Stacey Crawford

A new year for me almost brings a fresh start, a new beginning. I don’t know about you, but as we approached 2018, just the thought of going to a new year brought hope for me…the realization that the first day of the year could almost be seen as a new chapter in my book. I think the biggest reason for this was because the last three months of 2017 were difficult. I walked through probably one of the toughest seasons I have ever experienced. I was definitely looking forward to new beginnings as we walked into 2018. I longed for a fresh start and a change.

Even now, as I write this two weeks into the new year, something has indeed shifted for me. I almost feel like that day was, in fact, a fresh and clean start for me. I feel like myself again. I’m excited for what is to come, but for some reason I’m also able to look back and truly see some of the things God was doing, even in the midst of a very difficult season. That’s the cool thing about God…our pain is not in vain. When we persevere and walk through the difficult seasons, God is honored, God is glorified, and if we allow Him, God changes our hearts and our minds. I often have seen how my most difficult seasons are my greatest testimonies. Don’t get me wrong, I hate that we have to walk through them, but the fruit on the other side is incredible.

Sometimes in our walk with Christ we continue forward, but it is always good to look back. It is good to take a moment and think about all of the ways God was faithful to you. As I think through the past few months, I see great growth in my heart, my mind, my relationships, and even my faith and walk with God. As I move forward into 2018, I really do anticipate a lot of change in my life, in who I am, but it’s all good stuff because I am growing in my identity in Christ. I did not like walking through that difficult season, but now I look forward with great anticipation for the future because I am completely confident that, no matter what happens, God is with me.

I want to encourage you this week to think through those seasons and situations in your life that were difficult. Think back to all the points in your life where God was faithful or came through in a big way. Focus and reflect on all God was able to do and teach you in those seasons. Take time to write down all the ways God has been faithful to you. Write down the miracles you have seen Him do in your life or in the lives of others. Take time to really reflect on how God was with you through every season. I hope that by writing out and looking at all of the ways God was faithful, that on those days when you need it most, you will have a constant reminder of the truth that God loves you, He has a plan for your life, and He is always with you, no matter what comes your way.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

 I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.

Philippians 4:13 NLT