Sunday, 30 December 2018

A Year of Light: Reflections from 2018



Exactly one year ago I wrote a blog post sharing my thoughts on my future and my hopes for 2018. I didn't make any resolutions; I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago. Like most people, I found I never really kept them. However, I did end that blog post with a promise of sorts:

"As I enter this new year, I will still ask questions, have dreams, and yes, even make plans, but hold onto them loosely. In 2018, I will choose to cling tightly to the only permanent thing in a world full of temporary - the hope I profess in Christ (Hebrews 10:23). In 2018, I will cling to God's promises and His truth, with the assurance that He is working in all things for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28)."

 A few days into the new year, God gave me a single word: light. I saw it everywhere - in Scripture, in books, and in everyday life. One night as I was driving home from a church service, I saw the biggest, brightest full moon. As I looked straight ahead, I noticed how brightly it shone in the darkness, as if guiding me home. In that moment I knew God was showing me that 2018 would be a year of light.

The thing about light is that it shines brightest in the darkness, and darkness would certainly follow. A few weeks into 2018, I was faced with a decision that launched me into one of the most difficult seasons of my life. Many nights it felt as if I was grappling around in the darkness, but the Light was always there.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?" 
- Psalm 27:1a

 Although it seems silly, I used to think I had to be afraid of someone to relate to that verse. But I've realized that oftentimes it's not someone that we're afraid of - it's something. As you can probably guess from last year's post, my something was uncertainty, not knowing what the future holds for me. But in 2018, I learned that God is my Light, and the darkness is not dark to Him (Psalm 139:12). I learned that this means I will follow Him, even into the darkness and uncertainty, because He will lead me where He wants me to be. 

In the midst of the darkness, He led me on several new adventures, including the pursuit of a master's degree in Ministry/Women's Leadership and attending my first Teachers Pay Teachers Conference. Both of those new adventures were a step outside my comfort zone, but through them I also learned that God created me to be a light that reflects Him. 

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
- Matthew 5:14-16

 As a teacher, this means I am a light for Christ in my school and in my classroom. I am blessed to teach at a Christian school where I can worship and talk about the Lord with my students. However, I have learned that my words and actions - the way I interact with students and coworkers - are the biggest reflection of Christ that I have to offer. I have failed to be a light on many occasions, but God is teaching me day by day to abide in Him so that His love and light shine out of me (John 15:4-5).

In the summer, as I was getting ready for the 2018-2019 school year, I decided to carry the theme of light into my classroom. I used light bulb clip art on my door and student work board, and added the quote "Let your light shine!" to my wall. I also created light themed Bible verse posters and hung them on the outside wall of my classroom, so I would read those precious truths every time I come and go each day. Everywhere I turn, I'm reminded that God is my Light and I am created to reflect Him.



Over the last couple of days, I've seen a lot of posts on social media saying things like "2018 was good to me" or "2018 just wasn't my year." I really don't know if 2018 was good to me or if it was my year. But God was good, and He never stopped being my God. He is good, even when the circumstances of my life are not, and His love is unending (Psalm 107:1). Romans 8:28 reminds me that He works in all things, good and bad, for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His eternal purpose. And because of that amazing promise, I think of 2018 and rejoice.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18



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