One of my best friends, Kelly Hayes (who has shared on Palms of Joy here) often says with a cheerful smile, “the fruit is coming.” Or in other words, the answered prayer, the glimpse of light or the relief you need, etc. is on its way. I love when she says this phrase for a couple of reasons. One, it reminds me to choose to believe in hope regardless of what’s going on in my life. And two, I love that Kelly is the one saying it!
If you know Kelly, you know her story is filled with ups and downs and all arounds. She has faced more challenges in the past few years than many of us will ever face, but she continues to choose hope and encourages those around her to do the same. Why can someone like Kelly, who has faced a lot of trouble, have joy? Because her hope is in the Lord, and in the same way He renews her strength, He can renew yours. Kelly is tiny but mighty, steady and strong. I am so dang proud to call her a friend.
As we begin 2019, we have an opportunity to start fresh; to choose hope and cultivate a new year of meaning. We can choose to believe the fruit is coming!
It’s easy to glance back at the previous year and simply label it good or bad, but it takes work to honestly evaluate yourself, your relationship with the Lord, and your relationship with others. Fruit doesn’t magically grow overnight; it takes pruning, attentive care, faith and time. The same is true with our spiritual maturity. As you and I thoughtfully process 2018, we can learn and grow, then choose to move toward a future of hope in 2019.
After reflecting on my own 2018, I learned there’s something even more joyful than clinging to hope for yourself; it’s choosing to believe in hope alongside others.
Kyle and I are heading into our third year of marriage, and in 2018 we tried something new. We set goals as a couple. I shared my dreams about becoming a better writer, my hopes for the blog, and how I wanted to grow as a wife and friend. Kyle spent time sharing his hopes and dreams for his job, our marriage and his spiritual journey. Then, we spent time working together to write our goals as a couple. What did we want to achieve together? How could we help each other grow and succeed? We lovingly, intentionally held each other accountable throughout the entire year.
This practice was a game-changer in our marriage because it helped us unite; we became a better team. If you’re married and haven’t tried goal setting with your spouse, why not give it a shot? If you’re not married, who can you confidently share your goals with who will hold you accountable and cheer you on? There is joy in believing your fruit is coming, but there is even more joy when you have someone believing alongside you.
I hope this encourages you to thoughtfully reflect on 2018 and move toward a deeper faith in 2019. You have the freedom to start fresh and to choose hope. The fruit is coming!
As you reflect on 2018, what are some areas of your life you’d like to make progress in?
What are you hopes for 2019? Write them down.
Who can you share your 2019 goals with?