I feel a bit guilty because so many of my friends and family have had a horrible 2016 and are counting down the minutes to kiss this year good riddance. And although I've gone along with these sentiments out of respect for those suffering through 2016, deep inside my heart, this has been one of the best years of my life.
I got married this year...twice actually. Once in Vegas and then celebrated again in the most- amazing-wedding-ever in North Carolina. I got married to a man who has taught me more about love, life and relationships than I thought possible. Life is just such an adventure with him and I can't wait to see where God takes us in the future. I moved twice this year and traveled more than in previous years. We got a puppy and my old dog Reese is still kickin'. (Reese and I have a deal that he is to live until at least the age of 14. I'm glad to report he is holding up his end of the deal.) And I realized true friends remain friends regardless of the distance put between them. I love my tribe!
Although lots of amazing & exciting things have happened this year, there's been way more going on behind the scenes to make this year so great. If you've followed my blog since it's inception, you already know I'm big on New Year resolutions. Next week I'll post 2017 resolutions but today I'm living in the moments of 2016. My resolution this past year was to dedicate more time to prayer, to learn how to be a prayer warrior and to use prayer in a powerful way. And I can't believe everything God taught me through prayer this past year. Prayer has strengthen my faith in God more than ever before and I have a different outlook on life through the lens of prayer.
This time last year, I was getting ready to get married, move to a different state and quit a stable job to start a contracted position without guarantee of a stable income. I started seeking verses about God's plan for my life and claiming them as my own through prayer. God provided more than I needed this year and definitely threw some curve balls to drive His point home, like when we moved to Mississippi unexpectedly. When this news broke in our lives, I was so thankful to have a remote-based job that didn't require a resignation and subsquent search for a job when I needed to move (again). That "unstable" job God provided me, also allowed me the flexibility to drop everything and go be with my sister when she experienced a life crisis and needed help getting things squared away. Clearly, His plan was much better than mine. Thankfully, I spent extra time in prayer learning to trust His plan.
I also asked God to bring people into my life that needed prayer -- and this proved to be an overwhelming experience. God brought many different people into my life but one friend stands out in my mind. A relatively "new" friend of mine was accused of a serious crime and underwent a life-altering investigation. And yet God heavied my heart to pray for her. As the investigation continued, I actually didn't know if she was guilty or innocent but for some reason that didn't seem to matter. Whenever my mind wandered in that direction, I felt God sternly reminding me "I didn't ask you to judge her, I told you to pray for her". So I stopped thinking about her innocence or guilt and just prayed for her. Several months ago she asked me, "Why have you not judged me through this experience? I've lost so many friends and relationships with my family over this accusation and yet you barely know me and you haven't judged me." My reply was simple "It isn't my place to judge you. God told me to pray so my only job is to pray." For months I covered her and her family in prayer and just last week she was cleared of the accusations and life is slowly returning to normal for her. I know her journey has been tough (that's probably a huge understatment!) but I also know God has been with her every step of the way. And I learned, when you ask God to bring people who need prayer to your life, He delivers in a BIG way.
I could list many more examples of situations I prayed over to God and the amazing way He answered my prayers but instead of sharing my examples, I'm challenging you to ask God to show you the power of prayer! But I'm warning you, be ready to stand in awe.
The power of prayer to calm, protect, comfort, and change is beyond words. I've learned to study God's word and claim His word in my prayer.
1 John 5:14, 15
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him.
So as I reflect on 2016, I will remember a great year of prayer followed by tremendously blessings like an amazing husband, awesome experience and a crazy puppy.
No matter the circumstances of your 2016, I wish you a very Happy New Year. And thank you for reading my blog for yet another year.
Love, joy and prayers in 2016,
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Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.