Four digits that – when placed together – represent a year in all of our lives.
Four digits that represent a year that will forever be etched in my brain in a very real way, for very significant reasons.
Most of the people in my life have been along for the ride of 2019 with me in some form, so I don’t think I need to sit here and give a play by play of all that God has done this year.
But I do want to take a moment to step back and reflect on this last year. I mean, I distinctly remember the January First Wednesday service… January 2, 2019. I don’t remember the details as to why, but I remember that I showed up for church that night in just a horrible place. Depressed, discouraged, overwhelmed… I legitimately wasn’t sure what to do next or where to turn or how on earth I was going to get through that night – let alone the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year…
Then my two favorite words happened…
It would be another couple of months before I would hit rock bottom. God would bring me to a place that I had never been before, a place in which I was so beyond angry and apathetic towards life. I was even so apathetic and done with caring that it was almost MORE scary than if I had had a specific plan and intention to… well, you can imagine.
I think back to that girl of a year ago, the one walking into Spring Hills with knots in her stomach and tremors in her hands. She had no idea the journey that God would take her on in 2019. And in retrospect, it’s probably good that she didn’t – I’m not sure I would have believed anyone if they had told her what was going to happen, even God Himself.
Driving home after work last night, sometime between 2am and 3am, I was listening to the Spotify playlist containing all of my most played songs from 2019. One of my tattoo songs came on (I think I have three now?), and like… oh man. I almost started crying. The song started to hit me in a whole new way, and it’s already done that once before – the day that God intervened as I was planning an attempt on my life. As I listened to the words last night, though, I couldn’t help but think of wanting to sing this song to the girl of twelve months ago.
That girl had no idea where she was going to turn.
That girl had no idea how she would ever live any kind of “normal” life.
That girl had no idea how she would ever live apart from her parents and apart from all she’s ever known.
That girl had no hope.
But in all of that?
That girl had no idea just how much she would come to cherish the gift of life.
I’ll share the chorus of this song – “Sparrow (Under Heaven’s Eyes)”, by Tenth Avenue North.
You see the sparrow
You see me here
With the pain of my past
And the depth of my fears
You see my future
One day I’ll rise
My hope is secure
under Heaven’s eyes
under Heaven’s eyes
God sees us.
He sees you, and He sees me.
He saw me a year ago – brokenhearted, lost, hopeless.
He knew all of the beautiful things that were up ahead, the beautiful healing that would take place. I can picture and hear Him now, whispering to that girl…
Just hold on. I’m here, and I see you. I see your future – that one day you WILL rise. You will rise when you meet me in eternity, yes. But you will rise in the context of this life, too. You will be able to go, to live your dreams, to live a life free from the bondage of self hatred. I know you can’t see it now, but you will. I promise.
Your hope can rest secure in Me – the hope of eternity, yes, but the hope to live this life in freedom. And in peace.
The second verse of the song repeats the phrase “take courage, dear heart”. And if I could say one thing to that girl, that very well might be it.
Take courage, dear heart. Our Savior promises that His hope does NOT disappoint.
Not only will the Hope never disappoint, but it will deliver in ways far above anything we could ever ask or imagine…
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”
Ephesians 3:20 has very much become my life verse, and for good reason. 2019 has been a monumental and life changing – and life SAVING year for me. And these words, this promise in scripture could not do a better job to describe all that has happened.
I had stopped praying for a miracle and for healing from my depression and from my bondage because I legitimately believed that no healing could ever happen.
Oh man was I wrong! And I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong.
Friends… dream big this year. If God can do this, if He can remove the years of bondage to suicidal thoughts in my life… Friends, our God can do ANYTHING.
May that be the case for you in 2020.
May God show up this year in ways far bigger and grander than anything you could ever ask for or imagine.
But as we pray that prayer? Buckle up. Because I can speak from experience – it’s going to be one wild and crazy ride.
And praise Jesus for ALL of that.