For a second consecutive year I spent December 31st ringing in a new year camping on a friends’ land (lovingly dubbed 4J Ranch) beyond the reach of cellular data service and social media’s grasp. I must admit, I found a spot where I could connect enough for a brief post/update every now & then, but during family meals, outings to the shooting range, or truck photoshoots by the lake, my phone did not have the power to blare distracting notifications interrupting time with my family. This made all the difference in clearing my mind from constant clouds of thought.
Where the cell service fades, nature revives. Where the street lights cease to exist, the stars shine brighter. Where car horns & screeching brakes are no longer audible, laughter grows louder.
In the gentler sounds of nature and family banter I began to reflect on 2016 as I imagine everyone has been doing lately, and I felt freshly washed in peace. Peace in reflecting on the year and peace in saying goodbye to it. I’m typically fearful of reflecting like this because I don’t want to get stuck dwelling on the past or open past wouds in recalling past hurts I’ve moved on from. But now I’ve found myself content in learning from the past and then leaving it behind. (Hakuna Matata) There is a delicate balance for each individual heart to manage this, there is no formula for it and it’s an overwhelming relief when you find yours.
In 2016 I learned to embrace opportunities. With God’s peace, I found fear far less effective against the joys of the unknown. In 2016 I learned to say goodbyes, and I learned peace in them too. Peace has definitely been my lesson. This year I sought the Lord for peace over & over again. When you take the time and humble yourself in such a way as to pursue God. The more you begin to know Him, the more you see He provides for your needs and fulfills your hearts desires above and beyond expectations.
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
Psalm 37:4 (ESV) “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
It’s a beautiful thing to me, that many of our most precious moments and best memories haven’t even happened yet. There are so many adventures at hand and waiting in the future and while I cherish the memories of the past, I’m excited to take what they taught me onward and at peace with God being my captain in this ever raging sea we call life.
Dear 2017, don’t take me back, push me forward. Propel me to growth. To new adventures. To deeper knowledge. To new adventures, new challenges, and new trials.
To everyone who propelled me to growth and made memories with me in 2016, thank you. Without you my writing would be dry and empty as would my heart and I cherish you all.
2016 // 2017
4J Ranch // Kenansville Photo Journal