So, another year has flown by and today is the last day of 2017! I don’t know about you but I’m welcoming 2018 with open arms…
2017 was what can only be described as the sort of year I wasn’t expecting and that I wouldn’t like to repeat again. The biggest and most obvious reason is the fact that The Lovely Mr B was diagnosed with throat cancer at the end of July and that knocked us for six!
This meant that any plans we had made for the rest of the year were quickly removed from the table, so we could deal with what was now in front of us. In the grand scheme of things, the holiday we had planned, concerts we booked tickets for, conferences we had booked and all the fun stuff we like to do together, and as a family, were cancelled and that was disappointing to say the least.
However, as the days went on those things became less important and the plans we had, we learnt to put aside as God said take it a day at a time, knowing that the most important thing was Tim’s health and full recovery. At the end of the day the things we think are so important soon become reorganised as you realise how many things really aren’t that important at all. Priorities change, and this can actually be a good thing.
In this season, we have leaned into the prophetic words we have been given, and some highlights were the one about having mountain top moments when they should be valleys and the joy of the Lord being our strength.
The most amazing one though, had to be the word from Shawn Bolz, who I was fortunate enough to hear at an event I attended in August, just after the diagnosis, who said…
God is saying, “you have looked after my body, now I’m going to look after your body, your physical body”.
That word has really sustained us through this whole journey, knowing God knew all about it and that He wasn’t worried about it which very much meant we didn’t need to either!
I wouldn’t have chosen this last 6 months but, I can hand on heart say that God has been so incredibly faithful and kind to us in this season and has done far more in us individually, as a couple and as a family that we cannot fully comprehend it all at this stage. My husband is barely recognisable and I don’t just mean physically, although he has lost nearly 5 stone now and one big grey beard!
But, he has become more of a faith filled, humble man of God who has grown in his expectations for healing and miracles. He knows God as his rock in a way that you can never know unless you’ve walked through the fire with Him. All the scriptures Tim loves about God’s faithfulness have been brought to life and he is a walking testimony of God’s faithfulness, goodness, and love. He has developed in his prayer life and our prayer life together has grown, as we see God answering prayers so quickly at times and other times it’s required us to persevere in prayer for the breakthrough we are waiting on. I have loved the way God has partnered with us and this opportunity to transparently walk it out via social media, which we felt we should do to bring God the glory and to help take the fear out of the word cancer. We have loved using the #kickcancersass at every opportunity we get!!!!
For me, I have found faith like never before and have seen my miracle working God move in the small and the big. I have felt His love for me in such a profound way and God has gifted me with new levels of compassion for the suffering and people with long-term illness, I have really learnt what it means in the last 6 months to be a carer, and my goodness it’s exhausting in every way possible. My heart breaks for carers who are looking after the long term sick or children who have had to become carers at such a young age. The weight of responsibility can be overwhelming at times. I have learnt firsthand that you can often feel invisible, even though you know it’s not about you. You then feel guilty for having those feelings because it’s about the person who is ill and, so you battle between feelings of resentment and guilt at times as well as love and compassion.
As someone who’s main love language is acts of service, poor Mr B hasn’t been able to do this for me and so I have missed this expression of his love for me, but it has also taught me to be more appreciative and, grateful for him and our marriage. I have missed the delicious food he cooks, my breakfast every morning before work, spending time mooching round Brick Lane but most of all just hanging out with my best bud and laughing a lot! At times it has been lonely and I could see friends and family but at the end of the day you just miss your partner, no disrespect to anyone who I have spent time with, you have lifted me more than you know.
So, as we come to the end of the year, I am grateful to God for the lessons learnt and the way He has changed our hearts and given us exciting things to look forward to as He has put dreams in our hearts for doing ministry together. We have been truly humbled by this experience and we have been on the receiving end of so much love and support from friends and family. Who knew asking for help was so tricky, something else I’ve learnt. But, people want to help and not only that, it gives them joy to know they have been able to meet your need. It’s funny that I find giving the help so much easier than receiving it. Another lesson learnt and things to process.
There has been so much good stuff too in 2017 and when I look at my family I see them happy and moving forward. Noah is at Leicester uni and loving it. It’s been a big change for him moving away from home and we have not been there for him as much as we would have liked but he has coped so admirably. We are so proud of him and his work ethic. Ethan has moved to Walthamstow and is happily working and managing to find time to make the films he loves. Seeing him happy with his lovely girlfriend Charlotte brings joy to my heart.
I have had so many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone this year and have massively grown in hearing God’s voice and acting on it. Nothing brings me more happiness than being able to share what God says with somebody and it making a difference in their life and connecting them to God. I have grown to really enjoy going out on the streets and loving the one God puts in front of me. There have been so many amazing moments this year and every time I am able to connect with someone and make them feel loved my heart feels full to bursting. This is what I am created for, is the feeling that overwhelms me each time. Partnering with God is truly the best feeling ever.
I have been able to step deeper into my more creative side this year and it’s been a year since I started my bible journaling journey. This has brought me so much happiness and peace as I sit and paint or draw in my bible what God is saying to me and best of all being able to encourage others to have a go too. I love that fact that we are inherently creative as humans, because we are created by a creator God.
Creativtiy is a birthright if we are created in His image.
Justina Stevens (Cultivate magazine by the Cageless Birds)
I have continued to write too, but at times this has been a challenge as I have felt weary and tired. But, my energy is coming back and the ideas are flowing again. There is something new coming for 2018 and I will post about that soon 🙂
I have never been one for resolutions and I think the pressure to have them and then try and keep them is hard and can be a way of beating yourself up when you don’t quite make it. Instead I think each day is its own fresh start rather than each year. Every day holds so many opportunities and all we need to do is listen in to what the Father is saying and partner with the Holy Spirit to see His kingdom advance.
Lam 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I love this scripture and it so helpful waking up and knowing God’s mercy is fresh every day. Every day is literally a fresh start. No matter that you might have messed up yesterday, just say sorry and move on.
A final thought…
Last year I asked God for a word for the year, just one word that would sum up my year and it was ‘devoted’. I really felt that I was devoted to Him and put Him first and had Him at the forefront of my mind during the day. I yearned to be like Mary sitting at His feet in adoration. I still yearn for this and will continue to sit at His feet so that my relationship and intimacy with Him grows.
But, the word He gave me for this year is very different and a call to action…
I’m excited about it and all that it means. I guess as the year goes on I will discover more and more what that looks like but, I feel that God wants me to advance His kingdom wherever I am and after a season of taking shelter behind my mighty defender it’s time to move out!!!!! I will journal about it and look forward to sharing with you as more is revealed.
Have you got a word for this year? Maybe you’ve never asked God before? Why not ask Him what His word over you will be for 2018.
Thank you for all your support this year and for taking the time to read and leave comments. I hope you have been encouraged and equipped and closer to the Father.