This is it! The final day of 2015. And for me, the final day of a year always brings the need for reflection on what has just passed and anticipation of what is to come. I like complete circles, and a day like today allows me to have them.

I don’t know about you, but 2015 looked nothing like I imagined it would. I had my first surgery this year. I enter a new year minus a gallbladder and hopefully minus the fifteen years of pains it caused before they finally figured out it was the culprit. I quit my job this year. I enter the new year six months into a brand new adventure of staying home and working on new projects and exploring passions that have gone ignored for too long. I started a new eating and exercise routine a month ago. I enter a new year thinking about daily workouts and how to like vegetables and life without dessert three {or more, let’s be honest!} times a day.

It’s been a surprising year. An unexpected year, in many ways. But a beautiful year. God has grown me in ways I didn’t expect. Sometimes the growth came with much kicking and screaming on my part, but I grew anyway. I learned and changed and developed and feel that I’m a better version of who God made me to be than I was a year ago. That’s encouraging.

Are you a planner? A goal maker? I sure am. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks laboring over my lists, dreaming and praying for my future. God is opening new doors for me – for us – and I’m excited to see what comes next.

There’s a delicate balance between planning and dreaming…and then stepping back and allowing God to do what HE wants to do, regardless of my plans and dreams. And these past few days have been filled with looking for that balance. I want to be faithful to do my part and yet faithful to allow Him the freedom He needs to do His part in me.

Perhaps your day is crowded with plans and preparation for tonight. Maybe you’re going to a party and staying up late and you’re already feeling so rushed, you’re not even sure why you paused to read blogs. But even if you’re busy, I urge you to take time to pause for a bit, to reflect on the ups and downs of 2015 and to pray for God to give you fresh vision for 2016.

And a year from now, on this day, may you look back over all He has done and be grateful for His work, His faithfulness, and even His surprises.