Back in October, while out walking, I saw in my mind a picture of a cluster of African oil palm fruits. As I processed this image, I realized that the image matched my word for 2017, “Abundance”.
West Africa is famous for palm oil. The oil palm tree bears clusters of fruits in abundance like giant grapes. The fruit which comprises of an outer fibrous part is rich in deep, vibrant yellow, orange, and red colors. Inside the fruit is a hard shell covering a white nut, called palm kernel that is similar to coconut.
Every part of the oil palm fruit is useful. The outer part is crushed like olives to release red palm oil, which is used in cooking and making margarine, creamer, chocolate, and ice cream. The palm kernel is also crushed to release its oil, which is used in making soaps, beauty products, and detergents. After processing, fibers from the palm fruit and kernel are used in paper products, animal feed, and fertilizer.
For the abundance stored up in the oil palm fruit to be released, it must undergo several processing steps that involve crushing. In case you are wondering what the oil palm fruit has to do with “Abundance”, we too must undergo processing for the abundance of God to be fully released into our lives.
In every experience, God desires to satisfy us and bring out His best in us.
As I reflect on God’s abundance and take an inventory of 2017, I see blessings draped in rich, vibrant, colors like that of the oil palm fruit. My family and I received abundance in the form of spiritual growth, restoration, God’s guidance and direction, new friends, as well as health and wellness. Our oldest son and his sweetheart got married and we gained a new daughter, who is a joy and a blessing to us.
There were also challenges and pressures, but like the processing of the palm kernel to make oil, the Lord used the pressures to mold my character. He gave me peace during the challenges.
This year also brought a new season of an empty nest. It was bittersweet as this was the first time in 28 years I did not have any kids in my care. Amidst the quietness, I sought solace in the Lord and he met me in new ways. I am excited about the future and God’s plans for our family.
On the ministry front, I continue to blog, mentor and teach Sunday School at my Church. My first devotion (Peace in Life’s Storms) was published online at Christian Devotions in November. I appreciate God’s love for us and the ways he opened his hands to satisfy my desires in 2017.
All through the year, I intentionally looked for the ways God was bringing “Abundance” into my life. Like the outer part and inner kernel of the oil palm fruit, I feel that 2017 brought many blessings of outward beauty as well as inner strengthening and character formation. Looking back, I give thanks for all the ways God carried us through the year.
The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.
When you open your hand,
you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16
In what ways did you look to the Lord for hope in 2017? How have you experienced God’s abundance? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
Thank you again for being a part of my online family. I appreciate your friendship and support and wish you God’s abundant joy in 2018!