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I thought I already knew what it was. Often toward the end of a year, God whispers a new Word in my ear. Lays a promise and a hope and prayer upon my heart. And I think this year I desperately wanted it to be this one thing that I convinced myself that it was—that this would be the year of freedom. But then just two days into the new year God spoke in the way that only God can speak and gave me this word that knocked me off my feet in its goodness.

This year? This is the year of breakthrough.

A new year and turning 30 twenty days into it has made me a little more introspective than normal, not to mention the loss of my beloved Mimi just two weeks ago. It’s been a tough beginning to the year. But my twenties rocked me to my core. They were filled with a lot of transition and a whole lot of walking through loss. They were filled with health scares and diagnoses and anxiety and fear. I had to come to grips with the reality that I am someone with chronic illness and I can either resign myself to it or make the most of it and live a life healed because my God already says that I am.

It was a decade filled with questions and pain and heartache and hope only to feel crushed again. A decade where I have literally felt held deep in the grips of chains binding me in total fear. And it’s not the first time I have felt these metaphorical chains wrapped around me. Back in 2010 when I was a missionary in England, sitting with my mentor in the prayer room of our missions base, another woman opened the door and walked in to tell me that she saw a vision of me wrapped in chains—the chains of my fears. Except what I didn’t realize is that they weren’t attached to anything. I could simply wriggle out of them if I wanted to. Let them fall to the floor. But sometimes I think we grow too comfortable in our chains that we don’t know how to live without them.

But we’re only what, a month and a half into this new year, and I’ve already heard the resounding crash of those chains hitting the floor. God beckoning me forward and asking me to trust Him as He leads me into a story of freedom that has always been mine as a child of God. He has promised me breakthrough, and He is leading me through it. Leading me through my fears but showing me His faithfulness in the process. Showing me how much He has grown me over the years, opening my eyes to fruit that has been born that I was too busy to even notice. It’s a month and a half and so many breakthroughs have already happened that I can do nothing but fall on my knees in worship.

I was reading this familiar passage in Isaiah that struck me to my core. Because this is truth. This is promise. This is for us who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior!

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant those in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that THEY may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. THEY shall build up the ancient ruins; THEY shall raise up the former devastations; THEY shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations,” (Isaiah 61:1-4, emphasis mine).

Oh my heart! In the original language, when it says that “he will bind up the broken hearted” it also translates as those who have “shattered minds.” And if any of you know the ups and downs of anxiety and having a panic disorder, I’m sure you can relate to that reality of feeling shattered and lost in your own mind. But what hope! The hope of breakthrough!

It is the brokenhearted, the captives, those who are bound, those who mourn, those who are faint—they are the ones that will proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor. THEY shall build up the ancient ruins. They shall be used to further the Kingdom of God. Not in spite of these things, but because of them and the restoration that God brings. And that is my prayer, that He will restore all that has been lost with His divine intervention. My prayer for me and for you.

All throughout God’s Word, He promises breakthrough. He promises to be there. He promises to comfort and heal and free us from bondage. And there may be some wounds that we will take with us all the way until our final breath comes and we enter the gates of eternity, but He is also a God that is good and wants to heal now. Wants to bless now. Wants you to know His freedom now.

This is the word that He spoke over my heart two days into this year, and it feels like a blessing so far beyond the scope of what I could have ever imagined or asked for, but that is the God that He is. I’m believing in miracles, because He is the God of miracles. I’m believing in restoration, because He heals and makes all things new. I’m believing in freedom, because He has already done the work and come to set me free. I’m believing that the Kelly at the beginning of this year is going to be way different than the Kelly at the end of the year, and it will have nothing to do with me but everything to do with God at work within me.

I thought my word for this year was freedom, but God gave me breakthrough. But that’s the thing—breakthrough leads to freedom. And oh how I am ready to run free in wild abandon in the pursuit of my God!

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