I’m not a mathematician, but I can tell you, a number holds so much value.
When I think about the year 2014, I consider it to be so much more than a number. Looking back at the weeks and months in which I faced significant challenges, I can hear the echoes of my disappointment, anger, doubt, and fear. Breaking my foot over the summer was one of those times.
Then I turn my head and I see the love, faith, and hope poured out to me by the community I was surrounded with, by the times I put my trust in faith to find the journey set apart for me. Breaking my foot the second time is one of these times (in case you missed it, check out my post here).
I spent Christmas in Florida with my family, visiting my 91-year-old grandpa, who moved into a house on the Atlantic side this fall. We visited the beach on the 27th, and as my brother was body surfing in the waves, he called out to me while I was standing on the shore. I ran down to meet him. As my feet hit the water, I felt a wave of humility come over me. I was struck with wonder and radiant joy. At that moment, I remembered. By all worldly standards, my foot should still be broken. I should not be walking. I should be in my boot, on crutches, with a Ziploc securely zipped around it so that sand wouldn’t enter my shoe.
But I wasn’t.
I ran, and half expected to start running on the water rather than in it. One thought entered my mind: “Jesus, You’re beautiful. This is beautiful.” I heard a voice come back to me that whispered, “I know, I made it.” And I nodded, knowing that no matter how much depth I think I can grasp in my faith, even the ocean knows of a greater depth than I do.
I came across a quote at some point throughout this year, and it hit my heart in such a way that changed it from the inside out. The quote is “Grace is given, not earned.” If I could summarize my year in one word, it would be grace. It overflowed, over and over, and it found me even when I couldn’t find it. It was there when I stayed stuck, when I was broken, and when I couldn’t find peace, it was given to me. It was there when I rejoiced and laughed, feeling love being poured out to me. It was there when my faith was, and it was there when my faith wasn’t. And every time, it was there when I didn’t deserve it.
This year, I learned to forgive, because it’s easier to let go than it is to hold on. And when it’s over, when the storm is really over, you know, and you can leave it in grace and move forward, and let the blessings that come with it boomerang back into your heart. When you’re in the middle of it, when you can’t escape it, it’s hard. But when Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive his brother seven times when he sins against him, Jesus replied, “not seven, but seventy times seven” (that’s 490 times). That’s forgiving someone once a day, every day, sometimes more than once a day. Needless to say, that’s a lot. And Jesus probably wasn’t being literal there, either… he probably meant something more along the lines “seventy times seven times seventy times fourteen million.” God has probably forgiven me more times than that in my lifetime. It’s a lot more than I forgive. And that’s only for one person. Again, there’s so much more there than just a number.
As I leave 2014 and welcome in the new year, I wait with hope and expectation, knowing that crazy awesome plans await. Not on my own terms, but on God terms, which is even more exciting. I am filled with endurance when I think about all of the cool things that are about to happen, things I am currently unaware of. Because at the end of 2013, I would never have thought I’d be standing where I am today. And next December 31st, I’m looking forward to be able to say the same thing.
I hold onto a couple of Bible verses as I think about the new year, the first one from Habakkuk 1:5: “…For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.”
Also, this one from Isaiah 43:19: “See! I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do not you perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
No matter what this year held, this new year holds new promises not contingent on the missteps of the past. There is something new arising, and I am certain it will be more beautiful than anything we have ever seen before.
What’s one word to describe your 2014? Tweet it at me @hopesophie17. Questions or comments about anything at all can be directed toward firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Hey prospective students and families, please let me know if I can help out in any way or answer any questions – I know this time in your life can be crazy and overwhelming, and I’ve love to answer any questions or direct you to someone who can answer them for you! Just shoot me an email (or, if you’re on Hope on Facebook, shoot me a message there, either way is totally fine with me!)