Oh 2017, you were a hard year. Very challenging, but also very rewarding.
I went into 2017 having received my word for the year from the Lord: “Move”. I knew this would be the year the Lord would begin to move me into a promise He gave me long ago, something I had been praying for 9 years. Just as Moses began preparing the Israelites to finally enter the promise land in Deuteronomy, He began prepping me to enter into a promise that would lead to a more abundant life.
I’m not going to lie, when I got this word, and as I began the year, I thought I was waiting on the other person to be ready, because surely from those 9 years of waiting I was ready for this.
Nope. Still me. I was the one who still needed to be changed.
So 2017 began. I turned another year older, as did Brandon and Autumn. Autumn had a Tinker Bell party surrounded by family and friends and perfect weather at the park. A few days later she got to meet Tinker Bell in person. God did the impossible for me: In February I finished my first ever half marathon in one of my most favor places – Disney World! God did this mighty work in my life and once again revealed His power and His night and His faithfulness.
I needed it because also at the beginning of 2017 began a rough season in my own life.
In the Spring Brandon got a promotion that fulfilled a dream of his: he became a K-9 deputy. He immediately loved it and we fell in love with Aries. We still have trouble getting Autumn to realize he’s not a pet. However she has him wrapped around her finger because when that sassy 2-year-old growls with all her might, “OFF LEGION” (I have no idea if I spelled that right), he listens and sits down to her.
But even though this was a great change, it was also a hard change. And a lot more work was brought along with this promotion. There were long hours, extra hours, and middle of the night calls. In the midst of this Autumn was having nightmares and wouldn’t sleep in her own bed. We still have trouble with this.
And my troubles continued growing stronger as the year went on. After 5 months enough was enough. I reached out for help and my journey of healing began.
In May we wrapped up our very first whole year of community groups. I don’t know that there is a better testimony of our marriage than being surrounded with these amazing couples in our group, along with our whole DBC family.
That summer I studied Philippians along with an amazing group of women that changed my life. Brandon was able to join the men’s Bible study over the summer too.
We spent a week in Ft. Myers in our very own timeshare for the first time, and the whole Smith crew got to be there. We celebrated Amanda’s 30th birthday and, come on, could there be a better place to celebrate?! We also had our first fever scare and had to take Autumn to the Urgent Care as her fever reached over 104 degrees.
I spent the entire year working at Georgia College, but changed departments in July. Our sweet Nephew turned one and we saw other precious babies be born and we wept along with others who had to experience their unborn babies leave to be with Jesus.
We began another round of community groups and experienced growth not just in numbers at DBC, but growth from within as we grew in unity with one another.
We welcomed Fall with arms wide open and for the first time in a very long time I began to feel more like myself. That “thing” I began praying for 9 years ago came true and I rejoiced.
We celebrated holidays, mostly in peace, without the stress and chaos that normally accompanies the season. Partly because of the sweet healing Jesus gave me. ALL because of His grace.
Perhaps my most favorite part of 2017, though, was the relationships. We made new friends, grew stronger with some, and even reconnected with others we hadn’t spoken to in a while. We found accountability partners, mentors, and sought refuge and peace in our community group. We bonded together with our DBC family. We gave thanks to the expansion of our own family. And we watched God work many miracles in the lives of numerous close friends. The greatest relationships all that I saw grow, though, is both of our relationships grow closer to Christ, and in turn, closer to each other, and closer to our precious daughter.
We still have a long way to go. We are far from perfect. But we are chosen in Christ. We are redeemed. We are adopted as children into His family. And we are learning to abide in Him, and walk in His grace, so that we can be His light unto the world.
Happy New Year everyone. 2018 – let’s do this!