This week I celebrate another birthday. Each year on this day, I like to reflect back over the past year.

  • What was going on in my life this time last year?
  • How has my relationship with God changed in the past year?
  • Have I grown deeper in my walk with Him?
  • Do I love Him more today than I did a year ago?

I look back over the past year and I have to admit it was a hard year in many ways. I watched my mom’s health steadily decline and was by her side the day she stepped into the Lord’s presence on Dec. 19. A few months later, I had to say goodbye to my 15-year-old cat, Peyton, who was a faithful companion for all those years.

As I look back over this past year, I realize now how God used this hard season of life to draw me deeper in my relationship with Him – a depth I hadn’t experienced before. In the midst of it, I hated it. I kept asking God to work differently or speed up His timing or get me out of this situation.

But now that I’m on the other side, I wouldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t want the last year to be any different because of where it’s taken me with Him. God used those hard times to take me deeper.

Some of you have had a challenging year also. You’ve said goodbye to loved ones, or you’ve been struggling with health issues in your own life or in the life of someone you love. Some of you may be having marital struggles, or job challenges, or fighting depression and anxiety.

When we find ourselves in the midst of these difficult seasons, will we allow God to use these times to take us deeper with Him or will we let them push us away from Him?

This summer I have been pondering the words of Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”

Recently I journaled these thoughts about this verse:

“Do I realize the unfathomable riches of Christ? If I did, would I worry? No. Would I be inadequate to do His calling? No. His unfathomable riches give me everything I need for life, but am I tapping into those riches? Or am I just passively and apathetically glancing at them – but not enjoying them? They’re mine – but am I embracing them? Am I staying on the surface or going deeper with God? I don’t want to stay status quo. I don’t want to just stay on the surface with You. But am I willing to go through hardship if that’s what is required to go deeper?”

That’s a question we all need to ask ourselves.

As I turn another year older this week, I pray that I will fall more in love with Jesus every day of this coming year, and that He will take me deeper. I pray that for you also.

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