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The Big Finish

Posted in Affirmation, Encouragement, Faith, and Self-care

As 2016 comes to a close, reflections on what was best or what challenged me the most come to mind. One of my favorite memories was a getaway to Amelia Island last summer. The most difficult was the passing of my brother-in-law, Gerard, last month.

Whether we revisit the dramatic events in our own lives or the drama of the 2016 election, a year in review is all around us.

Here are some highlights from this blog:

Most viewed post: The Art of Joy
Most viewed page: #It’s Time to Fly
Most comments per post: Discovering Beauty in Brokenness

What are your most memorable moments this year?

An accomplishment?
A kind act?
A new discovery?
A sudden change?

I began 2016 with a one-word focus for the year: Finish.

Surely, this one word was poised to complete my desired goals, including:

Finish the manuscript for my next book.
Finish an herb garden.
Finish with procrastination.

I wanted my one-word study to transform me. I wanted my last post of the year to announce my completions instead of my flaws. However, as I continue to buy fresh herbs from the store, it looks like the flaws are winning. But as I journey towards victory, look at what I found.

I saw Nehemiah’s tenacity to finish rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 4-6).

I’m inspired by Paul’s commitment to finish the course of His race in Christ (Acts 20:24).

I’m freed by Christ’s love and redemption as I hear Him say from the Cross, “It is finished” (John 19:28-30).

Encouraged by my scriptural study, it’s been a worthwhile journey for sure. 2016 may not have ended with the “big finish” I envisioned, but it came with the dose of reality I needed.

As I pondered the word “finish” in prayer, I sensed the need to:

Finish doubting.

Finish fault-finding.

Finish limiting God based on my limited view of the world.

The #write31days challenge was pivotal to my approach. And yet, finishing one thing creates anticipation of what’s next.

Seeing the end of another year is a blessing. However, embracing the potential of a new year is empowering. Did you have a big finish to 2016? I hope so. If not, whatever we didn’t finish well doesn’t have to define us.

Being grateful for what seems like the smallest of blessings can be the biggest finish we need to 2016.

In the midst of what went awry or is left undone, we can refocus. We can yield to the grip of God’s grace on our hearts. We can rest in His peace in the midst of our problems. His truth can still set us free — any day of the year — if we will believe.

Faith stirs a desire for more of God and a willingness to trust He will do more than we can ask, think or imagine.

Whether you are a regular reader or dropping in for the first time, thank you for being a part of my 2016. Whatever moments you’re relishing in or reflecting on from this year, may 2017 bring many moments of hope for the heart and joy to the soul.


  1. I had no idea you were so close to me last summer…Amelia Island? Love that place, a mere 45 minutes away. So sorry about your brother in law. Years are always filled with highs and lows aren’t they? I think the lows help us reach higher to what God has called us to.
    Finish. Good word. I need to adopt that word and stop blaming my procrastination on A.D.D.!
    I hope your 2017 is all you want it to be my friend.

    December 31, 2016
    • Joy

      Thanks Christy! Yes, I loved our time on Amelia Island. The next time I come that way I will let you know for sure! Happy New Year to you my friend. Many blessings to you and your family in 2017!

      December 31, 2016
  2. Joy, it’s always a “joy and inspiration” to read your posts. I LOVE reading about your goals and their outcome. I’m learning I can’t multitask when it comes to writing. I spent so much time writing my blog and guest blogging that I had stopped writing my book and articles. So I switched gears and I’m back writing the book, however, that means the blogging suffered. But God willing, I’m determined to “finish” what He laid on my heart years agoI

    Last week, I read some of my writing goals and personal expectations for 2016, and most of them didn’t happen. However, I’ve chosen to look at what happened that I didn’t expect. For example, I was the ghostwriter of a woman’s incredible story about forgiving the men who murdered her husband. That story will appear in two Christian publications this year. I have to trust that God wanted her story told, and will use it in ways that I can’t imagine.

    Mainly, I love how you used the word finish…not just an action verb for the things we set out to do like planting an herb garden…but our attitudes. “Finish doubting, finish fault finding.” YES!! Too often I focus on my outward actions like exercise and not my character etc.

    Sorry to be verbose, but YOU got my wheels turning this New Year’s Eve morning. I’ve chosen a word or phrase to define my upcoming year. Like “abide in Christ” or “encourage others” however, you’ve inspired me to include a word study to help me know what it means and how to walk it out.

    Let me know when your book is published. I’ll be glad to print the link on my blog etc.
    Blessings to you and yours in 2017. YOU are one of the unexpected surprises to last year. 🙂

    December 31, 2016
    • Joy A. Williams
      Joy A. Williams

      Thanks Karen – my fellow finisher! Yes, the challenge of multiple writing projects can be overwhelming. It sounds like you’ve been busy (in a good way).

      I definitely recommend the one-word study. I’m already sensing “renew” for 2017. Praying the coming year will be fruitful and focused for us both!

      December 31, 2016
  3. Lyn

    I just want to thank you for your prayers, encouragement & inspiration in 2016. I look forward to more in 2017. Wishing you more blessings in 2017.

    January 2, 2017
    • Joy

      Thanks Lyn! I’m glad you are encouraged in the Lord through this blog. It is a privilege to be a part of what He is doing in your life. Many blessings to you in 2017!

      January 2, 2017

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