Like really, everything that happened this year… please, enough is enough. 2016, you handed me some of the hardest 6 months of my life, but you also brought me sweetness and joy unlike I could have ever envisioned for myself.
I was the loneliest I had ever been, I was the angriest, the saddest… I was also lost, trapped, and suffocating. But in those days, God was drawing me closer to Him, even when I wasn’t seeing it. He gave me adventures I could go on, and new people I could rely on. Those were the first six months.
The next two brought me freedom, adventure, and perspective. In the UK, God showered me in His blessings and newness for two months straight… there He freed me. He also set me straight in those two months regarding my heart with community. He called me out on my pride, my selfishness, and so called independence. He showed me that I needed to be with people, and that I had a heart for others that He had instilled in me that I was letting rot.
2016, it was in the next four months that I found the greatest joy I have ever experienced. I have never loved as deeply and I have never lived as thoroughly. You didn’t make things easier on me in these next few months… but the new heart God instilled in me was what made the difference. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but my spirit had. My insecurities hit me like a train, but I grew. My walls began to fall, but I let more people in. I was vulnerable, but I found that people were more willing to embrace me instead of hurt me.
You may have shown the world loss, and hopelessness, and grief. You may have shown us the worst of humanity, and the darkness buried inside some people. But 2016, if your intention was to defeat us, you did not win. All you did was show the world that we had a need for a Savior. In all the chaos and turmoil, you unearthed the resilience in humanity. You exposed the seeds hope that people have in Christ, and oh, did He reign victorious this year.
2016, I walked into you alone and angry, and I’m walking out arms linked with my friends and family. I don’t believe the lies anymore. I’m not alone, I am worth it, I am not a coward, and I am free.
Goodbye, 2016. You tried to defeat me, but you forgot that God has me cradled in the palm of His hand. Throw tragedy my way, throw trials in my life, take away the things I love… but I am rooted in Christ. Even in death, I am still victorious in Him.
I can see 2017 laughing at my words. I’m sure things won’t get easier, and I’m betting that 2017 is even harder than you, 2016. But as I run towards Christ, I am stronger in Him. So, nice try, 2016. Better luck next time.
Rebecca Jean Verona
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
-Soli Deo Gloria