Wow – That is the one word best used to describe how I have felt over the course 2017. And it’s fitting, really, because the word I chose to focus on throughout 2017 was “wisdom” and when you ask God to help you seek wisdom, there is no better word to describe your year other than WOW.

It’s funny how God will put a word on your heart and then challenge you and strengthen you to fully understand what it means. It began immediately for me at the start of the year and I took complete advantage of each door that was opened to a previously closed portion of my soul.

Contemplating each life occurrence and rereading some of the more hard-hitting, vulnerable blog posts of this year is proof of how far I have come as a godly woman and follower of Christ. I experienced some tough trials this year and while I didn’t always win at the first attempt, I ended up coming out on top because I sought the strength and guidance of the Spirit rather than depending on my own weak and human capabilities.

I discovered so much about myself and dug up a lot of junk from my past that had been buried deep for years. I learned that I am an extroverted introvert and not solely an introvert. Meaning, I enjoy social interaction and intimate settings with close friends or family members, but prefer and desire time alone, my own personal space, and the ability to unwind at the end of the day. At thirty-one years of age, I am thankful I learned this about myself so I can use wisdom going forward in establishing relational boundaries and socialization limitations.

Similarly, I unveiled a social anxiety that had plagued me for years and I could never understand why. This revelation led me to realize that I have a drinking problem when surrounded in large groups of people or with individuals I do not know very well. It took two intoxication mishaps in early 2017 for me to finally learn the reason for why I was over-drinking. The answer was because I felt an overwhelming anxiety that led me to give into the peer pressure of drinking more than I could handle because others were binge drinking or I would drink too much to numb my anxious feelings. I will forever be impacted by this discovery and for that, I am eternally grateful.

While at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference, God exposed some deep dark emotions and unrealistic expectations from my childhood that I had been neglecting to address or consider even existed. After this eye-opening experience, my friend Allie (who was attending She Speaks with me) stayed up late with me one night and offered me wise insight through provoking questions that made me see my whole family dynamic and upbringing through a different perspective. Again, I have so much gratitude for both God continuing to provide me with wisdom as well as Him speaking to me through unexpected resources like my friend, Allie.

Throughout the first nine months of the year, I continued to question God’s intentions for bringing my family to Arizona. At the time, we had been desert residents for a year and a half and I still felt like I had no idea why God would uproot my family and move us to Scottsdale. After spending six weeks vacationing in West Michigan (in my and my husband’s hometowns), I was even more confused but chose to open my heart to the present opportunities God had set before me. It was during this time that I felt the Lord was lighting a fire within me to pursue ministering to my community, specifically to my neighborhood. I spent a good month praying about starting a women’s group and ended up consulting a handful of neighbors until it seemed all signs pointed to “yes.” As a relatively new resident of the neighborhood and a Midwestern transplant, I was terrified but trusted in the Lord and believed He put this desire in my heart for a reason. It has been four months since that group began and not only have I developed relationships with some incredible followers of Christ but also I have been deeply encouraged and inspired by the depth, vulnerability and authenticity of these women. These are the types of relationships our souls crave and I feel very blessed to have them in my life.

On September 1st, I found out I was expecting my fourth child. I was surprised but not shocked. I had felt the Lord nudging my husband and me to pursue expanding our family and so we had prayed about it but had not been actively trying to conceive nor adopt. We had faith that if God wanted us to grow our family then He’d allow for it to happen organically and on His time. I was overcome with joy after taking the pregnancy test but little did I know that this pregnancy would bring me so much emotion. This tiny human growing inside of me has made me not just consider but also appreciate the important things in life – God, family and health. I always put value on my health and prioritized God and family but over the last few months I have felt everything come full circle and become crystal clear. It was seeking wisdom that brought me to this point.

The year is about to end in just a few days and in less than two months my family will have established two years of residency in Arizona. It should have come as no surprise then that God has chosen to end this year by giving me one last gift of wise revelation – He has finally revealed His purpose for sending my family to Arizona. While I am not to the point of disclosing the “why” behind my family’s relocation to the southwest, I trust that God’s Spirit will speak to me in 2018 and will allow me to write about the flood of emotions and unexpected sense of redirection I am currently encountering.

I had made a commitment to seek wisdom throughout 2017 after God place the word “wisdom” on my heart back in January and He certainly did not disappoint. I am more mature and wise in my faith as well as so much closer to the Lord. As I look forward to the year ahead, I am planning to honor the 2018 word God has put on my heart – “grace.” I truly believe in the significance of the little nudges God gives us and the desires or convictions He puts in our hearts. I find it is no coincidence that He wants me to seek and apply grace to every aspect of my life in the year 2018. I mean, come on. I am having my fourth child in May of this coming year! It would be crazy if God didn’t want me to focus on grace this year!

As always, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this (and every) blog post, for following along as I live an imperfectly perfect life, and for continuing to grow with me in faith.

God bless you and I pray you will have a blessed 2018!

“If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking.” ~ James 1:5 (CEV)

“If you love Wisdom and don’t reject her, she will watch over you. The best thing about Wisdom is Wisdom herself; good sense is more important than anything else.” ~ Proverbs 4:6-7 (CEV)

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