2016: Steadfast

As 2016 comes to a close, tomorrow will be 2017.  And, the day after that will be tomorrow again. This year the holidays have felt a little different, I’m not sure exactly what or why.  I had great holidays, there wasn’t anything I would change, but I didn’t feel extreme excitement or anticipation over Thanksgiving or Christmas, I don’t have great emotions over this year ending and another one starting.  
I felt like a new year started at turning 40, ushering in the next decade of my life. But, again, each day has brought a tomorrow and for me this year that has aligned right to my word I have held dear for the entirety of 2016…. 
STEADFAST 
As with my words of years past, STEADFAST has come up over and over again throughout this year. Every time I knew it was God impressing it more and more on my heart. The verse that first rang out the clearest about STEADFAST was Lamentations 3:21-23….
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The STEADFAST love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I have long known and held dear the mercies of the Lord are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness, because I often need it. But, this year, the preceding words to that portion of the verse really settled with me. 
This I call to mind.  
Because this I have to remember, over and over.  
AND, therefore I have hope 
Because remembering these words and calling them to mind gives me hope 
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. 
NEVER. Despite me, that love NEVER ceases. 
His mercies never come to an end
Because of His steadfast love, his mercy is endless.
Which gives me hope. 
Which I must remind myself of regularly. 
This year has been one that I have had to cling to words of truth over and over. When my character was attacked more than any other year that I can remember.  Some of the harshest and most unkind words ever spoken to and about me. 
And, verses like these are ones I called to mind.  
To let the truth speak louder than lies. 
Because STEADFAST love never ceases. 
STEADFAST is used over 200 times in scripture, and words that repeat like that always are ones I am drawn to. By biblical definition steadfast is “firm” and “secure”. And per Webster’s steadfast is defined as “firmly fixed in place” (immovable) and “firm in belief” (loyal). 
Throughout this year, I saw again and again that God is STEADFAST.  In some answers to things I have long prayed that were definitely highlights of this year and equally in the moments that were hardest and scary for me.   
I know also, despite all of my flaws and human error, that STEADFAST love remains for me. Firmly established and not fleeting based on my sin. 
There are 2 very specific moments of this year that I can recall that will long define 2016 for me…. 
When I moved in January I was so excited about living on the bayou trails and being able to ride my bike and walk my dog along those trails. Just a few days after I spent the first night in my new apartment my little Barney had to be put down, and my heart was crushed. My living room looks out to the trail and for several weeks it seemed life went on outside that window that I had so looked forward to, but every person that passed my window with a dog stung my heart to the point I kept my blinds closed many days. I did make my way out to the trail a few times and there I saw golden doodle after golden doodle, even chatting one day with a stranger about her doodle and walking away telling God that was what I wanted. They are so expensive, and though that was my wish, I was ok to settle for a different type of dog when the timing was right. And, every day as I walk Auggie on that trail I am reminded of the STEADFAST love of the Lord that is tangible in my little golden doodle gift that has healed my heart in so many ways. Often along the trail I notice leaves that have fallen, usually because Auggie is chasing after a leaf blowing in the wind, and over and over again they are heart shaped leaves.  Though, because they are off the tree, they are usually brown leaves.  One particular day this year I was on a walk and there on the trail was a giant green heart shaped leaf.  I very rarely have my phone, so could not snap a picture, but that leaf is forever ingrained in my mind as a reminder of the faithfulness of God and STEADFAST love for me that is alive and well, proving over and over to me He is good. 
One fall day this year we had a guest preacher at church, RT Kendall, who spoke one of the most freeing messages of total forgiveness. In a year of some great hurts, this message was timely for me and healed my heart in an entirely different way that I needed. And though a different healing, it was the same STEADFAST love that proved faithful and has continued to prove faithful every day. I have sat through a lot of sermons, teachers, preachers and taught for years myself, many of which have impacted my life significantly. But, none quite like this one. If your heart is in need of healing, {click here} for this sermon. 
  
Those 2 moments are firm and secure on my heart, as reminders. 
Because tomorrow I will need a reminder. 
STEADFAST.
Throughout this year, I have held to several verses in addition to Lamentations. All of which I have called to mind over and over again and been reminded of the STEADFAST love of the Lord. 
Here are a few… 
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”
Psalm 63:3
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” 
Psalm 100:5 
“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”
Psalm 107:8 
Psalm 136 – entirety of chapter
Beyond that, I have tried to be STEADFAST in areas of my own life as well and If I want my life to reflect the STEADFAST love of Jesus to others, I have to be STEADFAST and immovable in my commitment to pursue Him. Because I am human, I need to keep working on this, because I often fail. Though, when I do I call to mind that mercies are new in the morning, and because of that greatest love, I have hope and keep going for tomorrow. 
No matter what tomorrow brings, my greatest wish for you, and me, in the New Year is to be reminded of the STEADFAST love of the Lord, which is more firm and secure than anything this world has to offer.

Satisfy us in the morning with your STEADFAST love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 
Psalm 90:14

For previous years…. 

Happy New Year! 

1 Comment

  1. annalee on January 2, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Such a beautiful word of promise.
    I loved your thoughts on steadfastness from this year.

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