There are seasons in which it is natural to slow down, and take some time to evaluate and prepare for what’s next, the new year being one of those times. For me, 2017 was a challenging year that came with a lot of changes, each one bringing different levels of grieving and growth. I was pushed to trust God in new ways and find stability in Him, and Him alone, as family dynamics and life situations were constantly changing.
As life slowed down during the holiday season I was able to take some time to seek God and pray, this part of a journal entry on December 26, 2017 captures my prayer well,
“I pray your blessing over 2018. Give me your vision for this next year, I want to be and do what you are calling me to. Please pour out your grace and mercy. Help me to walk in obedience to you this year. Fill me up, and help me to live a life filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. Thank you God for your goodness and grace! Open up my heart to hear and see from you. Help me to dream big and to fall more in love in you. Open up my eyes and help me to grow in the knowledge of you. Help me to experience the Holy Spirit in ways I never have before. Break down barriers and walls and help me to live for you in all that I do. Help me to be more generous with my time, money, and my love. Help me to honor others well. And to be ok with the process and not just the results!”
As I spent time seeking him, surrendering myself afresh, he spoke through various people with a prophetic voice confirming dreams he had spoken to my heart years ago. While I continue to await fulfillment he spoke this verse to my heart:
“…I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 (ESV)
I feel like 2018 is a year of breakthrough in my life and I am excited for what this next year holds. The breakthrough is ultimately dependent upon God, but my responsibility is to seek him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Interestingly enough this year, according to the Jewish calendar, is a part of the Year of Jubilee. For those of you not familiar with the Year of Jubilee, it is a practice established by God in the Old Testament which was celebrated every 50th year. During the interim period of 49 years the Israelites often faced difficult times and accrued debts. At times these debts became so great that they demanded that they sell off some of their God given land or even demanded that they sell themselves and/or their families into servitude in order to survive. But during the 50th year, this jubilee year was to signal release from bondage and a return to their lands and possessions. Despite what they had lost during this time, it was to be restored freely. By God’s grace there was release from debts, restoration of people to their lands, and freedom rom servitude. Jubilee was to be a foreshadowing of what life would look like once the Messiah (Jesus) arrived.
Ultimately, the story of God is the story of God freeing people- a story of release, or jubilee. It is a story of grace as people who have made mistakes are forgiven and set free, not because of what they they have done, but because of what Jesus has done. Jesus life, death, and resurrection calls us to participate in a lifestyle of Jubilee, not just every 50 years, but everyday.
Despite the fact that this is a lifestyle we as Christians are called to walk in daily, there is something significant about this being a Year of Jubilee for me. It signifies a year of grace, freedom, and restoration- a celebration of joy filled with excitement, liberation, and hope. As I anticipate the breakthrough that is happening/going to happen and they ways God is at work in my life I am filled with hope once again. I am filled with love towards God and thankfulness for His love and grace towards me, even when I don’t deserve it.
As we start 2018 together my hope and prayer is that you too will experience the joy found in Christ as we are invited to daily experience this lifestyle of jubilee thanks to Jesus, his grace, and his sacrifice on the cross which brings freedom and hope to each one of our hearts.