As we bid farewell to 2022, I want to take time to reflect and remember what took place and to meditate with gratitude over the past year that God blessed me with.
And I want to encourage you to do the same!
Whether 2022 brought you great celebration or deep sorrow. Whether you are coming out of a victory or climbing out of unmet expectations, let me gently remind you as I have been reminding myself, that nothing you go through can ever reflect who God is. He is beyond our experience and above our circumstances. His plans are only good and His mercies are always new. He promises victory for those who love Him and His faithfulness will never fail.
He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and everything that happens in this life will pull together perfectly for His divine purposes. Whether painful times or beautiful moments, God is always beyond space and time and His authority over our current circumstances will only ever prepare you for what is to come, as long as you are leaning into Him.
It's been an eventful year for me, and not always in ways that I wanted it to be! Not always easy or straightforward... but is it really ever meant to be? As I continue to follow the doors that the Lord leads me to, I'm amazed again and again of how He is truly above and beyond our day-to-day reality.
I saw the 2022 New Year in by myself which was difficult, but it taught me to truly hold onto the only one who is always with me. The beginning of the year saw a busy start to my admin church job as I was reminded time and time again that the Lord can always use our ordinary everyday moment to point us towards Him and He can always use it to grow our hearts and minds.
It was another Valentine's Day alone for me, but another year to remember that the only one who can truly fill my heart without disappointment is the Lord. As the year got going, I was blessed to have a space to use for my own dance training and while the Lord grew new dreams for where He might take me in dance. This blog, in fact, is an entire overflow of the work God is doing in me as I abandon old aspirations to surrender to where He is leading me.... in life, in dancing, in heart and mind and soul.
The reward of spending Christmas and New Year without family was a three week trip back home to South Africa in March. There's nothing like the warming welcome of Durban sunshine and the reuniting of family. My trip also saw great joy as we celebrated my brothers engagement to his forever girl.
I had moved out of my little apartment before my trip so I arrived back to a transition time of dog-sitting while I waited to see what home was next in the books for me. During that time, I had the opportunity to work as part of the crew of the Passion of the Christ in Trafalgar Square and what a life changing experience that was! Not only was I filled with such joy to be a part of a production again after such a long time because of the pandemic, but to be on a set of a show that was telling the world about Jesus, through the arts! Little did I know this one-day job would begin a working relationship with a bunch of people who I'd grow to love very dearly!
I did find my new home and although it didn't last more than 6 months there, it gave me the place I needed at the time that I needed it. Moments like that remind me that even when change is disruptive and inconvenient, God always has a careful route on your life that opens and closes doors at the perfect time to provide all that you need just when you need it!
I learnt to lean into God during the times when I didn't like what I saw. When what I saw didn’t reflect what I expected.... I learned that in the end it wasn't down to my feelings, but down to His faithfulness, and His faithfulness will never fail. I learnt to use art and creativity to connect with the Lord when I didn't understand what was happening. I learnt to use drawing and painting as a tool to record my prayer and my praise, to fill my mind and heart with the Word of God even when common sense told me to be hopeless.
My summer was filled with joy by the incredible time I spent with the Wintershall crew as part of the Life of Christ show. As always with Wintershall, I was handed the experience of learning a bunch of different skills and lessons that I would've never had the chance to learn in normal circumstances and i was so grateful for this time.
My Birthday this year was a step up from other times I had spent my birthday away from home. It was still difficult but I had the strength to fill the day with things that I actually enjoy doing!
The next month saw yet more changes as I handed in my notice at work to prepare to take on an acting contract at the end of the year. And I made another exciting trip back to SA, this time for my brothers wedding! Coming back to the back to the UK brought a host of farewells and goodbyes as I saw fresh endings and new beginnings.
When I got back to the UK it was a month of goodbyes as I moved houses and found a new job but one of my most favourite moments of this year was taking part in the Wintershall Travelling Crib. Being on the core team meant a 4 week commitment to early starts and odd jobs, but it couldn’t have been a better first production job for me post pandemic. I was assigned the job of animal handler all through the tour and especially during our week at Lambeth Palace. I had the opportunity to learn how to take care of the donkeys and sheep properly on a tour and although I found myself having to explain to people how exactly I got from ballerina to donkey caretaker, I loved every minute of it!
The post show blues were big on this one, especially in the shadow of an uncertain 2023. Finishing a show without stepping into another one right away, is an odd circumstance, but my hope is strangely strong! I went to Ireland for a while over Christmas and the New Year (which is why I didn’t post as much as I usually do!) and this holiday in a place I’ve never been before gave me the best chance to grow and learn how to spend all sorts of chances to learn to listen to Jesus.
Sure, I have plans and dreams about what 2023 could bring for me, and as I wait to hearing for His direction, I’m teaching myself to start celebrating in the middle of whatever moment I find myself in. And I find the best way to do that is to spend time in the Word.
Here’s your invitation today to spend time in the word. To not get clouded by what you see but to fill your heart and mind with what God is saying and what He is doing! May we meet again this year refreshed to set foot on another adventure with the Lord.
My word for the year is faith, but I’ll talk more about that in another post. As I prepare myself for the year ahead, I pray that you will also find what it is that you are getting yourself ready for in 2023. How are you preparing your heart and mind for the year that’s ahead?
I left 2022 with so many memories of rainbows. I am always filled with so much gratitude and hope whenever I see a rainbow. I’m reminded of how much faith Noah had when God gave him the command of building the ark. But because Noah had the faith to trust and obey, out of his obedience, we can see the face of God in every rainbow. Remember though that you always need rain for a rainbow to glow but you also need the sun!
In my mind and in my reality, I’m going to be chasing rainbows all throughout this year. As Jesus said, there will always be troubles in this world (rain) but He has overcome the world (sun)! So you can know that every time you face difficulty, you can know that He is already there and He has already overcome! So I will be seeking his promise of faithfulness above the problems that I see. Because He always comes through... I don’t know about you, but I always know that in retrospect yet I forget it in the midst of things.
Jesus, as we set out on the adventure that is called 2023, will you guide us, lead us, protect us and be with us. Help us learn what you want for us and how we can follow your voice more intimately in each new day.
Lord, we are thankful for every place you have taken us this year and we are believing for more of you, and more of your plans in this coming year.
Don’t let your spirit leave us, don’t let us go anywhere that you are not!
Lord, thank you for your promises, your yes and amen and your love that covers us at every turn.
Teach us how to take our faith from our hearts into our lives, help us learn how to move from going about our day as usual, to going about our day according to where you are and where you are going.
Thank you Jesus for 2022, whatever it brought us and wherever it took us, and thank you for 2023, we trust you for the best.
"Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD." Psalm 31vs23~24
~ X ~