Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Most of us would agree, though days seem to drag on at times, the years fly by. 2016 was another year full of blessings and challenges for all of us. At the end of each year we can always reflect back and remember some of the incredible blessings, as well as the painful challenges we experienced.

For me, 2016 was incredibly challenging in many ways. From discovering part of my immune system is low, to my first ever Emergency Room visit (a kidney stone we think), to a diagnosis of melanoma (which required surgery) – I spent more time with doctors than I ever have before. It was mid 2016 when Erin and I discerned God’s call to adopt a child from Colombia – we spent more time filling out paperwork than we ever had before. With all of these things and with the seemingly increased demands of pastoring a church and leading my family, 2016 wore me out physically, emotionally, and mentally. At the same time, I can celebrate some incredible victories at the hand of God that makes it all worthwhile.

Reflecting back on the previous year I observed many others dealing with much more significant and devastating circumstances than I had. I also observed many others experiencing many more blessings than I had (at least from my selfish perspective). Some of what we experienced this last year was a result of our choices, while much of it was likely out of our control. As we prepare for this upcoming year, we have no idea what may be around the next corner, but we can trust Jesus will be around that corner to lead us through whatever it may be.

I am excited about the potential of 2017. We all want more blessings and fewer struggles, but often the greatest blessings result from the greatest struggles. Be prepared – 2017 will come with its fair share of ups and downs, but never forget who is in control. God will continue to work out His purpose in our lives and in His church through each circumstance. Be careful not to get stuck looking back (whether at the good or bad) because they best is yet to come in Christ. He has a greater purpose for you when you’re fully surrendered to Him.