For the past several years, Dan and I have chose a “word of the year” to focus on all year long. So as 2018 ended, we started praying about what 2019 would hold and we felt the word “confident” was the word for 2019. (Confidently Walking into 2019) I remember early in the year when I looked up synonyms for the word “confident”. Words like “bold”, “convinced”, “courageous”, “fearless”, “positive” and “satisfied” popped up and I remember thinking how great the year was going to be.
However, as 2019 slowly progressed, the days felt heavy. The start of the year was very full and transition around me felt painful. Hard news and tough situations seemed to be around every turn. It honestly felt like the weight I was living under couldn’t get any heavier, however in April it did. I was diagnosed with a recurrence of the rare disease we thought we had closed the door on. (Did God Really Say…) That recurrence led to medication changes, side effects, kidney stones and lots of questions.
Overall, this year has been full of heartbreaking news, broken trust, hard situations and so much change. On top of everything, I am not sure at what point it hit me, but at some point this year I realized we have been trying to grow our family for 10 full years. A full decade. I have heard people joke about that praying for patience is the worst thing a person could do, but I for sure would argue that praying for confidence is worse. Questions like “Are you sure?” or “Do you really believe?” or “Maybe it’s not going to get better?” or “What if it doesn’t happen?” crept into my mind. I wouldn’t really describe myself as confident most of this past year, I would describe myself as disappointed.
In the midst of deep disappointment, I feel like the Father has showed me several places in my heart that were downright ugly. (The Place I’d Rather Hide) While I believe darkness has no place in our hearts, and while I have said probably a million times that we need to be asking the Father to shine light on the places we are keeping dark, turning the lights on isn’t always the most fun. On more than one occasion, I had to apologize for my words and my tone. On more than one occasion, I had to have an attitude adjustment. On more than one hundred occasions, I had to put myself in time out and ask the Father to help me.
Honestly, I didn’t want to write this “year in review”. I wanted to just do a blanket post on social media that alerted my family and friends that the word of the year had been cancelled. We just aren’t doing that anymore. It’s just too hard. However, the more I started to think about… the more I saw the fingerprints of God through the last year.
In the middle of some of my deepest disappointments, I have felt the Fathers embrace in ways I never have before. This year He has taken me to places that I didn’t know existed. This year, I learned what it means to truly be a “prisoner of hope”. (Confidently Imprisoned) I found a deeper level of friendship with the Father, and I learned to rely on Him more than ever before.
However, if I am being honest, I am tired. It’s December and I am still dealing with the side effects of a rare disease. The headaches are still here, and we still don’t have answers for what caused this recurrence. Another cycle has passed with no babies in my womb. So many circumstances still look dark. I feel like I am in the middle of an endless winter. I am at the end of myself there is nothing left to give.
Dan is from western Nebraska. Every year, western Nebraska gets covered in feet of snow, and every winter Dan’s family jokes that Spring may never come. For months, they deal with endless bitterly cold days. Months of barren ground and hard conditions. While they joke that Spring may never break through, they never once actually believe in their hearts that Spring won’t come. They know deep down in their core, Spring is coming. That is confidence. Confidence is trusting in the promise even when there is no evidence that it is coming.
Confidence looks like sitting in a hospital waiting room in total peace as your mom has surgery and your dad has tests at the same time because you know God is good.
Confidence looks like worshiping even when your head hurts, because you know your healing is coming.
Confidence looks like buying another pregnancy test because you know your God says you are fruitful and you will multiply.
Confidence looks like boldly drawing boundaries because you know you are worth it.
Confidence is choosing to have hope even when everything in the natural tells you to give up.
Confidence looks like preparing for Spring even in the bitter cold. It looks like being okay with being at the end of yourself, because this was never about your power in the first place.
I love what Isaiah 55:12-13 says this in the message translation…
“So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines— Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God.”
As 2019 closes, this verse seems so perfect for what my heart is feeling. I am disappointed, but I am leaving this year behind me with joy and trusting that we are being led into a whole and complete life. Even more abundance than we can ever imagine! I am confident that a season that has felt dry and barren will be restored into something lush and fruitful (literally thorn bushes turning into huge trees). Have you all seen a sequoia tree? You aren’t missing a sequoia tree. Google says the tree’s AVERAGE height is 280 feet and they can live 3,000-3,500 years.
All of the disappointment that has come this year has not been from the Father. His plan is never to hurt us and disappointment is NOT something He has given us. However, we know the Father uses all the ugly things in our lives to create beautiful masterpieces. We are confident God is going to use this year as a sequoia in our life. A monument to Him and His goodness. An everlasting sign that cannot be ignored. Generations – 3,000 years – will be impacted because of this year.
Remember those synonyms I looked up at the start of the year? Words like “bold”, “convinced”, “courageous”, “fearless”, “positive” and “satisfied” look completely different now than they did at the start of the year.
I am convinced that no matter how barren this year has felt, Spring is coming. I am boldly believing for restoration. I am courageously facing whatever comes without fear because I know who my Father is. I am confident He will come through because I know who He is. I know His heart for me. He has satisfied me each step of the way. I know deep in my bones that Spring is coming. There is no doubt my God will come through.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (New International Version)