Faith, Life, and Marriage · The Encouragement Corner

2016 In Review

I say this every year, but where in the world has the time gone? This year flew by! It boggles my mind that every year the time seems to fly by faster & faster. 2016 has meant different things for different people. For some it has meant controversy, grief, or hardship, but for me, this year has been such a blessing. At the beginning of the year I wrote about my goals for the year- I wanted to read more, write more, be less anxious, & grow closer to the Lord. I think, for the first time in my life, I met all of my goals.

When it comes to reading more, I set my goal at reading at least 10 books this year. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but it was for me. I tend to be very very busy almost ALL the time, so there’s little downtime. But this year, I decided to cut out TV more & add in more books- it worked beautifully- I exceeded my goal & read 15 books this year…and I’m almost through with book #16…(we’ll see if I can finish it before midnight tonight!)

When it comes to writing more, I definitely did that as evidenced in my blog. Did I write as much as I would have liked? No. Did I keep up with a regular routine & posting on my blog? No. But I wrote & posted more on my blog this year than I have done in previous years, so it shows some growth & I’m okay with that. In that, I’ve also learned what works for me & what doesn’t. There’s that old adage of “write what you know.” What I know is: the Lord, books, cooking, & gardening…so that’s probably what you’ll see a lot more of in 2017. In my writing this year, I’ve learned that I can’t force myself to conform & try to look like other blogs w/ the “DIY” posts & recipes all day every day, but instead I should just be myself in my writing…that’s what people want. In my writing this year, I’ve also learned to be more positive. We are constantly bombarded with negativity in the media & on social media sites. No one wants to read about more negativity in my blog, so this year I worked to focus on more positive things that are going on. When I did, I found that the positive attitude did not stay contained to the blog, but it became part of my daily mindset & attitude. I began to see the world differently, see people & circumstances differently. It was a pleasantly surprising side-effect of blogging.

When it comes to being less stressed that improved also…and for many reasons. Over the past year or so I have been working to implement some stress-relieving advice that a wise & godly woman gave to me. It has helped so much over the past few years. But this year also brought a HUGE change for me- switching careers. I didn’t just change jobs, I completely left one field & moved into another. I couldn’t be more happy with the change & I’m so grateful that the Lord provided for me so swiftly & provided something that I needed so desperately. My new career is MUCH less stressful & time consuming, & it has drastically built my confidence as a person, adult, & employee. I am blessed because I also have more of an opportunity to advance, learn, & be rewarded for it as I go. The change has not been easy- there has been a lot of learning information that was mostly foreign to me before, but it has been SOO worth it (and my husband is happier, too 😉 ). I have grown in my confidence. I no longer apologize for not knowing something, but instead I ask, I seek to learn & grow. I know longer back down & let people walk over me, but stand my ground & follow what is right. This type of growth feels good.

But most importantly, out of everything that has happened this year, out of all the changes, shifts, good, & bad, the most important thing that has changed has been my relationship with the Lord. Grant it- it is not perfect & I am no Mother Theresa. I have good days & bad. Heck, I have good weeks & bad weeks. It has been like a roller coaster- sometimes I’m way up high, desperately desiring to spend time with the Lord, & sometimes it’s been the opposite. But, throughout the year it may have been up-and-down, but it has been trending in a positive direction. This year, I focused on a few simple prayers (that I’ll go over more in-depth later this week): asking God to grow my faith, asking God to teach me to pray, asking God to help me to be willing to do whatever He desires. These three main focuses have shown me that God still works & you don’t have to be a missionary in a foreign country to see it. I have seen God answer others’ prayers, answer my prayers, & mold & change me in some incredible & miraculous ways. I am excited to share some of those things in the coming days, but even more so, I am excited to see what God will do in & through me this year. I am excited to grow closer to God, whatever it takes.

Overall, 2016 has been a positive year for me. I hope it has brought blessing to you. If it has been a tough year, take encouragement for a new, fresh start, but also take time to look back & find the blessings of hardship. Look for the ways this year has changed you- even though it was a rough year. Look back to find out what things you learned & how you grew through the difficulties, be thankful for growth, & look to the Lord & the future.

Be blessed, friends, & happy New Year!

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