December 31, 2019. This year has been one of the best of my personal life, and certainly, like any year had plenty of ups and downs through the months.  I began this year with a word:  

Free.  

I saved a note on my phone from church on January 6, 2019 and a song we sang:  

I will live, I will not die. 
The resurrection power of Christ alive in me
And, I am FREE in Jesus name.
(From Darlene Zschech In Jesus’ Name)

The thing I knew most in this year is this:  I am FREE in Jesus’ name.  

I am who I was created to be. 
I am FREE to be who I am, not anyone else. 
I am FREE of others opinions of me.  
I am FREE of responsibilities that are not mine. 
I am FREE of shame or guilt because of Jesus and who I am in Him. 
I am FREE of the world’s expectations. 
I am FREE to be me, who God has called me to be.  

Thinking back on this year… 

When I knew FREE was my word for 2019, I didn’t know exactly what this would mean through the year.  In years past I’ve been a little hesitant with my word because it felt like it could really push me. For example, 2017: GROW.  Ironically as the year switched from 2018 to 2019, I was for the first time in my life starting a new calendar year with someone by my side who I was committed to and falling in love with.  And, I felt FREE in that relationship. To be fully myself and to also give my heart to someone that I fully trusted with my heart. 

Every year I feel like I knew myself better and better, and with that comes FREEdom in confidence of who I am without the need to be who I think I should be or what anyone else thinks I should be. I’ve felt FREE to hold fast to my beliefs and stand my ground when needed. Even if it felt I was going upstream alone at times. 

I have felt FREE to let go of things that aren’t mine. Sometimes I felt responsible for making sure all things were well; in relationships, in groups, in ___________ (you know how this can feel?).  But, the outcomes aren’t my responsibility. I’m responsible for me.  So, I’ve come to a place of freedom in letting things go that aren’t mine to resolve. 

I spent 2019 at a job I began in August 2018, applied for and received a promotion mid-year and has felt tumultuous at times as we are working to build a future direction. But, through the whole year, I felt FREE in my role. To use my knowledge and expertise, to sit back and learn, to ask questions, to dream and to advocate for students. 

Much of 2019 was a rollercoaster of prayers for people very dear to me.  A bestie being given a 1% chance of living in January to a miraculous recovery and beating ALL the odds with lots of life still ahead in November.   A loss of a friend, and the ministry of losing besties. A cancer diagnosis, treatment, healing and remission for a family member.  Cancer remission, return and treatment resuming for a family member. A sweet new baby born just before the end of the year to family members.  FREEdom in each of these situations to pour out my heart to God, my fears, my hurt and my joy. Confidence to know he hears my prayers. 

I read Annie F Downs 100 Days to Brave in 2019. There was one day that struck me and my word for the year. The line of the book I wrote down was “hands FREE to grab on to the next thing”. If we are clinging so tightly to something of the past, we can’t be FREE for the next thing that’s coming our way. Letting go can be scary, but doing so with expectation for what is next is FREEing.  This was a good reminder to keep my hands FREE this year.

I was reminded of various FREEdoms through travels this year… 

In April I was reminded of our FREEdoms in the US with a visit to DC

In July, a trip to the beach; a reminder the beauty and FREEdom in the new mercies of a day with the rising and setting of the sun. 

In November, a trip to NYC, a reminder of the FREEdom that was taken away and the resilience of people, a City and Nation. 

For all of these FREEdoms I am grateful. 

In June I had a gift of a spa day, and I started and nearly finished Remember God (read about it here) and this felt like a mid-year reminder of my FREEdom in Christ and His attention to the details in my life.  

As 2019 comes to an end, I’ve said YES to forever with the man I love.  I have so many years of FREEdom as a single girl that have taught me so much about myself and maybe that’s the biggest realization of this year. I didn’t know 2019 would end with the second greatest YES of my life (the first was to Jesus as an 8 year old), but I know as 2019 ends who I am and am FREE to be her as I prepare to enter this next season of life together in marriage. God has been so good to us in this season of dating, progressing towards marriage, commitment in engagement and planning for our married life.

So, I’m anything but FREE as the calendar turns to 2020 and I am totally FREE as this year comes to a close. I am so thankful for the one who will stand by my side for the rest of our lives; he loves me, sharpens me, stretches me, prays for me, cares for me, and seeks Jesus for me and us.

Here’s to 2020, I don’t know what this next year will look like for you. Most of all I hope you know the FREEdom in Christ; the love he gives us, the new mercies in the rising and setting of the sun on each new day, His faithfulness through the ups and downs, the consistency in the mundane and the fulfilling of desires of our heart. For He has been good to me. 

Happy New Year! 

2018: Begin
2017: Grow
2016: Steadfast
2015: Believe
2014: Flourish

With my hands FREE into 2020, 
Angie 

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