Guys, it’s almost Christmas. What. The Heck. If you need me over the next few weeks, I’ll be somewhere watching Elf… And probably answering my phone, “Elyse the Elf here, what’s your favorite color?” You think I’m joking.

Seriously though, it is almost 2019. TWENTY. NINE. TEEN.

Isn’t it crazy how much life can change in one year? The moments that we wish we could revisit. The memories that we wish we could erase. The things we wish we could have said. The things we wish we never said. The fights we had. The friends we made. The people we said goodbye to. The hopes deferred. The dreams fulfilled. And the perspective we gained in the process.

And it all started with a countdown full of hope, dreams and sparkling drinks.

Maybe 2018 has been the best year of your life. If so, more power to you girlfriend. Perhaps you found your person, held their hand and felt all the feels. Or you finally decided that nobody lets your dream sit in the corner, and you did something about it. Or you went on the type of trip that Instagram was created for, and everyone double tapped the heck out of your photos.

Maybe you were the Beyoncé of this year. And if so, can you tell me how you did it? (And then can you teach me the Single Ladies dance??)

But seriously, if this has been a great year, please… Reflect. And keep reflecting. Find the person who encouraged the pants off you this year (not literally, unless you’re married, then hey-yo!). Write them a card. Send them a text. Buy them a coffee. Say thank you. Don’t let thanksgiving stop with turkey and sweet potato. Please, always say thank you.

But perhaps this wasn’t your year. Maybe you seriously considered turning in your adult card, burning all your grown-up clothes, and updating your resume to “professional Netflix-er.”

Sometimes, despite our prettiest mood boards and proudest mantras, life just pulls out some plot twists.

Maybe this year, life hit you with jabs and swings and kicks so intense, it landed you the ground. Perhaps your anxiety became claustrophobic and loneliness felt like it would be your legacy.

Maybe this year your tears became the ache you couldn’t articulate. I have been there friend. I have so been there.

In fact, this time last year I was there. Facing a new year with a broken promise and a hurting heart. I didn’t want to celebrate anything, let alone the year that had just gone! But I remember sitting on my patio in Australia reading my bible. This verse stopped me in my tracks. It was in the book of Jude. When I read it I felt that gentle but familiar whisper from Heaven. He said, “this is your verse for 2018. I’ve got you. You don’t have to celebrate what is behind you, but I want you to smile and what I am bringing you.”

So today, I want you to hear that whisper as you read this verse… The verse I read that day.

Jude 1:2 (The Message) says, “Relax, everything’s going to be alright; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!”

Don’t quit. Don’t give up on this year. It’s not over yet.

I’ve had moments this year where I wanted to get out of the boxing ring. I’ve had to learn how to keep punching even though I was tired, injured and exhausted. This has been my biggest year, my best year, and my most brutal year.

I’ve learned opening new doors requires more energy than occupying old rooms… And I’ve learned that the best years come out of the most broken places.

And I pray you will let those lessons speak to your heart today. After all, God didn’t bring us this far to see us defeated. I think it’s in His whisper to go one more round that our future is found.

So don’t wave that flag, not yet. You still have fight in you. I know you do. And I just wanted to remind you that it’s not over until that countdown gets to 1, until the fireworks begin to crack, and until those text messages roll in.

We have two weeks left of 2018. Let’s make it the most wonderful time of the year. And as for next year? Bring. It. On.

Hebrews 10:39 (MSG) But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

Elyse Murphy is a writer, pastor, and international speaker. She is driven by her passion for Jesus, the local church and Sephora makeup. Elyse is ministering to people with her message of grace founded in Jesus and her honest stories about life and its lessons.

Having grown up as a pastor’s kid in Sydney, Australia, Elyse graduated from Hillsong Leadership College, and has been a pastor working with young people and young leaders ever since. She has ministered globally in both church and secular settings, inspiring people in their life and challenging them in their faith.

Her experiences of life growing up as a PK led Elyse to write her first book “Confessions of a Church Kid.” Her book is a memoir of the good, bad and ugly of growing up with parents in ministry and all that it entails. Elyse has a Youtube channel and regularly blogs for Propel Women, She Rises, Assemblies of God and others.

These days Elyse calls Los Angeles home, working with young adults and leaders, and ministering as one of the executive pastors at Oasis Church in  Los Angeles.