How’s 2017 Working Out For You?

It’s been one of those seasons. You know the kind—when one trickle of difficulty leads to another, and then it seems like someone opens a floodgate? It didn’t start with the violent stomach bug that hit both Wagner households consecutively. It was before that, before my husband’s cell phone slid off the car’s roof to go smashing down the Interstate. It was before several unexpected financial blows hit, only to realize our refrigerator was going out, too. It was before a series of unexpected disappointments. It was before the misunderstanding came to light that left me stunned, and put me to the floor on my knees in prayer.

A Truck Load of It

I can’t say the exact day that it all started, so much of the past several weeks are a blur at this point, but let’s just say, it feels like we’ve been hit with a truck load of opportunities to cry out for God’s grace. Here’s a little hint: When I go several days without posting a blog (March 3–March 13!), that is a clear indicator that “disaster” has struck. (Was sweet to have some of you asking where your daily posts were.)

And when the blog posts are interrupted, it’s also a signal that we could really use your prayers, even though you may not know what’s going on in our lives.

With each of the “catastrophes” (obviously mostly first world problems) I’ve been reminded of this year’s Scripture passage. And the phrase, “Do Not Lose Heart,” is vigorously underlined in my journal as a heading with each page. It’s only March, but it looks like God is sending these “opportunities” my way to accomplish what I asked for on January 1. Here’s a portion of that journal entry:

My Goals, Prayers, and Perspective for 2017

Goal: Spirit-Accomplished-Transformation to Christ-likeness

I’m asking God to produce the fruit of the Spirit, I see the need especially for kindness and patience. He knows what I need more than I do, but I desperately need His transforming work. I’m asking Him to bring a greater sensitivity to His Spirit’s conviction and discernment of His movements. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” . . . I’m asking for God to give me a greater understanding of this and to work this within me that I might share a message of hope and freedom to women who are bound and defeated.

Perspective: Unveiled beholding of God’s glory

[box]”Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 3:17–4:1)[/box]

Assignment: Do Not Lose Heart

I will not lose heart as I hold fast to hope. And this isn’t any hope, this is the hope that is confident expectation based on the knowledge of past experience. I’ve seen God work. I’ve witnessed His power. He is the Resurrection and the Life and I can place my security in Him. Hope provides the foundation for faith. Faith is the reality of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).

Spiritual Growth Focus: Holding fast to hope

[box]“. . . We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain . . .” (Hebrews 6:18–19)[/box]

My Prayer:

“Let it be my concern to devote myself and all to thee. Make me more fruitful and more spiritual, for barrenness is my daily affliction and load. How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly with little done to good purpose! I need thy help: O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee for all sanctification, and every accomplishment of thy purposes for me, for the world, and for thy kingdom.” (Valley of Vision)

My Frustration With This Prayer

What is a little frustrating to me (okay, more than a little) is this prayer. Did you notice the statement about it being “painful” to see time flying with little done to good purpose? With each of these unexpected “disasters” (I’m putting that in quotes because these only feel like disasters, in reality it’s more like “life-complications”) comes more and more interruptions and disruption of “my” schedule. I’m getting further behind every day. Yes, time is flying, but I’m getting less accomplished than before I penned this as a prayer for 2017! That’s more than a little disheartening.

But a pattern seems to be developing . . .

What if God is sending these things my way to purposely disrupt my schedule, to interrupt my carefully planned day, so that I will have the opportunity for Him to accomplish the goal for the year (a LOFTY goal, I might add)? Did you see what I listed for my goal?

Goal: Spirit-Accomplished-Transformation to Christ-likeness

That’s a pretty tall order. That was probably asking a bit much, don’t you think?

And yet, isn’t that every believer’s goal? Isn’t that what God has in mind for each of His children?

The thought that keeps hitting me is that, I need to be responding to every new challenge with thankfulness because of this truth:

[box]And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28–29)[/box]

God’s purpose is to conform His children to the Son’s image. He is working all things (all) together to accomplish that purpose. How am I responding to that plan?

That’s the real question. Not “Why is all of this happening to me?” or “How am I going to get it all done?” but the real question is: “How am I doing with God’s goal for my life in 2017?”

What about you? How is 2017 going for you?


  • Donna Maggart

    Not as I expected or should I say not as I has decided it should go. I’m not new to small disasters happening each day. However, I had prayed for some balance in my life and when I say balance I really had hoped for some emotional balance. A way to mentally keep on going amid the responsibilities of each day. A outlook that God has this and I just need to trust and be thankful. Oh boy. The devil is poking me and shoving me and I have so much anxiety I don’t know what to do with it all. Overtime has not let up at work, (my full time job), my mom is declining everyday, I so wanted to enjoy this last year of my twin daughters senior year and it is passing me by and I am missing it. My PT job has deadlines that I am struggling with and so it goes. I feel more out of balance than I ever have been! I have so much to be thankful for and yet I wake up dreading the fight and what I can’t be around for, despite memorizing most of Phillipians 4. I know it is a season. It will pass. I have to go to work. God bless you all.

  • Kelly Walenta

    I’ve had some good with some bad so far in 2017. Defining moments for knelt prayer for sure. Mostly in the area of parenting. We are blessed with our children, but I have figured out that God uses them to transform us in our walk with Him! I am so thankful that God hears my prayers, the ones whispered in the middle of the night during a bad thunderstorm all the way to the praises in full out worship on Sunday morning. He is gracious God who will complete His plan. I can choose to go willingly or get run over, but God will complete His plan either through me or inspite of me. Hang on to the grace and hope that is within Him. Love Kelly

  • robin

    The Real question for me is not WHY is this happening to me,
    but HOW am I responding? Do I count it all Joy when I come
    into tribulation? Can I praise Him in my Suffering/Purification Process.
    Its called Spiritual Muscle building and its no different or easier
    than working/building our physical muscles!
    The Joy of the Lord is our Strength!

  • Jody

    2017 has been going well. Humility has been the focus of my prayers and life the past month or so. Watch out for what you pray for..because God does answer and he has given me so many daily opportunities to put humility into practice!!Never easy, my heart doesn’t always bend towards humility. Glad to see you’re back to writing, I had missed your posts as well. My ultimate prayer is to be conformed to my Lord as well, so I will continue to pray for God’s Kingdom to come in my heart, mind and soul.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear Donna ~

    Thanks for sharing, friend, so sorry for the pressurized season you’re experiencing right now! May the truths of Philippians 4 seep deep into your life and bring refreshment and peace!

    Pausing to pray for you now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Kelly ~

    So good to hear from you! Thank you for sharing some of what’s going on in your life right now. I can so relate to what you’re saying. Right there with you–Hanging on to the grace and hope that is within Him!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Jody ~

    Thank you for sharing and your sweet encouragement. Would love to hear about your focus this year. Is there anything you’re reading that you’ve found helpful? You’ve probably read Andrew Murray’s little classic on Humility, it’s small but packed with rich, deep truths. Yes, praying to learn the way of humility is almost a guarantee that humbling events will happen! 😉

    Always good to hear from you, friend ~