Reach.

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2018 is in full swing and I am so excited about this year and all the possibilities it brings. Last year was quite the whirlwind for me. There were ups and downs and plot twists, but much growth, progress and joy along the way. I started 2017 dreaming. It didn’t seem like I had much to look forward to at the time. I had hit a slump and lost so much that was so important to me. However, I made a decision early on in the year to stand in faith believing and trusting God for the exceedingly and abundantly more He promised me (Eph. 3:20-21). My pastor had encouraged us to write dream journals. At first, it was difficult for me to dream at all, as I battled through feelings of hopelessness and depression. But I pressed through, dreaming and praying, until I really started to believe in my heart that my faith declarations would come to pass. The first page of that journal was marked “Get married in 2018,” my biggest life-long dream. Other pages in the journal were marked with things like get a laptop and get a car. Some of them were less tangible. See the beauty for ashes in my life. See restoration. To be reset mind, body and soul. I got the car, the laptop and in June of 2018, I’ll marry my best friend. I totally got to see the beauty for ashes in what was a desperately broken time of my life. I have seen restoration in so many areas and I feel the reset. I don’t walk into 2018 in the same condition that I walked into 2017. Although I saw hardships last year, especially with the death of my brother, and even though there are many dreams I am still praying into, God has taught me the valuable lesson of dreaming with Him and praying in faith no matter what the circumstances might look like.

Today in my devotional time, I read Philippians 3:13: “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” This verse might be my anthem for 2018. Paul starts off the verse by putting it out there that no…he has not yet achieved “it.” We all have a different “it.” We all have things we are striving and working towards. We all have suffered at times from weaknesses, failures and limitations that have held us back. We all have regrets and things we wish we would have accomplished by now. But I love the next words of this verse, “But I focus on this one thing.” Our achievements, our failures, and what we have and have not accomplished should not be our focus. According to Paul, there is something far worthier of our attention.

So, what is the one thing? “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Leave the past behind you. And for the record, the past includes everything up to one second ago. Don’t look back anymore. Don’t live your life swallowed up with regrets and reminders of the times you missed the mark. Don’t let what’s behind you hinder you from moving ahead.

Look forward. The Amplified Bible would say “Reach forward.” Look up ahead. And let God tell you what’s ahead. The promises He has written in His word are a good place to start. Despite anything that’s lies behind you, the future ahead of you is bright. Keep reaching forward in hope. Reach in confidence. Reach in trust and reach in faith. Do you hear God whispering to you? “Child, you have a lot to look forward to.”

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