What a year!
A year of a LOT of excitement, transition, travel, discouragement, excitement, and loss.
Sold our favorite house.
We moved in with my parents.
Paid off the final balance of our student loan debt. It was supposed to take us 8 more years, but God had a better plan.
I had surgery that discovered why I had lived in so much pain for so long.
I got offered a job with a company I had wanted to work for for YEARS.
Bought an old duplex and began renovations.
Left a job that loved and blessed me well for another place that has loved and blessed me well.
Worked tirelessly on our new duplex.
Had a nervous breakdown.
Finished the duplex.
Moved in and my sister and brother in love moved next door.
Traveled to California. Loved it.
Traveled to NYC. Loved it.
My sister brought into the world ANOTHER nephew for me to love.
Lost 3 incredibly powerful people in my church family within days of each other.
Whew! What a year!
You know in it all, I struggled to be overjoyed in the happy places because I was preparing myself for the bad. Steadying and balancing my heart like “don’t get too excited, this won’t last.”
I read back through my journal from 2017 and even after great victory, I would write out “I am so afraid Lord, help me feel courageous.” “I just want to hide, I am so anxious.”
As I flipped through the pages, one full of fearful cries out to the Lord, below it I wrote out “Holy Spirit, what do you say?” and his response, “But, she laughs.”
Maybe you aren’t a listener of the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you think I am actually bonkers.
But I pulled out my phone that morning and googled “she laughs” and google promptly showed me that Proverbs 31:25 says “She is clothed in dignity and strength; she laughs without fear of the future.”
That one thing that I could not get myself to do. That one thing that the enemy tried to steal in my moments of victory was my joy and ability to LAUGH.
Isn’t that crazy? The joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH and for some reason I handed over my strength by fearing what *might* happen if….
You know, the hard things we faced in 2017 were not things I expected. In fact the things I feared most never happened, which goes to show you the force that comes against us when we are living in the middle of our greatest destiny.
I think there is no greater proof that we are where we are supposed to be than when we begin to freak out as to what’s to come. When we have push back and hurdles. When joy starts slipping. It’s because the enemy himself is afraid of the fulfillment of our God given plan.
This year, my plan is to listen to a fear and then laugh it back to where it came from. Well, try to at least.
I may be the only person that struggles with “what if” fears, but I think it’s time that we all start laughing at what we fear is coming.
That way, strength can balance us in the places of discouragement. That way strength can uphold us and encourage us when we are SUPPOSED TO BE REJOICING.
I think 2018 needs to be a year of laughter for us all.
I think we can all laugh without fear of the future.
Photos by: Nalin Crocker