I don’t know what to make so far of the new year. It’s been interesting and a little strange. I don’t mean strange in a bad way, but I didn’t think I would be sane or even around right now. Year after year I make resolutions and would forget about them by February. This year though, I’m still on top of them and they still drive me everyday. 2012, I thought would’ve been my greatest year…I believed that with all my heart but outwardly it seemed like my worst year. I started 2012 with a job, car, girlfriend, a place to stay and great friends. I ended it with none of those things. Yet still I entered 2013 with such an optimism that if you saw or spoke to me, you couldn’t guess what I experienced in 2012. My 2012 was so bad, but the fact I made it out alive was a vast improvement from where I had been. I was so low, that what may seem low to some people, would have been an improvement in my situation. Yeah it was hard and at times and I felt like I was gonna lose my mind, but God’s grace. I thought I would turn around and walk away, but God’s grace. There was a time I had been so discouraged and disappointed that I told God, I can’t take another let down. I told Him that what He was requiring of me was way too much and that I couldn’t give it. I could imagine Him looking at me with a big smile saying “luckily I know what’s in you.” Then came another let down, I cried to my friends, cried to my parents..tried to get people to pray for me. It seemed that I was in a place where it was only God and me. No one could save me, they tried to encourage me and they would even send me cards, but nothing worked. I couldn’t understand why I was going through what I was going through. I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t figure it out, I had no answers. What do you do when God strips you of everything? When everything that defined you has been taken away and all you have left is who you are..your character. You look so broken that when people perceive you, if they are not careful, they will point at you and tell you that God has forsaken you. Through the whole process however, there was a sense of security, a spark of hope that God was busy working on my behalf. You see He’s never gonna leave us, we have His word on that, but in order to propel us and to get us ready to receive what He has in store for us, we have to leave some things in 2012. Some things we have relied on, believed in and hoped for had to be dropped or taken away because God has something better in store for us. The apostle Paul said, I count myself not to have attained it, but this one thing I do..forgetting those things which are ahead and pressing towards the things before me. The pressing requires such focus and discipline that it can take all you have and because you’re so focused on what’s ahead of you, you don’t have time or energy to look back on what God has taken from you. The situation I found myself in required me to keep on pressing. I could’ve given up, but I didn’t…like Job’s wife, I could’ve cursed God and die, but I didn’t. All I kept on saying was how can I receive good from The Lord and can’t take the bad? In my situation I kept encouraging people around me, telling them to hold on, but there was no one to encourage me. There was no one to see my tears and heartbreak…there was no one to tell me it was gonna be ok. So I kept going anyway…I couldn’t walk so I crawled, when I couldn’t talk, I hummed. When I didn’t want to get up in the mornings, He understood. When tears stained by bed…He understood. When I held on to my hope by a string..He understood. I’ve gone through it, I didn’t think I would make it. But every time it got harder, His grace was multiplied and I knew every second that He was still there. I know it’s hard…even David said in psalms 6:6..I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. This was me, I couldn’t see a way out. In 2013 God told me, that He will begin to restore everything back to me, everything the devil has stolen, everything the cankerworm has eaten and everything the caterpillar has destroyed. When trouble comes your way, take from it what you need, leave what you don’t need. God is setting you up for a restoration project. All that He has taken from you is what you have depended on and taken pride in accomplishing. He’s saying today that what’s He’s gonna give you, is what He has intended and had stored up for you even before the world was framed. One set of footprints in the sand guys..but its not yours, its God’s and He’s carrying you through. What an awesome God we serve!!