What The Past Year Taught Me

When life and circumstances seems crippling, cornered and no where to go, succumb to darkness of hopeless and grief; a time when emotions are high and overwhelming.

The days felt like days of mourning and grief, as if someone you dearly loved passed away. Moment of immense tears and sadness no words can ever describe. Such a despair I can only do but cry.

This was me a week before entering 2018, the last quarter of 2017 had a plotwist that brought much pain and challenge, a time when life and circumstances hit hard. I was overwhelmed with the circumstances that I have, combined my reflections with disappointments and discouragement for 2017 that surfaced on the very eve of Christmas to days that followed was filled with emotional pain.

I had an overwhelming number of family challenges going through back home, along with thoughts and reflections of shortcomings, failures and discouragements both personal and in ministry. All were overwhelming at the same time. I didn’t know how I would celebrate Christmas at that time, at a very special time to be with family. All I wanted was to be alone. Though my closest friend would invite, the grief within was overwhelming I deeply wanted to be alone.

I wandered how will I ever surpass this season. I cried to God almost every day, to remove this grief and mourning in my heart and restore my joy. I prayed for God to help me to hope again and restore the joy of my salvation.

As I waited, I felt God comforting the pain I am going through by sending my friends. It was a season I felt my heart was callous from hoping and joy. Deep within a still small voice saying never give up hoping, never stop believing, and above all never stop calling to God.

A year later, as I spent time with family for the Christmas season, as I look back my heart was filled with peace, and assurance that whatever 2019 and the years will bring, I can rest in his power. As He has sustained me and my family in 2018, how much more in the years to come. Truly apart from God’s goodness and faithfulness I didn’t know I could have survived. This only inspired me to be in faith all the more. The weight of challenge hasn’t lighten up, yet God’s presence through the storm breathes life and hope everyday.

We all have crosses to carry, the weight will never be easy. But as we take it, let’s continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. The cross he carried far more outweighs the ones we have. As we enter 2019, we can continue to rely on his unfailing character.

If we are in Christ then, so are our situations. Nothing escapes in His sovereignty and power. In christ, we rest in His capacity.

Moving on & New Beginnings

New year means new beginnings. While it is wonderful to ponder and write down things that we are thankful for the previous year, it would also be great to reflect on our failures, frustrations, pains and discouragements. We need to free ourselves from all the baggages that have been weighing us down. We can do this through honest reflections and acknowledgments that will lead us to humility before God and Him freeing us from such things. This way we can truly move forward to a year filled with hope and soar high.

Start fresh, back to zero.

We should start the year free from familiarity to face new challenges. Don’t hold on to your trophies, recognitions and achievements because our past successes may not help bring us to success this year. In other words, what got you here may not necessarily get you there. Let us desire to have a heart that is excited for new mountains to conquer – now with a greater dependence on God in being successful and not only from years of experience. Sometimes we rely on our past successes more than relying on God.

Let go.

In our previous journeys, we may have encountered frustrations, disappointments, discouragements and hurts. Today, it is time to let go. Let go and let God. God, being above all these things, is everlasting and powerful. And when we start to acknowledge that God is at the center and that He is the One who orchestrates all things, we will have peace knowing that He is perfectly in control. He knows better and He knows best. As we allow Him to rule in our hearts, He will give us peace, restoration, strength, healing, new direction, and He will also fill us with a new sense of hope.

Failures do not define us.

We won’t have success all the time. Human beings are limited and bound to fail one way or another. However, failures should never define you neither give you your identity. Rather, we can take them as learning curves to help us become a better person. We only truly fail when we fail to see the beauty and the lessons these shortcomings bring us. Only God has set your value and you are always priceless before Him.

As you start the year, be in faith for greater things. And as you journal your faith goals, dare to believe big, dream big, and expect big things. Hold on to God who rules, reigns and creator of all things. Rest in His promises with expectant hearts for the object of our faith is of incomparable greatness beyond measure.

… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – Philippians 3:13

May you have a joyful new beginnings this year!