What I learned in 2016 and what’s ahead in 2017

It’s hard for me to believe that this time last week was Christmas Eve.  It feels at least 3 weeks ago.

For the last 7 days I have done what I normally do during the week between Christmas and New Years — I take it easy.  It really is the ultimate staycation.  I practice this ritual every year and it’s a favorite.

I have slept in, sipped my coffee slowly and read a copious amount of words. I am currently reading my fourth book for this Christmas break.  I’ve gone shopping with my girls, watched movies with the fam and lounged in pajamas late into the days.

Another tradition for this last week is to read through my journals from the previous year and remember where we’ve been and what God’s brought us through.

Instead of New Year resolutions, I pick a word for the year and move my thoughts, patterns and decision-making for that year around that word.  The word for 2016 was ADVENTURE – A bold, usually risky undertaking involving uncertainty as to the outcome.

And 2016 was certainly that.

  • Hiring new staff
  • Moving from our house of 13 years
  • Buying our first home and moving to the country
  • Going without internet connection at our home for almost 3 months
  • Taking on new responsibilities in ministry
  • Struggling through my own growth process of trusting and letting go

It was an adventure of a year.

Reading through my journal I relive some moments and see where we’ve been.  Some moments I would rather pass over.  Some pages reveal my own stubbornness while others show me again the faithfulness of the Father.

It’s amazing to read again those moments of angst, and then stop and mark a side note in the margin of the answered prayer and how the picture looks at the end of this year.

Looking back grants us a new perspective.

It’s a reminder that our life is bigger than the moment we live right now.

Before I began reading through this year’s journal I already had in mind a new word for this new year.  But it wasn’t until I began reading my written words of September that I noticed how my prayer emphasis had changed from not just living the adventure but growing in faith.

September 30, 2016 ~

God, grant me a greater faith and persistence to go after what you have for me.  Help me not to shrink back in insecurity or through laziness but may I be bold and go after… being persistent in what you call me to.

Help my unbelief.  Grant me faith with a tenacity to go after what you’ve placed before me. May I not shrink back but move forward in what You have for me.


There it was in my journal…persistence… tenacity… a going after.

From that point in my journal I can see the shift happening. I didn’t see it while it was happening. It’s only in looking back that I now see Him working toward this new word for this new year.

PERSEVERE – to persist in anything undertaken.  – maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement, continue steadfastly.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:4

“Blessed is the one who perseveres…” ~ James 1:12

So what new adventure will we experience this year?

I have no idea.

But I’m sure of this truth—  At this time next year, when I’m sipping coffee slowly, lounging in pajamas late into the day and reading through my journals… I will see the faithfulness of the Father and notice how He’s brought us through.

So what about you?

  • What adventure have you been on this year?
  • How have you seen His faithfulness?
  • And where are you going in this upcoming year?


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8 thoughts on “What I learned in 2016 and what’s ahead in 2017

  1. I love that you gave yourself time to moodle:). I took time off also and could have used another week! Came back recharged and with perspective reset. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!


  2. I did same thing last week, rest and comes to be it is my word for the year now. This week I started take time to reflect and start placing new good habits into my life. Glad I stopped by for your encouragement ❤
    Visiting from Coffee For Your Heart.


  3. I think you will find great riches as you research what God’s word has to say about perseverance and it’s related words, endurance and steadfastness. Endurance was my word for 2015, such riches in the word on this subject.


  4. Hi Rachel,
    Visiting from Coffee for your Heart and I enjoyed reading your words about last year’s adventure and your intention to persevere this year — lovely choice! Because perseverance develops character and then the hope is revealed — I love that since it seems unlikely hope can come from such difficult circumstances. I look forward to visiting again and reading your thoughts. And oh — my 2017 holds an adventure trip to Rome this spring! 🙂


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