I always enjoy taking some time to reflect at the end of the year: looking back over the events and lessons of the year that is ending, having some space to take stock, give thanks, and consider the way forward as we step into a new year.
As I look back at 2017 there is much to be grateful for. At the start of the year I began keeping a gratitude journal for the first time, and it has been an incredibly helpful practice. Each night I have taken a moment to note down two or three things I am thankful for from that day. I have found it a very easy habit to establish and it is so encouraging to look back over the year’s notes and see hundreds of reasons to be grateful, many of which I would probably have forgotten if I hadn’t been recording them.
I’m grateful for deepening friendships, especially with people in my church, for new experiences (Clubbercise, Escape Room, involvement in LifeCare ministry, playing guitar in public, and attending a writing conference to name a few), and for growth and moving forward in several areas.
Of course, the year has not been without its challenges, but even then there is reason to be grateful for supportive family and friends, and for God’s equipping and enabling in the midst of the tough times.
Top posts on the blog
By far my most-viewed post this year was this one back in January, about the Japanese art Kintsugi and how God works beauty in our brokenness.
It seemed that this topic resonated with many, and as I reflected on this I realised there was much more to say so, despite October being one of my busiest months this year, I took part in Write 31 Days and posted every day in October for a series exploring Kintsugi some more.
Despite the busyness of the month, this was an absolute pleasure. I was pleased to welcome four blogging friends: Debby, Michelle, Linda, and Barbara to contribute guest posts, and I’m grateful for the conversations and new connections that came out of the series. Several of October’s posts were also among my most-read posts, and I’m sure that I am still not finished with the subject of Kintsugi.
Other popular posts included two book review posts, both on themes of faith and sexuality:
My series back in the Spring on Questions Jesus Asked was also popular, especially these two posts:
The final most-viewed post was from the very start of the year, explaining why I had chosen the word “voice” as my word for 2017, which links on nicely…
My Word For The Year
“Voice” is probably quite unusual as a word for the year, but it has been a good one!
Looking back at my post from the start of the year, there were four things I wanted to work on:
- listening to God’s voice- focusing on it in the midst of all the other voices, and learning to hear him more clearly
- listening to others
- finding my voice
- being a voice of truth and hope
I think I’ve made progress in all of these areas. The first one, sadly, is probably the weakest, but I’m hoping that my word for 2018 will help me work on that. (I’ll share what it is on Monday 🙂 )
I have certainly learned more about the importance of listening to others through the LifeCare ministry I’ve been involved in, and through other situations where I’ve listened to people who are in pain and angry with God. This year has highlighted the importance of listening to people with different views with the intention of truly understanding their perspective.
In terms of finding my voice, at times the challenge has been to speak up in situations where I am tempted to remain silent; at other times it has meant persisting and persevering to make myself heard. It has not always been easy, but I have definitely grown in this.
I’ve also developed my writing voice in various ways. As well as connecting with other writers both online and in person and reading some books on writing, there have been opportunities for several guest posts this year, including one at the Five Minute Friday site where I got to share a bit about my writing journey so far.
I already mentioned that I am going to be contributing to Gracefully Truthful in 2018 and I am also going to be joining the team at God-Sized Dreams, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this journey continues.
Thank you for joining me here in 2017, and for all your encouragement.
Happy New Year, and blessings for 2018!