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Happy 2018! Looking Back & Looking Ahead: 2017 In Review

IT’S 2018, WOO-HOO!!!

Ok, yes, yes, I know. Technically, it’s been 2018 for 19 days and this post is late. BUT technically it is still the beginning of 2018, so this still counts. (Plus I had some technical difficulties)

It feels weird saying that January is over halfway over. I feel like 2017 just started but yet it’s already over.

Last year I did an article called “Looking Back & Looking Ahead.” I listed both good and bad things that happened in 2016. My goal was to give a different light to 2016 because so many people, both who I knew personally and just random people online, thought 2016 was a terrible year, which I didn’t understand.

THOUGHT 2016 WAS A BAD YEAR?

When it comes to listing the bad-no terrible-things that happened in 2017, it’s easy to make a long list. When I write posts like this, I do a Google search. Like last year, I searched all the good and bad things that happened in 2017.

Some things I hadn’t even known happened.

It was heartbreaking to see all the bad.

It was very encouraging to see all the good.

LOOKING BEHIND

There were some terrible things that happened in 2017:

  1. Athletes, and many others who followed refuse to stand for the National Anthem
  2. There was a mass shooting in Las Vegas
  3. There was a huge earthquake in Central Mexico
  4. Tilikum, the largest orca in captivity, died (right after Granny, the oldest orca, died)
  5. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport suffers a mass shooting
  6. 26 Members of a church congregation in Texas die in a shooting
  7. Hurricane Harvey in Houston
  8. Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic
  9. Hurricane Maria in Dominica and Puerto Rico
  10. California wildfires
  11. Various train derailments
  12. A woman (along with others) died for protesting hate at a white nationalist rally

There were also some really good things that happened in 2017:

  1. There was a solar eclipse
  2. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged
  3. The Jackie Robinson Museum began construction
  4. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez got back together
  5. A nonprofit organization built tiny houses in Detroit for low income families
  6. April (giraffe) had a baby
  7. Saudi Arabia allows women to drive
  8. Many acts of heroism and generosity occurred after all the natural disasters
  9. Your birthday. You’ve lived another year and that is something you should always celebrate and be thankful for
  10. For the first time in at least 183 years, Denmark paid off all its foreign debt
  11. A high school student in Florida starts a No One Eats Alone club
  12. Eagles player Chris Long donates his 2017 salary to charities for educational equality and opportunity
  13. A 98-year-old woman writes hundreds and hundreds of letters to and video chats with soldiers
  14. Bubba Wallace will become the first full time African American CupSeries NASCAR driver since 1971

I am sure more bad things happened in 2017, but the loss of life is heavy enough. This year I wanted to make the list of good things longer because it can be hard to remember that there is light in the darkness.

THE IN BETWEEN

HARVEY

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, all I wanted to do was help in some way. My goal was to go to Texas and help with the different relief projects that were going on. My school started sending students there. All the students had to pay for were plane tickets. Everything else-food, travel, a place to stay-was taken care of. But you had to sign up. There were already a huge number of students on that list. I signed up to go but didn’t get a response back for a while. When I did, it was just an email saying trips were being created for Christmas and Spring Breaks.

One day, my school had a table where students could write prayers and donate money to help with the Harvey relief efforts. I was able to write prayers, but all I had to give were two dollars from my pocket.

That longing to want to help was still there. I hate that I could not fly there and actively do something. But I learned you don’t have to be there to help; there are other things I could do. Prayer is powerful and it works. That was something I could do. Though I couldn’t give much money, I learned I was still making a different and still able to help in some way, despite me not being able to travel to Texas.

IMPORTANT MONTHS

Originally I wanted to go through 2017 month by month. But so much happened that it would truly be better to put that in separate posts. I will say I did have favorite months and have favorite snapshots of my year.

NOVEMBER

This month began my true journey of heart change. Not heart change in the sense Christians use to say you are becoming a Christian. I mean heart change in the sense of learning what God’s love really means in these new aspects of my life, and what it meant to live as I am loved. This month was the beginning of my deeper growth in my relationship with Christ.

DECEMBER

At the end of December, I was able to free myself from things that I was using to keep myself prisoner. I learned so much and cannot thank God enough for His unconditional love. My relationship with Christ began to really strengthen, I began to grow, and I began to make positive life changes, especially mentally.

I feel like I learned everything at the end of the year and at the end of the semester. At first, that bothered me because I wished I had learned things faster. But I am grateful I did learn the things I did at all.

LOOKING AHEAD

In my review of 2017, I said “at the end of 2017, I want to be able to say that I made that change, I accomplished my goals, and I want each and every one of you all to be able to say the same thing.”

Last year was when I had first created my Impossible List. I haven’t even put a dent in it, but I am able to say I accomplished a few things on the list.

The catastrophes and disasters caused a great deal of grief for thousands of people. There were so many attacks, shootings, and accidents that cost so many lives and so many loved ones. The question I couldn’t help but ask was how many of them were reached with the Gospel?

Through this past year, I realized that life can be lost at any moment.

People had told me that before, but it seems so much more real to me now. And since life can be lost at any moment, I want to make sure I share the Gospel with as many people as I can. These attacks, shootings, and accidents made me realize that evil truly is in this world.

But there is a light that can overcome it. There is a Light who has already overcome the darkness.

Looking ahead, 2018 is looking to be a year of growth for me, especially spiritually and mentally. I want to remember to not take any day I live, any breath that I breathe, for granted. I want to be more intentional about accomplishing my goals. I want to live my life for Jesus, and tell as many people as I can about Him.

Be willing to look for the good in the bad. Be willing be that light for someone. Be willing to look to the Light, Jesus Christ, Who came to save us all. And never give up.

Live your life to the fullest with endless possibilities.