As I sit here reflecting on 2017, I feel like the Grinch when he began to feel his heart growing – the way the love of God is swelling, my chest cavity just seems too small to contain it.
I started this year feeling incredibly lost, questioning every life decision I’ve made, and even wondering why I’m here, and what God could possibly do with a mess like me. I felt like the successes I experienced were flukes, and struggled fiercely against the belief that failure was my portion.
I was heavy, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was perpetually tired, frustrated, and constantly on edge, and eventually full fledged desperation crept in.
But I sit here at the end of 2017 grateful for what felt like rock bottom at the beginning of the year.
This season issued a clear reminder that I don’t walk in my own strength. When you’re all the way down, the only place to look is up. And to my surprise, as I looked up, I began to see God in ways I have never known Him, despite all my years in church.
I saw a God who was not offended by the frailty of my humanity, nor overwhelmed by my inability to keep it all together. I began to lean into a deeper exploration of the love of my Heavenly Father who promised never to leave me or forsake me, who promised to take my burdens, the weight, the tears, the heartache. I’ve heard these words all my life, but, as if for the first time, I began to discover what His “unconditional love” really means. It isn’t based on my action, condition, possessions or position. It isn’t based on how the public perceives me, or how others treat me. No one could destroy my reputation with God – He already knows everything about me.
And in this moment, just like when I was preparing for the delivery of my children, and the pain was too much to bear, and I just wanted to get the baby out – I got free because I lost my shame.
When labor pains were at their worst, I didn’t want anything touching me – not people, not clothes, and I only tolerated the belly monitor because it let us know the baby was okay. I knew there were lots of people around – doctors and nurses that I didn’t know, and the only thing covering me was an open hospital gown – but I didn’t care. If any of them could get my baby here, and make this pain stop, then they needed to just go ahead and do it. I didn’t try to put on a brave face, or mask my pain – I yelled, and groaned and learned the real meaning of travail. There is no space for perfectionism, pretending, or pride in the delivery room.
This entire year has been like those moments right before I experienced two of my greatest joys in life, finally meeting our sons. This has been my laboring year, my naked and transparent year; a year where I finally got real with myself and God about what’s really been going on in my heart, my head, and my life. I released the shame of my past mistakes, and I began an extraordinary journey towards releasing the weight that has kept me from moving forward freely. This year, I experienced deliverance, calling the demons and discouragement that plagued me by name, letting them know they have no dominion here, no authority, and welcoming the sweet, liberating, filling and freeing presence of the Holy Spirit.
On this last day of 2017, I can say without a doubt, that I will never be the same. I know I’ve been changed. By God’s grace, I will confidently enter this new year understanding that only God is Good, only He is perfect, only His strength is strong enough, only His LOVE makes transforms, and only His Voice makes the difference. I walk into this new year committed to being authentic, forgiving, loving and free. And I can’t wait to see the baby I birthed out (in the Spirit, lol).