2 days until this year is finished. Then we begin a new year. 2018! As this year winds down I enjoy taking time to reflect on what took place during the year. I am always thankful I kept a journal to help me remember, it is easy to forget. It amazes me looking back and seeing God's faithful presence and answers to prayer. I was reminded of some very special events, like my niece who got married, my granddaughter turning 1, my 7th trip to Ethiopia and my parents celebrating 60 years of marriage. I was also reminded of the day we learned my other niece's leukemia had returned, and the tragedies of random shootings in airports, concerts, and churches. Joy and Sadness side by side. Hope and Hurt right next to each other. Ups and downs. I am grateful our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).
One of my favorite things is beginning a new journal, fresh, blank pages. Moving forward into a New Year with a blank slate. Several years ago I was encouraged to pick a theme or a phrase for the year. Kind of like a personal slogan. It gives you something to think about throughout the year. It is different than setting a goal, it is more like being intentional with what you focus on. I have not picked mine yet for 2018, but in years past it has been: Focus and Finish --- Open Eyes, Open Heart, Open Hands --- just to name a couple. I know some people who pick a theme verse from the Bible to memorize and focus on for the year. I gave a verse to each of our daughters this year in their Christmas stocking that I am going to pray for them throughout the year.
How will you wrap up 2017? It is important to practice remembering, like it says in Psalm 77:11-12 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds."
Will you take time quietly to reflect and consider the past year and set a goal or two for the coming year? Will you gather with friends and share the answers to questions like: What were your top 3 experiences of the year? What was the biggest challenge you faced in 2017? Or what book did you read that you would recommend? What are you looking forward to in 2018? I encourage you to pick a theme for the year, or a verse from scripture. Be intentional. If you pick a theme or a verse let me know in the comments below what it is.