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As I’ve been reflecting on 2016 and what God has done this year, I really do have so very much to be thankful for. Like most years in my nearly 45 years on this earth, it’s been a year of tremendous challenges, victories, highs, lows, and growth for me.

It’s been a year of learning to trust, remembering to persevere, digging deep, prioritizing, holding close, and letting go. I failed. I succeeded. I won. I lost. I tried to remember what matters most. I let go of the things that didn’t matter.

After the doors closed on two of the biggest dreams of my heart in 2015, I came into this year with such shaky faith. Hesitant. Tiptoeing around every corner. Cautious to live a life inside of a comfort level that didn’t push me beyond what I felt like I could handle. Cautious to stay in the safe space that I had created. Cautious in what I could (and couldn’t!) trust my Lord for.

I didn’t want to to walk away from something that mattered so much again.

I quit setting myself goals and buried the dreams that were still in my heart.

And I put my passions and my desire to live in that place of reckless abandon that had become so familiar over the last ten years on the back burner.

Because there’s great comfort living in a safe place–a place where risks are never taken, fear of failure overrides stepping out of the comfortable boat, opinions of others matter more than His words of Truth, goals are never reached and dreams placed in hearts by a loving Father wither away and eventually die.

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly learning something precious again. Something I’d forgotten along the way. I’m learning that after loss, hard times, shattered dreams, failures, missteps and letting go….it’s okay to start dreaming again. In fact, God desires so much that we dream big dreams–that we trust Him for the big things. It’s been a journey of getting myself back to that place in God.  That place when sometimes it’s just the quietest whisper from my heart that says, “Okay, Lord, have Your way. No matter the outcome.”

I’m in that place of surrender where I’m willing to dream big dreams…and leave the end of the story in His hands.

Even when He says no.

Nothing much gets accomplished by looking back–by wondering about what could have been, what should have been.  We have to keep moving forward…trusting the God who holds the future…and allowed the past.

As 2017 fast approaches, God has been so gentle to remind me once again of His Greatness, His ability to take our meager offering and make it into something glorious.  I can’t listen to Natalie Grant’s song, The King of the World, without getting tearful. When did I make Him so small?  When did I put the Almighty Father in such a small box? When did I lose sight of the magnitude of the ONE who placed in me every dream, every desire and every plan that I make?  I don’t know when I put limitations on the ONE who knows no bounds.

One of my precious children reminded me that very soon I will be “half way to ninety.” Gosh, if the Father allows it, I would love to see my ninetieth birthday.  But I don’t want to get there limping across the finish line.  I don’t want to bring my broken dreams, my fear that held me back from experiencing all that He has for me, and every plan and goal that I gave up because of fear before the Lord.  No, I want to run this race that He has set before me with courage and determination.

And if doors shut, I long to walk in grace and the assurance that HE who closes doors, is faithful to open another.

Always faithful to open another.

As I look to 2017, it’s with a renewed sense of the wonder of my God.

It’s with a faith so small and a willingness so big to use every dream and desire that HE has placed in my heart for His glory.

Yes, I’ll fail.  I’ll mess up.  I’ll get it all wrong.  I’ll fall down. But I only have to look back to see how His hand has guided me to know that I know that He is and forevermore will be…

Steadfast on the mountaintop.

Faithful in the valley.

The giver of big dreams.

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”  ~~  David Platt