Reflecting back, I have certainly met with my own peaks and valleys throughout 2017: starting a new job, meeting new opportunities, making new friends, starting this blog, going through surgery and recovery, and coming out of a relationship. I am nonetheless extremely grateful to be able to learn so much throughout this beautiful year.
2017 was indeed the year of Jubilee for me, I experienced liberty from sickness, addictions and depression. I even witnessed restoration in my family. It has been extremely clear to me that God was the one who set me free and released me to live a life of freedom with Him, and He was with me throughout my journey, guiding me, even during the times when I did not acknowledge Him.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV
I have learned that I cannot live today with yesterday’s grace, nor expect to live on tomorrow’s grace, but must live each day with the grace that God has supplied to me for that day. There are moments where I think back with regret wishing that I would have done things differently, and there also are moments where I worry about how my future would turn out. Focusing too much on the past or future can paralyse how I currently handle the present.
Going through my daily life, I realised how I would experience cycles of highs and lows, with a major glaring factor. There are days where I keep myself immersed in the Word, be it through hearing or meditating, and I am confident to face the day. I experience a streak of blissful days until I am faced with unmet expectations or major demands. It seems that I may have let my guard down as I try to face the overwhelming troubles on my own strength. There are nights where dark thoughts keep me up as I reflect and try to rationalise the negative occurrences.
The days that were difficult for me were characterised by me trying to apply the wisdom and Word of yesterday, thinking that I have already heard what I needed to hear, or have already learned what I needed to learn. I did not take the time to seek fresh wisdom for the matter at hand. When faced with an overwhelming schedule, spending time in the Word naturally seemed to be of least priority, and I used to think that I would lose out when I spend time in the Word instead of catching up with the latest developments.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV
My lowest days in 2017 were the days where I walked without the Word. I tend to be forgetful, especially in times of distress. There are the times where I forget what God thinks about me, take my eyes of Jesus and focus on my circumstances instead.
But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Matthew 4:4 NKJV
Not having the Word each new day is like going through the day without eating anything, and I end up hungry and unsatiated. Reading and hearing the Word is as important as eating my daily meals, and I am unable to live life optimally without that. Thankfully I am now learning to listen to the Spirit’s gentle voice as He reminds me of the thoughts that God has towards me through the written Word.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
2017 was a year of growth for me as well, starting learning how to walk in peace with the Spirit again was not a simple journey, and initially confusing. There were times when I was unsure of the direction to go, the right actions to execute, or even unsure of what I have heard. It was only when I reflected back on my actions did I become familiar with the peace that I needed to listen to. I have learned that it was in the midst of uncertainty where I had to ask for courage to do what I needed to do, and even if I did go wrong, God’s grace is more than enough to save me. With grace, there is growth through failure. I have felt joy even in the midst of confusion, as I progressively learn more about His voice because I know He is leading and teaching me, even when I make mistakes.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:2-8 NKJV
I have learned that there are certain actions that I do that may cause me to condemn myself, and look at myself differently. But how God sees me hasn’t changed, He sees me as the righteousness of Christ. There are actions that I do that cause me to feel far from God, but God is always there to patiently teach and guide me back to Him when I humble myself. Similarly, there are also actions and choices that acknowledges how God sees me and gives me the peace as I do them, and that encourages me to keep walking the path and following Him.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 NKJV
2017 was a year where I saw answered prayers as well, be it about healing, or bringing friends to church. It was extremely uplifting to check off answered prayers from my prayer journal. I have learnt to trust in my supplier, and that He is always supplying, and there is never a time where He stops supplying me. Instead, I have to learn how to keep receiving from a supplier that is always supplying me with all my needs.
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:30-31 NKJV
I might have started out 2017 in the midst of a storm, and there were many happenings that tried to take my sight of Jesus. But even as I fell, He was there to save me and pick me up. Although the results weren’t always immediate and as expected, sometimes an answer may even take a long period of time to be answered, He was always faithful to His Word for me. As tumultuous as 2017 might have been for me, I have nonetheless risen above the waves to come out of it, within the safety of my Father’s arms. 2017 has indeed been an enjoyable journey walking with Him, and I am blessed to experience the truths that the Bible speaks of, and it works! Now as I enter 2018 with great anticipation, I know that together with the Spirit, I can keep my eyes on Jesus and His Word.