Encouragement for the New Year | I’m Back!!

Hey there guys!! Oh my goodness it feels so good to be back. 

I’m sure y’all can see what I’ve been up to (new logo, new pages, etc), but stick around til the end of this post to see the official announcements 😉

First, however, I’d like to recap 2020 and share little snippets of what God taught me throughout the year.

From the outside, it may seem as though 2020 was the worst one in history. It will forever be remembered as a year of isolation, depression, death, and general catastrophe. So many things went wrong. So many things were cancelled.

But from people who have kept their eyes on Jesus, I have heard a much different story. I have seen so many hope-filled articles and Instagram posts about the bright side of 2020 and how they were able to cling to Christ even in the midst of tragedy. Last year was a refining fire, and each one of us is presented with the choice to emerge better than before. We don’t have to stay down–we can get back up and keep swinging.

If you remember, my focus word for the year was “priority,” so I spent a lot of time pondering what was important to me and what I was spending my time on. So, without further ado, here’s what God taught me in 2020.

1. Friendships are at their best when they’re founded on God.

The most meaningful lesson I learned over the course of the year is the power of friendship: more specifically, the power of God in Christ-centered relationships. I grew closer to my friends over quarantine than I ever had before, and as the year progressed, so did my connections with people. It’s crazy to see where I was and where I am now. And it’s all because I put God at the center. When friendships are founded on God, it gives everyone the freedom to be who they are in Christ.

If you are in need of good friends, first and foremost find a friend in Jesus. But secondly, pray for your human friends. God cares about every area of your life, and He knows what you need. He will bring the right people into your life in His own good timing. You might just find that the loneliest nights are what teach you how to pray.

And remember this: he who has friends must first show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24, KJV). Examine your own heart and choose to be a good friend to someone else.

2. Honest communication is important.

Another lesson that will forever stick with me is the importance of being vulnerable and honest with those close to us. We have to be ourselves and be confident in that, and we certainly have to be honest. I’m still growing in this area and have a long way to go, but my communication with my friends skyrocketed in 2020 because I took the time to 1) listen to my friends, but also 2) tell them the truth about where I was at.

Sometimes we have to have those awkward conversations, but trust me, the end result is worth it. I had some of the absolute most nerve-wracking text conversations last year, and they were NOT fun. However, after they were over, I was so glad to have said what I did. Be honest, be open, be you. We were never meant to do life alone.

Like Matthew West wrote in his song Truth Be Told, “Being honest is the only way to fix it.”

3. We should live in the moment, but not for the moment.

Time is a precious gift from God, and we all have the choice to make about how we spend it. We can spend our time wallowing in the past, worrying about the future, or worshipping in the wonder of the moment. I can tell you that the third one is the best way to live. There is no better time than the present because that’s where God meets us. Moments are what memories are made out of.

However, we should spend our moments with eternity in mind. It’s a difficult concept to grasp: we should live in the moment, but simultaneously live for eternity. How does that work?

In short, live in the moment but not for the moment. As Christians, everything we do should be for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Don’t get so caught up in the here and now that you miss the point of what–or Who, rather–you’re living for.

Encouragement for the New Year

I would like to offer the same encouragement to you that God has offered to me (and that He offers to you as well): He will never leave you nor forsake you. He has your back in all of life’s trials because the battle belongs to Him. To quote Corrie Ten Boom, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” 

No matter what season of life you find yourself in this new year, I would advise you to start where you are. We spent so long in 2020 looking to the future–waiting for things to change. But 2021 is here now and we need to stop wishing our lives away.

We are here for such a time as this, and we have everything we need to live a life of godliness right here, right now. We don’t need to wait for 2022. We don’t need to wait for summer. We don’t need to wait for anything to start seeking God’s will for our lives. He is present with us now, so let us seek Him where we are. Let us use what He has given us–no matter how few our resources may appear–to bring His Kingdom come this year. May His will be done in our lives this 2021.

My new personal focus word for the year is “fruitful,” and I intend to spend the year learning what it means to abide in Christ as the vine and to bear fruit for Him. If you would like to hear more about my goals as well as receive inspiration for your own, check out this episode of my co-hosted podcast.

Speaking of which, that’s one thing that’s new since my hiatus! My pen pal GodsChild and I started a podcast in the month of December called One in 8 Billion. Check out the podcast page for more details!

Here’s what else is new:

  • The pretty logo that my sister drew for us. Didn’t she do a good job?
  • My mailing list!! If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a pop-up to subscribe by email (return to the home page and it should pop-up again). Subscribers will receive weekly emails with exclusive updates and additional encouragement! (Note: this subscription is different from the automated WordPress emails. You may unsubscribe from those if you wish to join the new one; you won’t miss anything ;)) 
  • I wrote a couple guest posts! You can find them here: Why You Should  Read a Paper Bible /~/ Give God Your Christmas List.
  • I won NaNoWriMo! My friend El and I took the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November, and we both met our goal! I’ll be sharing snippets and such from my work-in-progress on the mailing list. 😉
  • You may now comment on my blog posts!! (So many exciting things! XD). I finally got permission from my parents to reach out and connect, so make sure you leave a comment to say hi.

I think that about covers it, y’all! I’m so excited to be back to my regular schedule. You can expect a new post every Wednesday from here on out! And don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list (emails will be sent out on Wednesdays as well). 😉

I’ll see you next week! Happy new year!!

In Christ now and always,

8 thoughts on “Encouragement for the New Year | I’m Back!!

  1. Tabitha Rutto

    Awww…this is so amazing Nicole. I didn’t even know your middle is Ashley.
    I’m loving the new look, it’s so pretty. It’s exciting to have you back!
    I’m looking forward to read what you have in store for us.
    Great job! Ditto to your sister who designed that amazing logo.
    Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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