Reflections and New Beginnings


Written by Erin Blucker

2016.

What comes to your mind as you think over the last year?
Are you overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and peace?
Are you filled with uncertainty and sorrow and grief?

Or are you like me (and like most), somewhere in the middle, recalling a mixture of the “good” and the “hard”?

As I think back on this year, my mind is drawn to the people and places that made up my days. It has been a year of growth, friendship, hard work and heart work, love, hurt, laughter, and loss. It has been a year filled with life – and life is not always as pretty as Instagram would have you believe. But it has been full and rich and meaningful. And God will use it all.

Whatever happened over these last twelve months of your life, it is good to remember. To think back, to reflect, to intentionally look for the faithful hand of God in your life.

Look for the joys and the blessings of God over this last year.
How has He shown you grace?
How has He provided for you?
How has He drawn you closer to Himself and given you joy in Himself?
How has He proven Himself faithful and righteous and perfect and loving?
What has He taught you through His Word this year?
(I encourage you to really ask yourself these questions and really answer them.)

Maybe you are in a place right now where recalling these things requires all of your strength, energy, and perhaps even some tears. But, friend, I urge you, look up! Look to the cross; remember the empty tomb. Remember that your Savior has experienced the highs and lows of this life that we, too, experience. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, but He bore our sorrows, was pierced for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53). He enters into our suffering with us; we are never alone. He intercedes for us; the Holy Spirit actually prays for us according to the Father’s will (Romans 8). And we have a hope that will never fade – a hope that is more real than what we see here and now.

2016 is over. And with a new year comes new beginnings – what a blessing!

2017.

What comes to your mind as you think about the upcoming year?
Are you filled with excitement about the possibilities?
Or do you have an unwelcome sense of dread that won’t seem to leave you alone?

As believers, we can take courage! We know that God is for us, that He works for our good, that He will be with us, and that He Himself will be our supply. Over and over, we are commanded not to fear. (After all, what good does worrying do anyway?) Matthew 6:33 commands us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”

So, in 2017:
How are you going to seek Jesus and His Kingdom first?
What habits need to change to make Christ first in your heart and life?
What is one thing you want to fervently pray for this year?
How are you going to use your gifts to serve this year?
What is one thing you can start to do this year that has eternal value?

As we look at the year ahead, let us encourage one another to look to Jesus. To long for His return. To pursue holiness together. To enjoy Him. To rest in His sovereignty. To take courage and live with purpose. And to remember that, if we are in Christ, the best is yet to come.






Erin has been on staff at Bethany since May 2015. She works primarily in Student Ministries, so her days vary from planning events to mass emailing everyone at BBC to creating graphics to organizing small groups to thinking up crazy games. She loves ministry (especially heading up this little blog as of late!), music, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

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