that I felt confident coming out of that I failed, miraculously Jesus had me pass all three. This year had my emotions on a roller coaster. I walked through heartache. I experienced healing. I had the opportunity to experience genuine and real friendships. I had some of the hardest conversations. I learned how to worship freely and how it truly is a weapon. Realized the power in words. Witnessed the power of prayer and learned how to write with transparency. I realized how deceiving my heart truly can be. I saw brokenness in my community like never before. I saw loved ones walk through depression. I witnessed my family being able to partner with ministries close to my heart. I was able to begin volunteering with an organization that I adore. Relationships were mended. I was given the greatest birthday present of all time this year. I learned more about what it means to be a leader. I witnessed friends encounter Jesus in ways like never before. I realized the importance of being patient and waiting on the Lord. My shortcomings were revealed to me gently. I realized how broken I am. Learned how hard, but also rewarding ministry is. I learned how we have the freedom to lament. I saw what crazy things God can do when we step out in courage and obedience. How vital it is to be true to myself. And how Jesus recklessly pursues me, no matter what may be going on in my life…and so much more.

Through it all there’s been two main lessons I’ve learned- that He is faithful and that I am enough.  

I’ve never doubted more, yet I’ve never felt as close to His heart than I did this year. Through all the different situations and lessons that came this year, God continued to prove His faithfulness to me. He kept asking me, “Julia, do you trust me?” and even when I thought I did, I realized I honestly was scared and uncertain. Overtime, Jesus continued to pursue my heart and in such crazy ways revealed to me that He has my best interest and knows better. All I had to do was to trust Him.

As I learned to trust Him more, He was at work in my heart. I never realized how much I struggled. I didn’t know I struggled this greatly with comparison and self worth until this year. I realized that I had been putting up walls to protect myself. Also, these walls were up because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and didn’t want anyone to come close enough to see that. But God, being the God He is slowly began to tear down those walls. He tore these walls down by combating them with the truth. The truth of who I am- His beloved daughter. He truly taught my heart how I am by no means perfect, but am made in His image. That I carry value and worth that is from Him that can’t be taken away or tainted by anyone or anything. He taught me how I don’t have to try and be better, win the hearts and approval of those around me, or try and be someone else.  

God spoke these truths to my heart through the Word, worship, and especially through some special people in my life. These four you see in the featured image have been the ones who have pointed me to His faithfulness over and over again this past year. They have constantly reminded me that I am enough and have spoken life to my soul. They have cried, laughed, been upset and annoyed with me. They have called me out, sang on the top of their lungs with me during worship, comforted me, and cared for me more than I could ever deserve. Yes, the Lord has taught me so much about of His faithfulness through the various situations I’ve described earlier, but most of all, He has graciously extended reminders of His faithfulness to me through these four. These four friends of mine have had a greater impact on my life than anyone will ever know, I’m forever grateful for them.

As we soon step into this next year, I challenge you to be this kind of friend. Standing firm in the ways He continues to be faithful to you, and because of that, be a faithful friend to another. Remind them that they are enough, made on purpose with a purpose, and the Lord will begin a work in both your hearts. 

Lessons are meant to be remembered and referred to, and that’s coming from someone in school to be a teacher 🙂 They’re meant to be learned from and not forgotten. So whatever lessons the Lord has taught you this past year, hold onto them. Hold them close to your heart. Remind yourself of the truths that He’s spoken over your life this year through these various lessons. Use those lessons to encourage and uplift those around you this next year. The wisdom you gained from this past year, use it to support those walking through similar seasons. Entering in 2018, hold onto these reminders-

  1. Let every breath be for His glory because it’s His breath in our lungs (Genesis 2:7)
  2. Know that “nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  3. Stand firm in knowing that you are enough, and remain true to yourself
  4. Challenge yourself to be a friend that points others to His faithfulness

Jesus, I ask that you prepare our hearts and minds for whatever this next year holds. Remind us of how You’ve been faithful to us when we encounter situations this new year. Help us to stand firm and take on whatever may come our way with confidence and courage. Teach us to be Your hands and feet in this world, Amen.

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