Seldom do I make big public sweeping goal announcements for things such as weight loss, a dream job, a project, a specific hope, etc. I’ve learned from experience that I tend to fall off of wagons like that. Instead, I prefer to make my announcements after they’ve come to fruition, an act of tending, trusting, and yielding such things before the Lord’s ears before they’re spread to others’ ears. I will concede that this year, I did make a couple pretty big announcements: Announcing my goal deadline for getting my book published would be before I turn 36 (even up till the day before) and then also announcing that after 14 years of churning, I finally have gotten the first draft of my book out of my head and heart and onto pixels during the month of November. These actions actually helped offer me accountability and have aided in accomplishing more of my goals.
But what I wanted to tend to in my own heart this year before I threw its magnitude to the world was this: my word for the year. During scripture readings at the beginning of the year and also prayer, it seemed that the word God was impressing on my heart for me to take note of for 2017 was this: fulfilling.
I’ve seen that word over and over throughout the year.
God fulfilled His promises to be faithful to me… again… and again… and again.
God let my dreams of being a mom come into fulfillment. He didn’t have to, but He did. And I’ve tried so very hard to savor and hold onto the joys of mothering my miracle son and the treasures of being the mother to our other child, who got to Jesus’ arms before my own.
God has given me friendships and mentorships that have been so fulfilling in giving and receiving encouragement, prayer, laughter, experiences, and sharpening.
When my faith and hope were little in finding another place to call “home” this year after receiving a letter that spurned a distraught search for where to move ourselves and our stuff, God fulfilled His provision for this great, time sensitive need for our family.
As one chapter closed for our group to do life with, I cried heavy tears, wondering who would be our people. We could find no place that felt right to connect, so God fulfilled our need for community by leading us to gather people with another couple around His Word to know Him more intimately and to spur these new faces to do the same.
For journeys to familiar places we thought we’d never visit again because of such brokenness, God fulfilled His songs of redemption and newness in our stories.
As a wife, God let me grow closer to my husband, fulfilling such richness in our love bond and family story.
As a person, I’ve experienced plenty of opportunities for character development this year, though I haven’t always made the right choices. I celebrate the fulfilling victories of choosing Jesus over my own flesh and mourn with repentance the ones that I still find myself surrendering to Him.
And as a writer, God put exactly the right people, experiences, and motivations on my path to finally fulfill my dream and calling to write a book.
The definition of “fulfilling” is this: “Making someone satisfied or happy because of fully developing their character or abilities.”
And that’s exactly the type of fulfilling God has done in my life this year: He has developed my character and abilities more fully because of HIS fullness. None of the things I’ve seen this happen in have made me more full than recognizing His nearness to me and how fully He desires for me to live.
Maybe you’re searching for fulfillment today, too. You won’t find it anywhere but in the abundant life— one that is filled not by things or your own ambition— but by the fullness of God’s presence, wisdom, guidance, and life pouring into your own.
My heart echoes what Mary said. Sometimes it’s hard to say this when things don’t go as planned, but little by little, I’m learning that this is what a fulfilling life really looks like:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38
Stay in constant conversation with the Lord, listening carefully to His perfect word as you bring your imperfect words to His ear. I pray your 2018 will be fulfilling, my friend.