For those of you who have been reading with me all year, you are (probably) tired of what I'm about to say. And for those of you who are new, don't worry because this is (probably not) the last time you'll hear it.
2016 was a long year. My dad used the word "tumultuous" to describe it, and that is often what it felt like. I was carried higher and higher on the waves, and the crashes were louder and stronger each time.
Most of it was unexpected, some of it came together to make sense, and some pieces are still just as shattered as when I first experienced them.
All is mine.
For awhile there, I wrote about the heartbreak and the rebuilding. I tried hard to not write about the cause of that crash, but he was all I knew and that hurt was all I felt, so I wrote about it until I knew better.
I wrote about it all year long in the end, because it took about that long to come up for air and realise I had been breathing on my own the whole time.
It took that long to forgive, to let go, to be angry, and to trust my God and new people again. (And if you ask anyone I met in the last year, they'd tell you it's still a work in progress).
It took that long because it didn't stop hurting, no matter how many mornings I told myself I was okay. I quickly learned you can be okay and broken at the same time, because it takes awhile for your heart to match the truths your mind already knows. Usually, the worst thing happens when you're least expecting it; because you trusted that the worst thing was only a possibility and never a reality.
The worst thing became my reality. And it stayed my reality until I learned to lean into the Rock that was my foundation, and not the relationship. It stayed my reality until I learned that I was held, pursued, and loved by the Creator who gave me that relationship, and had other things in store when it was taken away.
It doesn't matter anymore whether I was listening to God when I entered into that relationship, whether the other person was disobedient in ending it, or if God simply said enough is enough: this is not my plan. What matters is He showed me plans beyond my expectations, even when I had settled into my expectations of what the world would give me. He had more.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)
2016 was not a year I want to relive. I don't want that phone call (and yes, it was a phone call) ever again. I don't want the sadness of my family or the pity of my friends. I don't want to live in that town pretending to be a city, although I love the southwest and all it gave me with my whole heart. I don't want the awkward first dates and lonely nights. I don't want to replay the election or the crises or the shootings or the attacks. I don't want any of it, ever again.
And those are lofty goals and probably not realistic. I will have all of it, and more. And I will still be okay and still be held. Because what I do want from this year is the God who never left me alone in the tumultuous crashes. I want the steadfast love that kept me anchored in what I know to be True.
I want Him, because even when the phone calls come, and the sadness consumes us, and our president elect becomes our president for real, and more people get guns and innocent people die, I want Him who is victorious above it all.
I want Him to walk with me through the inevitable dark seasons to come, just as He proved faithful to do this entire year.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (NASB).
If you have talked to me in the last month, you will have heard me say "I just need this year to be over". And I do. I'm ready for a new date, a new season, new promises. But for the last few days of this unrelenting, tumultuous year, I can rest well knowing that even if 2017 does not come quickly, my God can make all things new with or without the new year. He was doing it all along.
In the end, it was a beautiful, thriving year. It took scrolling through all the photos and reliving all the moments of pure joy to remember that not all was bad, and not all was lost. In fact, more was sustained and more was gained.
To those who were there when everything changed, and those I met as a result, thank you forever.