2014 was a year of firsts.
I bought my first car. I took my first solo road trip. I lived abroad for the first time. I got my first credit card. I embraced new relationships and took some big risks. I accepted more leadership responsibility than I have ever had before. I turned 21 and tried my first drink. I held new jobs and got new roommates and cried fresh tears and shook with sweet laughter.
2014 was also a year of seconds.
Second chances. Do-overs. Grace. So much grace.
2014 was a year of mistakes and bone dry bank accounts and way too much coffee in the system and ugly crying in that new car I went broke buying. It was pleas for forgiveness and prayers for freedom and laments of frustration when I did it all over again anyways.
And people kept loving me. And Jesus kept pursuing me. And many a times when I lay curled up in my car or shook in the arms of a friend or stared up at the stars in the dead of night, I heard that whisper of Grace. That call to never surrender to anything but His relentless love. That promise that I can always come home, no matter how prodigal I become. That growth is just as painful as it is sweet, and it is possible to trust Him wholeheartedly and still feel sadness, as long as it doesn’t overtake you.
I’m super into new years. Not necessarily “New Year’s” as in the actual holiday. That’s alright, but it is usually riddled with way too much FOMO and a smidgen too much glitter for my liking.
What I do love is the mindset of New Year’s. It throws us right in the fray with regrets and hopes and mantras and dreams. We look backwards and forwards, up and down all at the same time.
Who have you been? Who do you want to be? What needs to change? What do you want to run towards in 2015, and what do you want to leave in the dust of 2014?
What if we lived like that every day?
What if we celebrated the gift of life today and said thanks for what we learned yesterday and applied it to who we are going to try and be tomorrow?
Forget the parties and sparklers and champagne and countdowns. It’s not a once a year commitment.
Shattering strongholds and verbalizing our hopes and working for goals and jotting down truths should be something we do every day, should it not?
The other night two dear friends and I felt we had some business to take care of with the powers of darkness. For too long we have let fear, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, etc wave little flags of victory over our lives. We have stubbornly insisted on using a broken compass to give us direction when a loving, kind Guide is pointing towards the Way.
So, naturally, we went to Goodwill, purchased half-off, purple-sticker plates, and shattered them in the wash behind my house. We held the porcelain and glass dishes above our heads, naming them for what they were: the impossible expectations placed on our bodies and minds and hearts as women, fear that we are too much emotion and ambition and strength to be loved, passivity and apathy and numbness embraced in order to deal with pain, anxiety, busyness, depression, (insert many other laments here).
After we called those strongholds for what they were and declared them powerless over our lives, we hurled them at the concrete and rock and watched them shatter into thousands of pieces. What seemed pretty and decorative and convenient was really malicious and destructive and useless.
We laughed with victory and howled at the broken pieces of what used to control us. We even scampered into the wash to retrieve shards that hadn’t been broken enough, insistent that these lies must be crushed until they turned to dust.
As I stood under the moon behind my childhood home with two souls who have traveled many roads with me and stayed near me through many dark nights, I trembled a bit at the profundity of the moment. Different people, paths, and places come together to fight what attempts to control us all. Bravely facing that which keeps us stuck in yesterday and numb to today and fearful of tomorrow. Friends who come together to live into new years, new days, new moments. Free and honest and reaching towards heaven to grasp the Grace promised and lavished and now accepted.
Of course, even as I step into the new year, day, moment, I reface the same demons and recommit some of the same crimes. I must keep descending into the wash, clutching at the too-large shards that must once again be held to the sky and called false and hurled into the dust again and again and again.
But each time the shards are smaller. Each time I am a little lighter as I bound in and out of the wash. I descend alone, but I am cheered on by those who stand above, pointing to the shards I have missed and howling at the sky as Jesus gives me the strength to win one more battle, giving the Grace to move forward.
Yesterday I went on a long run. Aching legs motivated by frustration and sadness, trying to cope with the unknown by adding mile after mile to my Nike Run app. I ended sitting amongst the shards of glass from the night before. Haunted by the memories and mistakes of 2014 that flashed before my eyes as the sun reflected off the tiny pieces of glass. Wondering if I could really break free from heartbreaks and makes, sins and sadness.
I ask.. Will You keep giving Grace? Will You forgive each yesterday and bless every tomorrow? Will You give me the courage, kindness and grace to press into new years, days, moments again and again and again?
And I hear YES. yesyesyesyesyesyes. alwaysalwaysalwaysalways.
grace. grace. grace. grace. grace.
So I stand, glass crunching under my shoes as I climb out of the wash. I will leave those shards in Scottsdale behind my childhood home. Tomorrow, I will throw my bags, books, journals, and a few snacks into my Accord. I will fly west on the I-10 leaving those shards in 2014, only keeping the lessons learned in my back pocket. The sun will set around the time I hit Indio, and I’ll watch the embers of the day burn out over Palm Desert. I will race towards LA and I will race towards hope and I will race towards 2015, with all its firsts and seconds and makes and breaks and new years, days, moments.
Because if I learned anything in 2014 it is that the Kingdom is here and now, and always a bit more just around the corner. That we have to keep breaking the shards. That in the Kingdom the seconds can be even better than the firsts. That we never do it alone, and when you least expect it you will realize you are surrounded by other warriors who will cheer you on as you shatter those strongholds.
So break those shards, my friends, but do not dwell in the remains. Climb out of the wash. Race towards the sunset. Howl at the moon.
Here’s to the shards of 2014 & and the hopes of 2015.