“I’m just ready for 2016 to end. It’s been nothing but bad news,” I told my sister-in-law.

“You need to see this.”

She then showed me this picture of an ornament a friend had made.


It features a dumpster…on fire…with the year “2016” written on the front.

Yep. That perfectly represents this year: one long dumpster fire.

For some, 2016 was fantastic! Maybe you added a new family member, or started your dream job, or you’re still giddy about the Cubs winning the World Series. There’s nothing wrong with calling 2016 one of the best years of your life. 

But for some of us, this year is best represented by a dumpster fire. My dumpster fire year started in April when my husband Joey became extremely ill. Since then, it’s been 8 long months of infections, surgeries, and sleepless nights. His most recent hospital stay was just before Christmas, and any optimism or energy I had back when this year started is now long gone.

I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard from countless friends who are eager to see 2016 in the rear view. Many of us have faced disappointment, loss, or exceptionally hard times this year.

As I started thinking about the new year and the chance to start over, I thought of all the hopes I have for 2017:

I hope Joey’s doctors find the source of his health issues.

I hope this next round of antibiotics actually fixes it this time.

I hope I can stop grinding my teeth from constant worry…

I quickly noticed a trend: all of my hopes are placed in things and people that consistently let me down in 2016.

Maybe you’ve had similar hopes: hope that the next phone call will finally be good news…hope that this next check will clear…hope that it will be easier to get out of bed in the morning.

I don’t know your exact story, but I do know this: the dumpster fires of 2016 don’t magically extinguish at midnight on January 1st. The problems that made 2016 a difficult year are marching on into the new year.

So where does that leave 2017…hopeless?

Of course not. But I decided that if I want this next year to feel better than 2016, I need to change how I place my hope. So, in 2017, I’m not placing my hope in medicine. I’m not placing it in others. I’m not even placing hope in myself, because I certainly know that’s going to crash and burn.

Instead, I’m placing hope in the One who got me through 2016, even when it legitimately felt impossible to go on. I’m placing my hope in the God who promised we’d have “trials and sorrows,” but also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

I’m placing my hope in the only One capable of extinguishing my dumpster fire and the only One who can hold me through 2017, no matter how hot the fire burns.

Need someone to pray for you in the midst of your own dumpster fire? Request prayer and pray for others too on our Prayer Wall.

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