look back at the future

OneWord 2016

We have a weird connection with the word “future.” It’s something that we often look forward to, and we sometimes dread it at the same time. The future is often filled with change. But even good change can bring stress.

Future is also weird because when it arrives, there is still more future ahead of us.

So I was surprised when my OneWord 2016 turned out to be Future. To be sure, it was a good follow-up to Miracle in 2014 and Presence in 2015. Or maybe that is just hindsight talking. At any rate, in addition to the word, God was gracious enough to give me this verse to go along with it.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:35 NLT

And that was my prayer through the year, that I’d laugh without fear of the future. Which I may or may not have been successful at doing most of the time. 🙂

Look Back at the Future

As I look back on 2016, I see ways in which God has…and still is…preparing me for the future. My prayers for 2016 were these:

For my job. God, I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that you know. I’ll trust you to do the best.

And He has. Our merger is nearly complete and this year of in-between for two amazing organizations is about to wrap up in becoming one amazing organization with two campuses. My job has been stretched and God has empowered me to meet those demands….with only minimal anxiety. Yeah, that part is all me!

For my family. God, you already know where the Army will send them next. Help us embrace your plans.

It’s been a year of transition for my family and it’s not over yet. Rachel is still waiting on word of her reenlistment in the Air Force, while her husband’s medical retirement from the Army is moving along. We still don’t know exactly what’s next for them. Neil has a new girlfriend, Shawna, who is becoming a beloved part of our family. I’ll be moving off the mountain in March. So we’re stills staring the future in the face without all the answers. But isn’t that how it usually works out anyway?

For my schooling. God, I must have been crazy to take this on but I know you brought me to it for a reason. Stretch my capacity to learn.

Yeah, if I’d known about a merger when I decided to go back to school, I might not have attempted to do both those things in one year. But God has seen me through. He has stretched my time and my capacity to learn. He has brought encouragement from others walking a similar path. And now I’m halfway done. Six classes down and five to go. Hope this next year flies by!

For my Compassion kids. God, even in the places where the future looks bleak, You are there. Help me love them more this year, as you continue to provide for them.

Christian sent me a letter from Bolivia this past week, and not too long ago, Night sent one from Uganda. They are both thriving in their communities, learning about Jesus, and keeping up with their schoolwork. It’s such a joy to see how God is working in their lives. I’ll commit to doing even better about staying in touch with them and encouraging them this year.

The Testimony in This…

…is that God has been present through it all. As He called me to focus on the future, He also called me to let Him handle it all. I can’t see how all the pieces are woven together to make a whole. There are some pieces I’m still waiting to fall into place. There are other pieces I would have held on to, except God had other plans. I’ve learned this year that regardless of what the future holds, I have to trust Him to hold it for me.

Because He has promised to never let us down…to always be with us as the future unfolds. When you add that to the fact that He is good all the time, all we can do is laugh without fear of the future. 

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Holly Barrett


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