To 2016. Let’s do this.

Happy New Year, friends. I rolled into this new year feeling really grateful for you. You who keep coming back here, not just as consumers but as people who give back. Many times in the last couple of years you’ve been the reason I choose to keep writing. You’ve sent heart-felt messages, written letters & shared this space with your friends — all places of encouragement that have been Jesus in you, to me, nudging me onward.

Some of you are long-time friends of mine. Most of you I’ve never met. Many of you live in cities, states & nations I’ve never been to. You share your broken stories with me, be it here in the comments of a post or in a message that you go great lengths to send my way, and I count it as one of my most precious treasures to carry you deeply in my heart. I hope 2016 has found you full of the kind of hope that makes you feel brand new. I love you so. Truly.

I took a brief writing hiatus this last month — being with family, enjoying time off with my man after an absolutely insane season of ministry, and more than anything, being present to really soak in the sweetness of celebrating the advent of Christ. It was a really special Christmas.

We got nearly two feet of snow the week leading up to Christmas, and I did a lot of sitting in wonder at the fact that something so silent could come so powerfully in the night — covering everything in white, making everything look brand new.

It felt like a prophetic statement over this new year. Every broken thing covered in white. Glistening hope. Powerful yet gentle, silent healing, coming in the dark of night to wake us with a Christmas morning kind of hope renewed.

There’s something really beautiful about creation clothed in white. It’s something I’ve never really known before, and it’s ministering to me daily as I attempt to warm my southern bones in this “for real” Utah winter.

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Seriously… I live in Narnia.

I did some maintenance on my broken heart this last month or so. I reconciled some disappointment. I broke off some bitterness and resentment that had grown in the soil of my soul like a weed that seemed to always want to choke my husband. (Marriage is so easy.)

I looked fear in the face and told her she had to move out so we could move on. I repented for partnering with comparison and envy, for being quicker to look to others for my validation instead of looking at Jesus, for coveting others’ race instead of running my own.

I asked God to break off the pride that had grown in self-protection and the independence that had grown in unbelief. Honestly, friends, I looked up at the end of a year that had literally put me through the wringer, and I realized I had done my best but at the end of the day, I just needed to be washed in white.

At the end of it all, I just needed Emmanuel. God with me. I needed to look back and see all the places He was with me all along. I needed to look forward with a certainty that He’d never leave me or forsake me, just like He promised.

I can’t wait to share all of these things with you in greater detail in the days to come. I’ll be back on Monday with the traditional Monday post, and we’ll keep rolling just like usual. I’ve got some big dreams for this space that I feel like God has put on my heart for this year.

But today, I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for sticking it out through my toughest year yet. Thanks for letting me be broken before you. Thanks for bringing your own broken pieces to this hot mess of a party. I think we’re all better for it. And I think we’ll all be surprised at how much wholeness we experience in 2016.

Here’s to new hope, dear friends. Let’s totally nail this year. Together.

I’m sure it’ll be messy — it always is. But I just know there’s redemption for the brokenness. I just know there’s a hope that’s January white, and a newness of life that will spring forth when it all melts away later on.

Here’s to discovering whatever it will look like.

Cheers. Fist bump. Let’s do this thing.

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Our cute little dead-end street, all covered in snow. 🙂

Wholeness that knows no end

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.

STORY:

I was going to save this scripture for Christmas time in a few weeks, but in light of the heartache across the globe recently, I just felt like I needed a reminder now of who Jesus is. Honestly, I have just felt burdened for humanity lately.

I feel burdened on a global level. 129 killed in Paris. 37 in Beirut. 26 in Baghdad. The number of refugees and internally displaced people in the world is the highest it’s been since World War II. There are about 27 million slaves in the world today. These are big numbers and they’re big global issues that can feel so far away from our every day Western lives, but these are people we’re talking about.

I feel burdened on a local level. I watched as thousands of people signed letters of resignation from the LDS church in Salt Lake City on Saturday — a reaction to a recent controversial church-wide policy. People are burned by religion and angry with a God they’ve misunderstood because His heart for them has been misrepresented by imperfect people. They’re leaving faith behind entirely because they don’t want to get wounded by the church again.

I feel burdened on a personal level. I’ve walked with friends through some really hard, broken situations these last few weeks. Struggling marriages. Unexpected deaths. Scary medical conditions. Being a human is a messy thing, and life is really hard sometimes, and in those times I’m really thankful that God didn’t make us to do it alone.

I needed to be reminded this week that this Isaiah 9 prophecy of who Jesus would be is true. It says in The Message that there will be no end to the wholeness he brings.

Wholeness. I love that word. It’s the remedy for all that’s been broken.

Come, Lord Jesus. Be the God of the kind of wholeness that knows no end.

SONG:

“Wonderful Counselor”
Antioch LIVE
Our God Comes

Listen:
Apple Music  |  Spotify

Playlist from previous weeks:

Apple Music  |  Spotify