When looking back, I see a mesh of confusing times, hard seasons, and fleeting moments of desperate hope amidst chaos and calamity.
There was death.
Moments of weeping in the early morning light, screaming in my car on my way to work.
Words said hastily to a patient and enduring God.
Thoughts that permeated my soul with sorrow and confusion birthed generations of like-minded children within the darkness of my mind.
But amidst the chaos.
In between the pain.
Surrounded by the confusion, one thing remained constant.
He I held onto.
He alone I clung to.
He I kept running back to.
I knew I could not survive alone.
I must have a Steadfast.
And though for a while the pain was great and the confusion abounding, I kept hearing his gentle roar tell me once again to hold on.
To be patient.
To have faith.
To have fortitude.
It is the strength of hope.
It is the roar of patience.
It is the lion of trial.
Fortitude is forged through fire.
It is formed through long-suffering.
Fortitude is the backbone that carries you one more step up the mountain.
It is not enough to be patient.
You must also be strong.
And from the marriage of these beautiful things, strength and patience, comes Fortitude.
Although I have yet to grow, and yet to learn what it means to really, really have fortitude, I feel as if God has taught me so much in 2016 about it.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Because fortitude is simply the pregnancy, the gestation period between conception and birth.
It does not return void.
It does not carry with empty hands.
2016 was not in vain, no matter how it went for you.
I want you to know that.
I know you might be simply happy that it’s a new year, because it means you can start afresh, with a clean slate.
But that’s simply not a healthy view.
Trust me, I know sometimes it’s easier to just want to start all over.
And hear me out, I’m not trying to get you to remain in the past.
Not at all.
There was a reason 2016 happened.
And if we ignore it, we ignore its fruits.
Fortitude always gives birth.
And for me, I can already see some of the fruits.
So many wonderful things happened out of the confusion and pain that it’s hard to imagine life without them.
So yes, 2017 is a fresh start.
A new slate.
Bright and full of hope.
But it is also the birthchild of 2017.
And if you want to grasp all that the Lord has for you in this year, do not negate the struggles of last year.
He is using them even now.
So yes, I am quite optimistic about this new year. (read VERY)
Like, a lot.
I feel like this year (excuse the cliche) DOES hold a lot of hope.
I feel so much hope for this year sometimes it’s hard to contain.
Personally, I’m looking forward to new seasons with the Lord and with people.
New adventures and ways to love Him better.
Globally, I feel there is a bigger time of creativity and breakthrough coming.
There is freedom in the air.
Freedom from lies.
Freedom from the past.
Freedom from false doctrine.
Freedom from the world.
Freedom from addictions.
Freedom from self-obsession.
Freedom from fear of man.
So much hope.
Yes, there is a lot of pain in the world.
But there’s also Jesus.
If 2016 was the night, surely 2017 is the morning.
Count on it.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”