For some time now (as in, the last two weeks), I have been reflecting, wondering, and praying over what my “word” for 2017 would be.

Now, I know choosing a word for the year is a very blog-y and social media thing, but I truly love the idea behind having a “theme” to help set your focus and intention for the year ahead. It can be hard to remember and to fully live according to that theme throughout the year, but it’s definitely something worth striving for.

Last year in 2016, my word was abide and I think it fit me well for where I was at this time last year. I was coming out of 2015, a year that completely changed my life from the losses of my maternal grandmother and aunt less than 48 hours apart to my decision to take my career in a new direction. I was in the midst of a season in which I felt the indescribable peace and joy of Jesus’ presence in my life so deeply and abiding in His undeniable presence and love in that season was such an incredibly beautiful place to be.

But as I’ve written in the past few weeks, I began to realize towards the end of 2016 that things start to look and feel different when you’ve “come out” of that immediate season of grief. While I certainly am not “over” the six losses that I experienced, the grief and the pain have gotten significantly easier. Now that life has returned to a sort of state of equilibrium, how then do I continue to root myself in God and abide in Him?

When I look ahead to 2017 and things that are to come, in many ways I think that this year is going to be a season of trusting completely in God’s faithfulness and provision. There is so much that lies ahead for me. One year from now, I will be submitting my applications for child life internships to hospitals up and down the East Coast. Many of these hospitals only take one person each internship session. These internships are unpaid, full-time, and if I don’t receive an offer from one of the three hospitals in the Charlotte area I will be faced with living expenses in a new city – without an income. I have four more classes to take between now and next Winter. In addition to the classes and my working full-time as a Pre-K teacher, I will be volunteering this year in the hospital as well in order to get at least 100 hours in before the end of the year.

It is bound to be a busy, busy season.

But friends, I know how faithful and gracious and good God can be in the hard seasons. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. He has made streams in the desert and rivers in the wastelands of my former life. But now, in many ways, is when the true testing of my faith begins. Trusting and leaning on God when in the midst of grief was almost natural for me, which I am so grateful for. I know that for many, it’s in the grief that leaning on God is the hard part. But when I’m not in the midst of that grief, I have a tendency to go back to believing the lie that I can do all the things on my own again. That even though I needed Jesus to help me navigate through that pain of loss, I don’t need him as much to help navigate the everyday struggles and hurdles that I face. A hurdle is still a hurdle and a hurdle is still an opportunity to stray from God if we aren’t careful.

The word that keeps coming to mind through all of this is faith. I have no doubt in my mind that 2017 is going to be a year marked by God’s incredible faithfulness to me and my faith and trust in Him to help me pursue the calling that He gave me. And I cannot wait to see the work of His hands on this year.

“By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations – the City designed and built by God.” – Hebrews 11:8-9, MSG

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