Looking back on 2018, I have many blessings to count. One of my biggest blessings are godly friends. I started out last year, pleading God for godly friendships that would encourage us both in our walks with Christ. It took a few months and many prayers, but He gave me friends that pushed me and told me to go to God when life for hard. They prayed for me without me even asking. They loved me like God loves us, with unconditional, grace-filled love. I watched God not only give me new friends, but guide my “old” friends into a new love and joy of Him. He has grown my own family in love for Himself and others. I am watching in awe as the Holy Spirit transforms others and my own life to be more like Him. I thank God daily now for the siblings-in-Christ that is the church.

We all slip up at one time or another, but that is why God gave us the church. To help us repent and realign ourselves with Christ’s will for our lives. After Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle of Florida, my family and I went to help a church that was hit. It was devastating to just drive through the damage, but I prayed through it all. There are many trees down, but some are standing and others are leaning on the standing ones. The leaning ones still had their roots dug deep into the ground, but their tops were leaning against another tree or two. Those trees reminded me of the body of Christ. We all need to lean on the church and our siblings-in-Christ at one time or another. Those trees are still alive and will thrive, but they need help at the moment. Just like the leaning trees, we all need help for time to time, and that is why we have the body of Christ. They encourage, love, and care, when we so desperately need it. Isn’t God wonderful in that way, He knew we couldn’t do this journey alone so He gave us the body of Christ.

For this new year, let’s lift up instead of tear down; care instead of disregard; speak kindness instead of gossip; and love instead of hate. Let’s constantly live showing the grace of Christ through our lives.

Stay crazy and love one another like Christ, Hannah