One year ago, as I was writing my Christmas cards and thinking on 2016, I was beyond grateful for a year of starting new things and slowing down drastically in other areas. A year ago, I was also coming out of/still enduring the hardest year of my life personally. But, I had finally launched my dream of The Cake Shop just weeks before as The Cake by Hannah continued to grow, and I was truly overwhelmed with excitement for 2017. I didn’t know what was coming, but I did know I had all the ingredients to have the best year of my life.
Let me tell you what… that seriously is exactly what I had. The absolute best year of my life.
Things have always been “good”, I have victory in all things because of Christ’s death and resurrection (1 John 5:4). I have just failed to recognize and be as grateful for what I have or what’s been done for me in other seasons as much as I have in this one. 2017 came after a year of personal storms, intense anxiety, and a lot of late nights filled with prayer asking God to show me what it is he really wants from me.
But friends, It’s always darkest before dawn. A daily surrender to my flesh, begging God to remove fear and anxieties is what 2016 felt like. It was exhausting, but what a beautiful dance it was.
In the surrender came life. 2017 brought blogging full-time for me and becoming a small business owner that has been both successful AND a fun outlet for my creativity. Paul and I chased after a crazy extensive plan of fixing up an old farmhouse that I left a letter on the gate of the year before to end up leaving that dream behind in order to buy our first home that was less of a doozy… because we found out we are expecting our first baby. We moved into our first home, bought our first family car, and have had the most life-giving year of marriage to date. We were laughing a couple nights ago as we drove to a date thinking about how if this is the difference 3.5 years can make in our marriage/life/finances… what on earth will 3.5 more years look like? By God’s grace, I pray it’s just as fruitful, just as life-giving, and just as stable. I find myself saying “thank you Jesus for your favor” daily, multiple times. We feel so beyond blessed by God. And, we know that we literally get to take Z E R O credit for absolutely everything that has panned out for us over the last year.
I mean that with everything in me- I truly recognize that without God’s favor and grace in our lives, we would not have had the year we just had. I spent an entire year worrying over things, and he could have very well been a God of no mercy who said, “Why in the world would I bless you and bring you the desires of your heart when you failed so badly at trusting me for so long?”
But that’s not the God I love, worship, and serve daily. I am constantly being wrung out and reshaped. The process never ends. I am an imperfect being in need of a perfect God.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
So here I sit one year later, looking at Christmas card photos and addressing envelopes, and I cannot believe all that has unfolded over the last year and that we are days away from the arrival of our son. A year ago, having a baby was not even close to being on my radar. A year ago, I still didn’t want kids until I was 30. A year ago, I just wanted a home desperately and to finally do full-time what I felt called to do with my life- both of which I felt stuck in and trapped behind a wall that seemed impossible to get by. Debt that we needed to pay off, credit scores we needed to raise, money we needed to save, and so much more. (All of which we successfully, by the grace of God, accomplished- and with dance parties every time our credit jumped and debt was chipped away at!). I wanted to figure out a schedule with my husband that didn’t run me down ragged between multiple jobs. Funny how God works in the hearts of his children, and how he unifies husband and wife. Paul’s and my heart truly are knit together, and it’s so incredible how we get to watch our hopes, dreams, and desires align over time in perfect time. Not only did God bring to life the desires of my heart that I knew I wanted, but he brought immeasurably more than I could have ever hoped or imagined.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20
God is faithful. He cares about every detail.
There is so much to be thankful for, so much to see the Lord in. And, there always is. The whole earth is a reflection of his glory, and there is always much to worship the Lord in. I wish I could feel as much gratitude as I do now in all seasons. In seasons of overwhelming joy, and just as much in seasons of darkness, loneliness, angst, anxiety, or frustration.
I have kept the following scripture close to my heart as we prepare for Baby K to make his entrance into the world, and as I reflect on all of the amazing things that happened this past year for us:
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” James 1: 16-18
Every good and perfect gift, every single thing we delight in on this earth, is from God. These gifts are extensions of his love and overwhelming glory. Every single bit of goodness, it’s his reflection, it’s his light. Nothing is given to us to hurt us, nothing is given to us to tease us. God is true to his word, he is good in all things and through all things, and gives freely because it’s just who he is. His grace is good, his love is limitless. Just like this child that Paul and I are about to have is an extension of the love we have for one another, so is every single good gift and day of life that we get from God.
God has been so good to us. 2017, it’s going to be really hard to beat you, but I can’t wait to see how 2018 somehow does. As for you, The Cake Community, who have truly become part of my life… thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for celebrating the highs with me and encouraging me in the lows. Thank you for loving this growing little family of mine, and I wish I could hug each and every one of you.
Merry Christmas, sweet friends.
xoxo- Hannah, Paul, Baby K, and Presley
Scroll for More Family Photos by Cottonwood Road Photography
Venue: The Nest at Ruth Farms
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