Another year… It always surprises me how long some things in life seem to take, yet how quickly they passed after they’re done. The passage of 2017 is no different. There are some things I’d rather not have to drag along into 2018 but they weren’t all new in 2017… I look forward to the day I they start becoming just a memory.
We hit some milestones in 2017… My oldest turned sixteen. Sixteen! My middle is in his last pre-teen year, and my youngest her last single digit.
My Expedition died. And now I have the youngest vehicle I’ve ever owned. All-wheel drive and third-row seating were the things I really wanted. AWD is important in this area of the world. And I need to be able to transport more than just my family. It’s nice… but I still cringe at the… investment.
What else… I turned 44. Kept blogging. Didn’t finish my Elijah ebook. Got a job teaching preschool two mornings a week; I have a cute class.
Thought about stopping taking my medication and seeing my psychiatrist. Was sensible enough to keep doing both.
Any way, we’ve reached the end of 2017. Am I sorry to see it go? Not really. But it’s not a year I just want over, so… that’s good.
Starting 2018 on Fruit of Brokenness with a look back at the most-read posts of 2017…
Listen When He Speaks
The Listen When He Speaks Scripture reading and writing plan has been the most popular thing I’ve ever done on my blog. I’m excited to help get people into or back into a daily habit of reading God’s Word, and offer something a little different than anything I’ve found out there for anyone who wants to approach their devotional Bible-reading intentionally to hear from God and apply His wisdom and will to life.
I hope it encourages people to make time to study God’s Word, too. Because reading and studying aren’t the same, and we need both.
This is the post that launched it all back at the end of 2016, my most-read post of 2017:
Wondering how Listen When He Speaks works? Check out these…
Faith and Mental Illness
I’m still trying to finish the revamp of the blog and get everything better organized. One part of that is writing what they call cornerstone content that sums up what Fruit of Brokenness is all about. The Faith and Mental Illness page is the first part of that.
There are many misconceptions about mental illness, within the Christian community and outside. Fruit of Brokenness is testimony that God can be glorified in and through a believer’s weakness and trials, even the brokenness of mental illness… Read more of Faith and Mental Illness
Faith needs to be part of the conversation about mental health. Christians can, and do, struggle with mental illness. It’s the same with mental illness as it is with physical illness: God can heal. God does heal. But God doesn’t always heal. It’s not about believing enough, or praying enough, or going to church enough. But faith, the spiritual disciplines, and fellowship with other believers are important to mental health.
A common area we get way out of line of God’s loving intent for our well-being and His glory is sexuality.
One of my most-read posts about that this year was pulled from a 2015 post on my old blog. Fifty Shades: Why Women Want Christian Grey.
Closer to home was In Search of a Clean Heart: Sex, Societal Lies and Bipolar Disorder.
Also closer to home was my contribution to the You Make Me Bold series, My Unexpected Story.
It’s through sharing our stories that we connect with others. One of my most-read posts this year was, unexpectedly, My Experience with Childhood Anxiety: Selective Mutism. I hadn’t had a name for that aspect of my anxiety, of my social anxiety. That’s probably part of the reason this post caught attention. It’s unfamiliar. And naming something difficult is powerful. I hate labels, but naming something is different. Labels imply a lack of control, while naming a struggle empowers us to take it on. A label puts someone in a box; a name comes with tools others have found, and the motivation to find ones that haven’t yet been figured out. Giving something a name makes it less scary and overwhelming, and lets us know there are others who struggle with it, as well as those engaged in taking it on.
Okay, Friends, here’s some unflattering honesty… Looking back over 2017, I haven’t come as far as I would like to say I have. My lack of progress is… my fault. I know what I need to do to be healthier – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
But… I’m lazy. I rationalize. I, um, wallow, in resentment. And regret. I’m not living as whole in my brokenness as I could, as I should. One thing I’m doing to get 2018 off on the right foot is getting involved in a new Bible study group. It’s been awhile since I’ve had that encouragement and accountability. I need it. We all do.
As always, God is bigger. Sometimes unflattering honesty is the best way to encourage you. And as I cooperate with the Holy Spirit, I’ll have more victories to share, too.
I’m choosing to look forward to 2018, and not go into it on the defensive. Let’s remember that whatever the year brings, it all comes with grace and blessings, and we can only find and embrace them by living in this moment.
What would you like to read about on Fruit of Brokenness in 2018? I’d love to hear from you. Comment below, or send me a message.
Want more? Check out my most-read posts of 2016!
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