(Warning: this post is vulnerable) Looking back on 2017, this year was the hardest year I have faced so far. There was a lot of change, a lot of inner battles, pain, and loss. I transitioned from what was up to this point a life consisting solely of being an athlete and a student to the workforce in Nashville without school and soccer, my two most familiar, consistent elements since I was 4 years old. I lost relationships and people in my life that I counted on being there until the very end. I faced a lot of walls I didn’t think would come down, mountains I didn’t know could be moved, hurt that I didn’t know I could feel, disappointment, and fear that would creep in at my lowest points. However, through all of it, I see more gain than loss.
Growing up in a Christian household, faith was something I never questioned having. However, I hadn’t faced much adversity to prove just how strong my faith was. This year showed me the magnitude of faith’s role in life here on earth. My relationship with God reached levels I didn’t know were possible, and my reliance on Him in “uncomfortable” situations produced a hope and strength that is hard to put to words. Another aspect of my life that grew stronger was my relationships with multiple friends and family members. The love and care that was poured out to me throughout this year by so many people is unreal, to say the least (you know who you are). When you yourself grow stronger, your relationship with Christ grows stronger, and your relationships with others grow stronger, you feel pretty darn invincible. You see, through all of these dark pits I felt I was stuck in and battles I didn’t think I could win, God was propping me up for what would be the greatest victories of all time: unshakable faith, unwavering strength, and unstoppable hope. And for that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
There has been so much growth and self-discovery emerge this year that I feel like I’m entering 2018 a completely different person than at this point last year, ready to take on 2017 (I mean, who would’ve thought that I would end up developing a love for running, much less start a blog!?) I’ve also excelled with my job, gotten even closer to friends that would walk the world for me, joined a new church, gotten involved with a couple organizations, started reading again, started a girls ministry, and formed a confidence in myself I never knew I could have. It really is crazy for me to think about. And God was orchestrating all of these things along the way.
2017 has showed me that no matter what comes my way in this life, adversity produces hope, wisdom, joy, and a different perspective of life here on earth. 2017 is a year I will forever be grateful for. Even though I feel like my journey has just begun, I feel confident walking into 2018. No matter what comes my way, I’m ready to face the challenges, learn the lessons that come with them, and continue to grow. Roman’s 5:3-5 says:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
No matter what you’ve faced this year, use it as ammunition as we enter a new year. Everyone faces trials and tribulations in this life, and you will go through harder years than others. It’s the strength you gain from those years that will propel you into the following ones ready and confident. And the way I see it is, no pain, no gain!