Dear 2017,

I am closing the door on you because I’m weary. But before I come across as a whiny brat though, I absolutely must acknowledge that you were the backdrop for some very sweet experiences.

January:
My husband and I began living together full time.
I released a new book, You’re Going to Make It Through: Essays on Healing.

February:
My husband and I kicked our new business venture, Fisher Furnishings, into high gear and it’s been a blast.
I ran MarriageMentor and DivorceMentor for three months.

April:
My husband and I found a new church home, Community Christian Church in Yorkville.
My husband and I spoke at an All Things New retreat in Wisconsin.

May:
My husband found a new job in our area.
We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.
My kids came home from college for the summer.

June:
My husband and I took 3/5s of our kids to Michigan.

August:
I led a retreat in Illinois.
Sara and Jack went back to college for their junior and sophomore years.

September:
I released a new book, Second Time Around: Some Thoughts on Remarriage.

November:
I created three new e-courses, PreDatingMentor, ActivelyDatingMentor and RemarriageMentor.

December:
I had the idea to start a new group on Facebook (opening today!).

And then of course there were the things that didn’t happen on a timeline, per se…authentic friendships, first meetings and deepening relationships between our children, God revealing himself in intimate ways. And I am one deeply grateful girl for this life and all God has done for me.

And yet, it has been a hard, hard year. So much heartache, so much shame. I’ve struggled with deeply disappointing people, with breaking hearts of the ones I love the most, with beating myself up for being deceived and for making poor choices. I am closing the door on 2017 wishing that it were more than just one second between it and 2018, wishing a big eraser could come down from the sky and change so very much and then a divine permanent market swoop in and fix everything that is wrong.

But that is not how a new year truly starts. So much feels broken in my heart and in my world today. I am weary. I am grieving. I am ashamed. I am broken. I am afraid. And I will still be all of those things when I wake up tomorrow, when I wake up in 2018.

But I have hope. My hope is not that my circumstances will be eradicated and repaired magically as I sleep (though, God, I wish they would be).

My hope is in God himself for who he is.
My peace is Christ himself.
And my counselor is the Spirit.

So, if your 2017 were filled with more bad than good…if you are closing the door on a truly painful year…if you are wishing 2018 could be brand new when you wake up tomorrow…I understand and I am sorry and you are not alone.

And I am here to tell you that your hope, too, can be in God…your peace can be Christ…your counselor can be the Spirit.

“Someone who loves you unconditionally is at the helm. Divine Love sustains you, surrounds you, enfolds you, protects you. Go in peace. You're as ready as you'll ever be; you're well equipped for the adventures awaiting. Ask for help, supply, guidance, grace. Ask for the Power to be switched on. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask for a respite from all your crises. Surrender suffering, sorrow, pain. Surrender expectations. Ask to be surprised by joy. Give thanks. Wait. Watch what happens. Get excited. Open your arms as wide as you can to receive all the miracles with your name on them. And never forget: all you have is all you need.”  -from Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach

No matter what is swirling around us, sweet girls, we are loved.

Gratefully goodbye, 2017,

-Elisabeth

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