Sometimes looking back on the year that was, you feel a simple sigh of relief that you made it through alive. It is amazing how days, weeks, and months come and go, and you pick up baggage you thought you’d left behind. 2010 was a year full of challenge for Hero Hubs and I, filled with moments of great joy, moments of heartache and sorrow, and moments where we looked at an email or a spreadsheet and then looked at each other and thought, we have to trust that God’s got us — there’s no other way.

At the end of a long year and a long visit in the States, the year ahead seems a bit daunting as it stretches out in front of me. There is so much unknown. There are so many uncertainties. Hope and pressure seem close companions. Risk and challenge are two arrows, simultaneously shooting from a bow bent in our direction.

I took a moment to think about what the Lord encouraged me with at the start of 2010. And although the words are 365 days old, I realised they are full of life and appropriate for what’s ahead. So I thought I’d share them again here, as excerpts from this post, shared at the start of 2010. I hope that the glorious goodness of unconditional love will enfold you in the year ahead. May many of the moments where life brings you to your knees this year be moments where you’ve joyfully chosen to kneel.

“I was thinking of sharing an encouragement with you about the New Year […] But then for a couple of days I was struggling, not really able to put my finger on the source of it, but just ill-at-ease about life in general, and fearful awake and asleep. It took me a while to figure out what was really going on in my heart. […] I could see that I was ultimately struggling to trust God, and therefore trying to figure out how to move forward in my own strength.

But finally, this morning as I was reading, the true issue, the root, and the heart of the matter came to the surface. I was struggling to believe that God really loves me. […] Sometimes, when things are tough, when life gives you lemons, when things aren’t going your way, when your bank account isn’t pretty, there’s a snake in the grass ready to whisper in your ear…Does God really love you? And if you are caught unaware, little seeds of doubt can begin to produce big fruit — fear, mistrust, an unsettled mind, perhaps even a desire to throw out the baby and the bathwater.

But what good and glorious news I have to share with you this morning! What good and glorious news brought me to my knees, weeping in the shower? God loves me. That’s it, and that’s the truth. He really loves me. He really cares about what happens in my life. He really wants a relationship with me and He really wants what’s best for me.

He knows everything about me. And He still loves me. And I am so glad to hold that truth in my heart in a fresh way today. It is absolutely glorious. […]

So if I could still issue a New Year’s challenge to you, I might encourage you to get into the Bible like never before. […] But perhaps today, more than any of that, I just want you to know how much He loves you. No matter what you do. It’s unconditional love. He doesn’t need you. But He really, really wants you. You bring Him joy just being who He created you to be. You bring Him joy just being. His desire is for you. And He’s been chasing after you.”

If you would like to read the post Happy New Year, Love God, in its entirety, click here. (And I hope you do!) I really needed the reminder, and I hope it’s meaningful for you, too.

Whether all seems sunny and your 2011 is kicking off with a bang, or you are fearful or discouraged, or even just a little apathetic about what’s ahead, I hope you’re encouraged to know that the God of the Universe loves you, and has a glorious plan for your life, day after day.

May you walk it out in the year ahead!