Sarah Anne Writes

a mid-year reflection

Life, FaithSarah Anne Hayes2 Comments

Even though it happens every year, it's still a little bit crazy to me how fast time seems to fly by. I feel like I blinked and here we are, halfway through the year already, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I don't know if it's just a side effect of a fast-moving, instantaneous culture, of getting older — because the more time you spend on earth, the smaller percentage each year becomes of your total life — or something completely different, but time really feels like it has flown.

To say the first half of 2017 has been full of unexpected surprises and experiences would be an understatement.

I know in my heart that we never truly know what a new year might have in store for us and I know from experience that life can completely flip upside down in a matter of days, but 2017 has truly been a year of countless surprises and unexpected things.

As with years past, I chose a word and declared 2017 the year of courage. Twenty-eight days into the year, I had the reminder — "courage, dear heart" — tattooed on my forearm. I have viewed that phrase countless times over the last five months and it has done what I hoped. Each time I see it, particularly in moments when I am anxious or fearful (or both), I am reminded to have courage. But I am also reminded of the words that come a few sentences later in Lewis' story: "And all at once everybody realised that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been."

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Today is a special day in more ways than one. For me, just like everyone else, it is the end of another month, the end of the first half of 2017, and thus a time when many are stepping back and reflecting on where they've been and where they hope the rest of 2017 will take them. But it is also the end of this current season in my life, and possibly the end of my time working a traditional 9-to-5 job.

After I lost my job in September and spent 2 1/2 months unemployed, I started a temporary job. It was originally supposed to be three months long, but morphed into seven months and today is my last day. Though there is certainly no guarantee because we all know Jesus throws a mean curve ball, it is possible that after today I will never work a 9-to-5 job again. The thought is equally frightening and exciting.

Tomorrow morning I will hop on a bus and spend three days in New York City. A week from tomorrow I will jump on a plane and spend eight days overseas. And three weeks from Monday, I will get into my car and drive to Florida for a few months. After that, who knows?

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My mentor and I had dinner last week and as I shared with her about many of my plans and ideas for this next season, she smiled. She said she was so pleased to see how much lighter, more confident, and joyful I am now than I was a few months ago. In the thick of it, I knew there were many elements of the last year of my life that were hard, confusing, wearying, and scary. But our perspective on ourselves and our growth is often skewed, and rightly so. 

When my mentor pointed out how much growth she'd witnessed as she'd seen me walk through all the pain and frustration and confusion of the last year, I felt so grateful. In that moment, I knew I couldn't have made it through without the support of individuals like her, but even more so, I never could have made it through and come out on the other side of it a better person without the strength of my Savior.

This last year was hard and confusing. I cried a lot, even more so than I normally do. If I were to read back over my journals, I know I would see many nights crying out to the Lord for some semblance of stability and direction. And moment by moment, He gently guided me and sustained me and I don't know if there are words to express how grateful I am for a fresh reminder of His faithfulness.

There is admittedly an element of trepidation as I step into this new season because it is completely filled with unknowns. And yet, this last year has reminded me that no matter how confusing or unsure things might seem in a singular moment, the Lord is always faithful, always working, always good.

In the midst of all the travel and preparations of the next few weeks, I have a secret project I'm working on that will launch next week. It's one of the most exciting things I've ever worked on not just because of what it is, but because the Lord's hand has been so clear and evident in it. Bits and pieces of things that haven't made sense for months have fallen into place and it's just so incredible to see.

The Lord has been so faithful and so good throughout the last year (and then some) of uncertainty and hardship and it's just so incredible to be reminded, once again, that He is always working and moving and good even when all the circumstances try to convince you otherwise.

As we step into the second half of 2017, this is my encouragement to you: if you're in a season that doesn't make sense, continuing leaning into Him. He's doing something in it. I promise. 

It might take months or even years for it to all start making sense, and it may well never make sense this side of heaven. But His Word is true and He is faithful and true and good. No matter what.