I am a Christian that lives with chronic, disabling, invisible illness. My path has changed, but God is leading the way and my light in the darkness. Won't you join me as I navigate new territory? As a family member of someone with a mental illness and someone currently experiencing multiple chronic illnesses, we have invited God into the deeper parts of ourselves.
As this year comes to a close, I reflect on the year that has gone by. I find myself thinking about the events of the last year, experiences good and bad, and my spiritual journey as well. All of these things have come together with the help of the Lord and shaped me into part of the new woman I am becoming.
And so the question is this: What have I learned in 2016? At the beginning of 2016 I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about myself, about living life to the fullest. I feel I have come away with much. Loss, health scares and new disease among family and friends taught me to cherish my loved ones and to let them know how much I love them. I'm learning to overlook the little things that used to be big things to me because in the end they really don't matter. I don't want them to take away from my time with the people I care about. Today becomes yesterday too quickly and we will never have today again.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~Colossians 3:12-15
I encountered so many with so much less than I and so much worse than I that I learned how very grateful I really am for blessings great and small. My "small" blessings would be big blessings to some. It is this mindset that I want to keep. Holidays for me were much more joyful when I minimized and simplified- I made things easier for myself and concentrated on what was really important, my people! It took me many years and a lot of energy to figure that out!
This year I did multiple online Bible studies and read the Bible all year with my husband. This created a much deeper intimacy with God. It also broadened my journey and has been teaching me so much about myself. I have opened my heart in a way that I don't think I have before and God has been working in me, changing me. He is forming me and shaping me. I find myself thinking in ways that I haven't before, and hearing that still small voice. I truly know how much I am loved by my Creator.
As I walk toward 2017, I know that I can do it without fear. I have diseases that are scary, and many unknowns in my life right now. There is one thing that never changes, and that is my God. No matter what comes along, I can depend on Him. He is my rock. He has never let me down, so I need not be afraid. I will never have too much to bear, because I can lay my burdens at His feet, and all that weight is gone. So I look forward to 2017, with happy thoughts of possibilities and what "might be" and dreams of taking my ministries farther than ever before.
My word for 2017 is "become." I found a simplified version of a few Bible verses which is mine for this next year, "Become all God intended you to be. Love life, love people. Love the life you've been given." ~Matthew 22:36-39. And I realize that God has brought me here, none of this was learned or done on my own. Maybe this was the greatest thing I learned- to let God be God, to let go and give it to Him!
What did you learn in 2016? What are your thoughts about 2017? Please share in the comments below.