For the past couple of years, I’ve had a theme of sorts for each year. The theme is usually something I pray about and then see what it is that God wants me to really live out or focus on in the coming year. It’s usually something that if I take serious in seeking, becomes pretty evident  within a few weeks. Confirmations after confirmations come and I know without a doubt, what the theme for the coming year is. Sometimes it’s a single word or a phrase. Either way, it’s become something I like to seek out as each year comes to an end.

In 2015 and 2016, my theme ran overboard. Overboard in my mind but not God’s. It was “all things new”. At first glance, it was pretty exciting thinking about what that could mean and what new things would come my way. Having crawled out of 2016, I know that “all things new”, came with grand sacrifices that when I felt like I didn’t have any more to give – the year kept taking. I even developed a new definition of the word “sacrifice”. Automatically, I think of materialism. However, sacrifice is no longer just something I “have to give up” but something I willingly offer. I noticed in 2016, how unfamiliar that word truly was to me.

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Unashamedly Arlene

Through the years and seasons, I’ve seen styles come and go, feelings be ever present and feelings be ever faded, best friends become old friends and Mr. Right become Mr. what was I thinking? Being 32 now, and having lived in 4 major U.S. cities, I sometimes have to remind myself that I have been through experiences that not every person has been through and seen things that many won’t see in their whole lifetime. I’ve clichély loved and I’ve lost. I’ve seen life being birthed and life being jeopardized. I’ve partied til the sun has come up 3 times and I’ve also found Jesus and spent weekends reading, praying and serving. When I put it on paper, I have to pause and realize that despite my current feelings about where I am in life, I HAVE truly been fortunate to have gone where I’ve gone and done what I’ve done and still be here to tell you guys about it.

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