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19 more days until 2018

I am excited to welcome 2018 with open arms, because 2017 was a really hard year.

I’m not going to rehash those events here, because many of you walked through it with us. However, the words cancer and scarred dictated our lives. Later in the year, the word hurt joined. At times it felt like the enemy was swinging, hoping that if we took enough hits we’d back off.

The more he swung at us, however, the more I felt God drawing us close.

As we approach Christmas, I can’t help but think about Jesus’ story. When an infant gloriously came to earth, those around him had no idea what was ahead. He walked the earth for 33 years and words like this showed up in his story.










When you weave all these words together, you see both the hard and the beautiful.

That’s important, because when we have a hard year, or sometimes even a hard day, we may forget that there are other words tangled in our story. We can become so fixed on the difficult (and very real) circumstances that we can’t see anything else.

This past week I paused to look back at the last year. It was easy to point to words like cancer, scars, hurt, and uncertainty. Yet because of my faith, there were other descriptors that I needed to add in, like:

Cancer, not once, not twice, but four times.


Good friends.










When I add in all of the words, 2017 shifts from a hard year to a year of walking with Jesus. I recognize those days where faith-filled people wrapped around us. I see a friend who came to my daughter’s home to fix her hair and make her feel beautiful after surgery. I see those moments where we felt battered and our faith in an amazing God anchored us.

[bctt tweet=”I may feel scarred but Jesus’ scars are greater. I’m so thankful for that truth. #livingfreetogether #ComeWithMe https://wp.me/p4jbdw-4rm” username=”suzanneeller”]

If you read today’s Encouragement for Today devotion, I shared how our burdens — heavier than we could ever move on our own — started to roll away. Bit by bit. Day by day. Until we were no longer carrying them by  ourselves.

Maybe your year was challenging too.

Will you do something? Write down all the hard words. Don’t shy away from them. Don’t try to make them pretty or less challenging.

Do that right now, sweet friend. 

Then add the other parts of your story. Truth-telling words. Words that show how that heavy burden was lifted by friends, or prayer, or peace.

Describe how that burden rolled away as you walked with Jesus and Jesus-loving friends. Now look at the whole picture, for this is your story for 2017, and it’s beautiful.

Scarred, yes.

Hard, yes.

Loved, absolutely.

Stronger, amen and amen. 

Happy almost 2018. I can’t wait to see what it holds. I’m glad you’ll be right there with me.


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Related Resource

If you long to walk closer with Jesus in 2018, the Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus may be the perfect resource.

Download a free 5-day sample. 

Freebie printable

5 Prayers printable

If you struggle with the words to pray in those difficult times, this is a free printable just for you.