As the entire world transitioned from 2016 to 2017, people celebrated with family, friends and loved ones. Beautiful fireworks displayed as midnight hit the different time zones and people cheered with hugs and kisses welcoming in 2017! It took me some time to embrace 2017, not because I wasn’t ready for it, but I wanted to take the time to pray and dedicate this year to God. I reflected on the last six months of 2016, and it was a true time of testing spiritually, professionally, personally and emotionally.
Since moving back to Ohio in September of 2016, my life has been through a series of trials and adjustments. I lost my home, became unemployed for several months (which is not normal for me) and moved into my aunt’s basement where I have spent the last four months on a couch surrounded by cardboard boxes and suitcases that are still packed from my last move. My family and I live with my aunt as we wait for my mother’s house to finish being rebuilt from the fire that consumed our home (and everything in it) earlier that year.
Talk about learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This year has taught me so much about walking in and by faith and trusting God.
I’ve lived on my own for several years with my son and now having to share a small couch as our bed, took some real mental and physical adjusting. There are nights when I’d just lay on the sofa with my son and secretly cry myself to sleep. The feeling of failure would overcome me causing me to feel hopeless while thoughts of not being a “good enough” mother consume me.
In December of 2016, I went through the biggest transition that left me speechless. I lost residential custody of my son, Ryan. As a result, I had to prepare not only myself but my son for a new visitation schedule, a new school, a new life. I could feel the pain and deep sadness my son felt because he didn’t want to leave his friends or school which made me feel so helpless knowing that I was not able to take away his sorrows. This situation only reinforced my feelings of failure as a mother.
Shortly after, the magistrate and the prosecutor for the county that handled my support case decided to terminate my child support despite my shared parenting agreement. At this point, I thought to myself, “God, what else do you want me to lose besides my life? That is all I have left.”
It was then that I realized that God had allowed me to go through all of that for this one moment. The moment I realized HE wanted me to lose the life I had built for the one He was building through me.
Every year millions of people make resolutions and promises for the future of the next year. Whether it’s to start a new diet, workout plan, or just changing their hairstyle. We often begin the year by looking for ways to change something about ourselves, be it mental or physical. We want to introduce the world to the better, new and improve us. The quote my sister said before her dramatic haircut for the new year was “New year, new me.”
Those are all great ways to start off the year, but for me, in 2017 I no longer desire to come up with my own promises and declarations of what the year will bring. This year I chose to recall and embrace the promises that God has spoken to me about the current plans He has for my life.
Promises such as:
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.” – Job 22:21
For my resolution, it is my daily goal to go deeper with God and to always submit to His ways.
In this new year, I give my life to Christ so that I can find my identity in him. I chose to allow God to rebuild me and make me more like Christ. I embrace the shedding layers of pain, sadness, heartache and sorrow. He will renew my Spirit as I allow the old me to die and turn to dirt. I surrender my life and my heart to God.
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” – Ephesians 4:21-24
You see, when we decide to carry the weight of our burden and become our own foundation, over time our foundation will begin to crack and break down. Pressure, pain, and life all test the strength of the foundation and if we have built a life in our own abilities and strengths when the testing comes, we will crumble.
When you place God as the foundation of your life, no environmental changes, pressure or weight can break that foundation. He will hold us together and help us withstand ALL adversities.
Inviting God into your life to rebuild you and make Him your solid foundation is hard. God will reveal to you every ungodly belief and negative emotion your heart is holding onto. But remember everything you experience in life will always have a purpose for God’s great plan for your life. The question is, are you willing to trust Him and go deeper with Him?
Though others may look at my situation and see loss and defeat, as a mom and a woman of God, I see renewal and new life. It may appear that I have been left with nothing but in Christ, I have found everything I need. He is the foundation of my new start.