I can’t believe that we are in the year 2017. I remember when it was 2000 and people were prepping for Y2K. I was 10 at that time. Thinking about 17 years into my future seemed like eternity. I remember thinking 27 was so old! (insert eye roll) But here we are!
Every year I like to reflect on the past year. It’s fun to see the growth in my life. I can see that the things that were happening in March caused the things that happened in November. I can also see the areas that were rough and how I could of done things differently. My mentor would always tell me to be a better version of yourself in the next year. So even if I had a bad season, I can use those situations as an opportunity for growth.
Since the year is over, we can see the whole time frame. We lived it; we can see it in it’s whole. Now I’m terrible at writing in my journal on a daily basis so it can be hard for me to reflect on the specifics. I couldn’t really tell you how I was exactly feeling in certain months. But I can give a general overview on what God was doing in the year 2016, especially with the soil in my life.
Reflecting is good for you.
I shared on Instagram a quick piece of my reflection of 2016. If you don’t follow me on there, that’s okay! Here’s what I shared on January 1st:
“hey 2017. good to see you. I’ll be honest, I already miss 2016. 2016 was a legit year for me. the soil in my life got healthier. my roots grew deeper and stronger. I saw a field of wildflowers erupt, rich and full of color. I got hurt in 2016. rocked out at many concerts. made friends with strangers in different states. moved to another state. started a new job that allows me to travel – a dream that I’ve carried for many years. cried…a lot. I have watched The Captivating Woman grow. I didn’t brush my hair a lot (I liked the texture of unbrushed hair, alright?) I’ve learned to be more open. I’ve learned more about myself and not being ashamed of my body. I’ve seen God open doors and close many. 2017 will be amazing. I turn 27 in 29 days. I’ll hop on many flights this year. I’ll go to more concerts (crossing my fingers I see Bruno Mars, Johnnyswim, and Joseph this year). my word for the year is: grace. grace on my body. grace when I feel like I am not enough and feel like I can’t offer anything. grace when I haven’t accomplished things. grace for others, especially because I know they will not give me everything I need. I am thankful for y’all. I can’t wait to explore 2017 will you!”
At the beginning of 2016, my church started a long series on the word grow.
With growth, there are different parts to it.
Though you can plant a tree, the soil needs to be just right for the tree to do what it’s supposed to do. With the right amount of water and nutrients, the tree will grow and thus produce fruit. It’s an ongoing cycle. You might have the soil perfect one season, but the next season it could lack all nutrients. Our pastor asked us to pray and see what God wanted us to work on. I was pretty positive God was going to say that 2016 was going to be a year of producing fruit. It wasn’t.
“Sarah, your soil needs to be revived. It’s lacking nutrients. It’s dry. You’re not sitting next to the river to receive what you need.”
I felt so small.
I’ve been a Christian for many years. I run a Christian website. I mentor young girls. Starting with the soil felt like Christianity 101. I could not be starting with Christianity 101.
But there isn’t a Christianity 101 class that we take when we accept Christ. We just dive in. It’s thrilling. God reminded me that no matter how many years I have known Him, the soil in my life is important and needs to be maintained, dug up, and watered everyday.
So I worked on the soil this year. It was rough. It looked a lot like how my dad maintains the soil in his garden. He’s taking out old plants, digging up the dirt, adding in rich soil, mixing it up, a little water here and there, and then repeating the process when needed.
It takes time.
Because of the process (and yes, it’s a process), I saw amazing things happening. Relationships grew stronger. I began to trust the Lord that He was for me and preparing things ahead of time. I got a grown-up job (#adulting). I was content with myself. I honestly felt beautiful for the first time (something I’ve struggled with for many years). I saw God open some huge doors when I believed, in the past, they could never open up.
The time working on the soil was and is still important. Do I think that I’m done working in the soil? Absolutely not. I believe that it’s something I’ll never stop working on.
This is what I learned in 2016.
I never want to think that I’ve made it with my relationship with Jesus. There will never be a time when I’ve figured it all out. I will go back to the soil, daily. I will sit next to the river of Life. I’ll still feel frustrated when I don’t see change come when I thought it was going to be something new happen at a specific time.
But I’ll see wildflowers bloom.
I’ll see the change from the obedience of just resting next to the river and allowing Him to be the Gardener. He wants me to relentlessly chase after what He has called for me. He has called me to be brave, to jump, to dive when I don’t know what’s below. He wants me to alive. To dream. To dream with others. He wants me to see life as colorful and adventurous, even with the bumps along the way.
He wants me to trust Him fully. He is a friend, a kind and intentional one at that.
He is good and good things are formed by Him.