As we reflect on the last 12 months and look forward to the next, Tracy Daugherty helps us to say goodbye 2017 …. hello New Year, new chapter, new possibilities, new direction, new Season!

A New Season is a merciful gift to humanity from the heart of our creator. God is outside time and space and doesn’t need seasons, yet He has graciously set up these markers to help us turn the page, provide us with a blank canvas, giving us an opportunity for a fresh start.

"Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years," Genesis 1:14

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven," Ecclesiastes 3:1

Remember, “nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Because of this, I am grateful for the close out of the year!

As I reflect on 2017 I wanted to share a picture God gave me to help end strong and start new. I hope it will encourage you.

The Picture

I was carrying a backpack (you know I love to hike). In my pack were many rocks I had collected from my year’s journey – varying sizes, and values. Some of the rocks were beautiful polished rocks representing amazing victories and memories I had collected. Other rocks were heavy, dirty and represented difficulty and disappointments from the year.

Most of the weight in my pack came from many small pebbles I had unintentionally swooped up a little at a time throughout the year attempting to be helpful and responsible. As I came to the close of the year and started planning to collect new provisions for my next journey I became concerned because my backpack was already very heavy. I reflected on how I could move forward with my shoulders weighted and my bag full. This quote came to mind, “the beautiful journey of today can only begin wen we learn to let go of yesterday.”

The Practical

In response to the visual symbolic picture I wanted to get practical. My husband and I made a decision to build a rock memorial to offload the “weight” in a year-end exchange with God. My life had become filled with the miraculous and fabulous, exciting and victorious, daunting and treacherous, trivial and small. It was time to both celebrate, commemorate and cast all of the years happening on the Lord.

On an ordinary day just a few weeks ago we gathered rocks and built our memorial.

“So, Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a memorial. Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound,” Genesis 31:45-46

I chose a location that I frequent at least three times a week as I walk my dog. Spending a good hour, we placed the stones in a pile praying over each representing the good bad and ugly of 2017. At the conclusion of this exercise I felt light and free and ready to fill my life with new direction and provision for 2018. Each time I walk past the memorial I remember the goodness of God and choose to forget what I need to leave behind from 2017 – ALL!

I'm so glad Dear Fellow Daughter of the King that we're all beginning this new season together. Let’s travel light and go to where we have never been before!

Moving Forward,
Tracy Daugherty
Director of Freedom Challenge USA

P.S Why not make 2018 the year you take on a new challenge? Join us to hike in Utah in June or in the Grand Canyon in October!