2016 was a year of tough, and I certainly had it better than some.

From illnesses (Valentine’s Day with kidney stones) to death (December took a dear friend and several acquaintances) –

from aging parents with health issues (Alzheimer’s and hypertensive chronic kidney disease) to growing teens and adult offspring with heart issues (God is always God, whether you like it or not) –

from hitting major life milestones (40), achievements (20 years of marriage), and defeats (both my husband and I were laid off work in September) to giving up our home to live with his parents and support them –

it was a WHOPPER of a year – mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Relationships changed – some were lost, some were wounded, some were strengthened.

Plans changed – some were discarded, some were revamped, some were completed.

Joy happened – successful homemade coconut creme pie and sour cream rhubarb pie, family gatherings, prayer times with my man.

Life happened – forgotten children at the airport, burnt meals, mental illness.

I was ready to say goodbye to 2016.

I was a little nervous about 2017.

And my Jesus – I think He chuckles at me; I’m just sure He does. And He challenges me.

From the First5 study of Joshua and Judges, Day 1 (January 2nd):

Father, I will not fear any task (even life) to which You call me because You go with me wherever I go. (emphasis mine)

and Day 2 (January 3rd):

Lord, give me a heart willing to risk (my comfort – my children – my plans – my relationship) everything I am on You alone. (emphasis mine)

and Day 4 (January 5th):

Lord, I thank You for Your presence (with me in the tough) and Your protection (it could have been so much worse). (emphasis mine)

and Day 5 (January 6th – Epiphany):

I need to worry LESS and worship MORE. (emphasis mine)

I hear You, Lord.

Bring it on, 2017.