Looking Back, Looking Forward



The end of the year is always a time for reflection – looking back over the year that is ending, and dreaming and planning for the year to come.

2018 Highlight

As I look back over 2018, there have been many joys and many challenges, but one thing stands out as a highlight – the fulfilment of a long-held dream.  (And actually it’s not something I’ve shared much about here.)

Over six years ago I began working on material for Christian groups in schools. (In Scotland, optional groups to allow pupils to explore faith are possible in many schools either at lunch time or after school.)

I was leading a group at the time and I saw a need for a programme to help children explore the whole story of the Bible and how it fits together so I came up with one and ran it with my group.  I had always hoped that it could develop into something that could be shared with others but there was no opportunity at the time.

The material, and the dream, lay dormant but not forgotten, until this year I spoke of it to someone once again and, to my surprise, the idea was met with excitement, support and the encouragement to go for it.

In August the first term of a two-year programme was released and, as I write, term two has been released and term three is well underway.  Around 100 groups are using the material and I have been blown away by the positive feedback and the encouragement of seeing how it is being valued!

I’m amazed how, after such a long wait, everything moved so quickly in the end, and I can also see how, after blogging and writing for three years, I am much, much better equipped for the task than I would have been if I had been able to pursue it straight away.

I share this to encourage you: If God has given you a dream, don’t give up on it!  His timing is not the same as ours, but it is perfect.

On the blog

It’s always fascinating to look back at the end of the year and see which posts have been the most popular.

Looking back at 2018 a couple of themes emerge.

Many of my most popular posts have been those dealing with the struggle of feeling inadequate in some way:

When You’re Lacking Motivation…

When You Don’t Have Enough…

When You’re Lost For Words…

When You Can’t Do It…

Then there was one dealing with a question many of us have at times even though we may not dare to articulate it or even acknowledge it:

God, Don’t You Care?

The other most popular posts have been the book posts.  You can check out my top 10 picks of 2018 here.

Top 10 Books 2018

Word for the year

For the last three years, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I have prayed about a word to focus on throughout the year.  It doesn’t work for everyone, but I have found it to be surprisingly effective.

2016 was Surrender, which led me into all kinds of places I’d never have expected including a new church plant.

2017 was Voice – I learned to find my voice more, in writing and in life, as well as learning more about listening well to others and the importance of different voices.

2018 was Focus – I haven’t written so much about my word this year, but again it has been helpful.  A lot of my focus has been on developing healthy habits of eating and exercise and it has definitely been worthwhile.  I have also been reflecting on the difference it makes when we choose our focus rather than just being swept along by our situation, and I have discovered more of a focus for my writing.

Looking ahead to 2019, the word that has come to me is Truth.

As usual, I’m not sure how it will play out, but some initial thoughts are:

  • Holding to the truth of God’s Word and making it a priority
  • Being willing to speak truth even when it’s hard (I wrote recently about the difficulty of finding the balance between grace and truth and that most of us have a tendency to drift one way or the other.  I definitely tend to drift towards grace, so I think looking at how to get the balance will be part of the coming year’s focus.)
  • Living authentically – being honest with God, myself and others about the truth of who I am, not feeling that I need to present a certain image or that there are parts I need to hide

I’m sure I will write more about it here as we go through 2019.

What about you?  I’d love if you’d comment and share a highlight from 2018 or a hope for 2019.

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all many blessings for the year ahead!

.Inspire Me Monday

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40 thoughts on “Looking Back, Looking Forward

  1. What a wonderful opportunity the Lord has opened for you. May He bless your writing in the lives of each student who participates! I knew we had the same word – Focus. It will be interesting to read how “Truth” plays out over the new year in your life. This year I felt the Lord bringing the word “Fruit” for me. My you and yours have a happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the highlights of 2018 was welcoming our 5th grandchild into this world. There is nothing like the miracle of a birth to make your heart grow & glow. I love your word of the year. (Found you through Anita’s Inspire Me Monday)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading you Life in the Spacious Place blog. I found you a few years ago by way of the Write 31 project and have been reading you ever since. I find your thoughts so inspiring and really connected to my life experiences. I am anxious to follow you on your 2019 journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Lesley! I’m so happy that your programme is going to be used by others, too. I’m sure it’s a great one. I love your 2019 word and your initial thoughts on it. I have the same desires. I’m looking forward to hearing how it plays out for you. Have a Blessed 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy New Year, Lesley. I’m so happy for the way God showed up with the perfect timing. He’s never a minute late, is he?
    I also love to choose a word for the year and have learned over the years that God has a way of using my word to teach me great insights. My 2018 word was rest and oh, what a year it was. If nothing else, it taught me to REST on God’s promises.
    Blessing to you!
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such an encouraging post! Waiting on the Lord can be hard but you are right, His timing is always perfect! He put the dreams in our hearts and He waits bring about His purpose for them in His perfect way and time! Thank you for sharing this. May the Lord continue to bless your patience and obedience in 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so excited that your material has been published and used by so many! What a great gift you have given to the world, Lesley! May God continue to bless your efforts in this new year as well. I love your word Truth. Very much needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Lesley … I’m rejoicing with you as you share the news of your curriculum being so well used in the schools.

    What a victory … to have so many groups digging in and benefiting from what you’ve put on the table.

    I am so so happy for you!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations on your new (old?) venture. That sounds exciting! This is the first year that I chose a word (balance) to focus on. Actually, the word chose me. I’m excited to see what thinking about this concept brings. It was so nice to meet you this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so excited to hear how God has opened up doors for His word to be sewn into the hearts of students through your obedience and hard work. Well done for stepping out in faith, and speaking up what God put in your heart. What an inspiring story!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy New Year, Lesley! It is a curious surprise many times to look back and see how things are different from what we expected, how we progressed and how God worked. I think the year I had the word Surrender, it was my toughest and most challenging year. This year, my word is Restore as I trust in God for his promises.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Crystal! It is amazing to see how God can use a single word. Surrender was my word in 2016 (the first year I had a word) and it is definitely a tough one, but it was very rewarding too. I like the word Restore – it will be good to see how God uses it.


  12. I’m just catching up on some of my blog reading, so I just saw this. I’m so thrilled for your curriculum! Is it something that may be available to a larger audience at some point? There are a lot of people American homeschoolers that may be interested 😉
    My word for this year is actually, focus. It was wonderful to read through your insights on it from last year. I think they’ll be similar to mine.
    Thank you for such an inspiring blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda, thanks for your encouragement! The curriculum is already available online (terms 1 and 2 with more to be added over the next year or so). You can take a look at http://suscotland.org.uk/onebigstory and feel free to share with others if you think they’d be interested.
      I’ll be interested to read about your year of “focus”. I’m sure it will be a helpful word.


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