Reflecting on this year and looking toward the next

This last week of the year, I usually schedule in time to reflect on the past year and establish goals for the next year. And even though my intentions were still along that line, I didn’t get it done to the extent I have other years. I’m okay with that.

This morning I was moving toward writing a list of “What worked? What didn’t work?” then concluded I didn’t even want to do that. And again, I’m okay with that.

Reflecting back on this year’s events in our personal lives, it’s been quite a year.

  • Our daughter, Samantha, moving back to the west coast away from our east coast home
  • Finishing my degree
  • Adding new ministry position to my life
  • Major renovations at our church campus
  • Our son, Jon, and Stephanie’s wedding
  • 2 months following their wedding, a home fire brings them back home to live with us
  • Samantha getting engaged
  • Passing of dear church members and friends — walking through times of grief
  • Juggling and working with Covid
  • Living life on an everyday basis.

Life doesn’t always fit in columns of what worked and what didn’t work.

Many of these events were planned and played out reasonably well, while others were unexpected and rocked our world. Yet through it all the faithfulness of God was evident and appreciated.

Yesterday morning on my walk, I was heading back toward our home while reflecting on the year, I glanced toward the sky and smiled at God’s sign of promise.

We don’t know what’s ahead in 2022. That’s not really any different than any other year. Even each day is entered into without knowing what may happen in that 24-hour period.

In their hearts human beings plan their lives. But the Lord decides where their steps will take them.

Proverbs 16:9 NIRV

I’m a planner so I’m good with laying out goals for this next year. We’re all going to be learning, achieving, and growing through experiences that we plan and don’t plan; not always knowing how those days will play out.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

It’s not possible for us to figure it all out. So instead, we trust the promises of God. They are revealed through His Word and seen through His faithfulness played out through our days.

For many of you, this last year has held difficult days and my heart goes out to you. Friends have lost spouses and what seemed certain is now not so much. Some have lost ones they love through unexpected ways and others are facing health situations not foreseen. Marriages have ended and financial losses are looming. In many ways this past year has been tough. I don’t have answers and many times we feel helpless in solving situations we face.

That’s when my heart reflects back on the faithfulness of God.

His promise of Presence and faithful mercy and grace walks with us through these difficult days.

Our days ahead are unknown. However, the God who is with us knows and makes himself known to us as we trust in Him. As we listen for His voice and follow His leading, He will keep us on track and show up as the promise keeper in our lives.

My prayer for you and for me as we head into this next year is for God’s grace to fill our days and His mercy to carry us through. May we grow through the unknown and reflect His love in our days ahead.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Rachel

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