2017 was a year that continued to teach me new things over and over again. It was by far one of my harder years. It came with major reasons to celebrate and it also came with terrible heart ache. It was the year I turned 40, and it was not the year I thought it would be when it started.
Lesson 1 – Always be ready: This is an obvious statement but I had not been to a funeral in quite some time and then this year we went to 5 in the first 4 or 5 months. 3 were older folks and 2 were young ladies in their early to mid 30’s. But all of these people were good people. The lesson that comes out of this is that we never know when our day comes so if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ I would implore you to become one. I would also note that being a good person doesn’t make one a Christian. Being a follower of Christ makes you a Christian.
Lesson 2 – Praise God for the Church: In a year like this we have needed help like no other year. Our church has been there to help talk us through difficulties, Love on us with gifts and hugs, I know we have been covered in prayer, and physical needs have been met. I don’t like to brag on people much so I won’t do it here either, but I will use this spot to brag on God’s People, His Church. What an outpouring of love. Even church families we don’t attend have gifted us with His grace. It has been so humbling to be on the receiving end of it. My Father is a Gracious loving Father who blesses His children abundantly using the hands and feet (the church).
Lesson 3 – Personal Growth is Exciting: This year I’ve seen some personal growth and it is neat to see God use events and people to mold the person I am at the end of 2017. I have also seen some personal failures and areas I needed to improve on. Praise God for this as well. Life is hard sometimes but through the hardness of it, the perseverance is great for building character. I’m still not the perfect version of me by any means but I’m working at it.
Lesson 4 – Pride in Family: Man I thought I loved my family so much back in 2016 but in 2017 I found it was possible to love them even more. I’m so proud of my wife for the person she was but to see her growth in this year has been exciting. To see where we are going is even more exciting. Seeing my two oldest boys decide to get baptized this year was amazing and that God would use me to perform it. Wow! I can’t tell you how excited I was that God had put that on their hearts. Two of my sons started reading this year that is huge. The other son has started playing basketball (who knew you would get so into your kids games). Seriously I use to think man what’s up with some of these parents. But it’s a since of pride and it’s exciting. Seriously the people at Disney Pixar got it right in Cars 3 when they were talking about how the best part of Doc’s life was helping Lightning.
Lesson 5 – No matter what you think is coming you have no idea: I am a planner, I’m where ever I need to be early, I have already completed my monthly cash flow budget for 2018 last week (that’s not a joke). But what 2017 has taught me is that life can throw you a curve ball. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve had a curve ball in 2014, 2015, & 2016, but the one we got in 2017 was filthy (MLB slang for crazy). I still believe in planning but I also realize that those plans are only as good as the day they are written on. Things change and we need to be willing to make adjustments to the plans. God will provide. I don’t always know how or when but he will.
Well those are my 5 lessons for this year. Like I said it has been hard, but it has also been great. As I look forward to a new beginning in 2018 for the New Year I remember the verse written by Paul so long ago.
“I focus on one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:13-14
If your reading this and 2017 was hard, remember the wisdom you gained, remember your successes. But also press on knowing that tomorrow is another day a new day. Finish the race my brothers and sisters and hope to hear at the end “well done good and faithful servant.”