I haven’t had much time to write over the last few months. My previous post perhaps gave a little insight as to why this is, but for those of you who don’t know – I am self employed and have a handful of businesses. Most of my work consists of hiding behind a computer. This plays well for my blogging. Whether I’m waiting for feedback or twiddling my thumbs while a video renders, there are a lot of opportunities for me to slip in a quick blogging session. But when Christmas comes around, my Build Me Mini business takes on a new light. We pretty much trade more in the month of November/December than we do for the rest of the year put together and, consequently, everything else (and I mean EVERYTHING) is either in ultra slow-mo or comes to a complete stand-still while we desperately try to chuck out orders.

In the meantime, there have been so many blog posts I have wanted to write, but just haven’t been able to put fingers to keys. My hope is that, unless the momentum dies out from those stories, they will be told in the coming weeks and months.

But while there are but a few hours remaining for 2016, there is one post that I wanted to get out there before all of the others. As with all of my posts, this is primarily for my own sake and sanity, but I welcome anyone who wants to read along for the fun of it.

2016 has been a lot of things to a lot of people. I think social media has now successfully branded it as a bit of a pants year. Certainly for the anti-Brexit Trump-hating people out there (lol), but on a more serious note – there have been a lot of very sad deaths this year too. Most recently Princess Leia, which isn’t the best way to have ended the year by a long shot. But that all being said, 2016 has (perhaps less obviously) been a year of many great things too. From scientific research (major leap forwards in brain research for Alzheimers cures and the like), global malaria infections are down 60% since 2000, war is now only taking place in 1/6 of our planet – that’s still a lot – but it’s also a heck of a progression. And there are tons of positive environmental breakthroughs too. And that’s just the global scale. So whatever the media say, don’t kick 2016 to the curb and write it off as a loss – there were some really awesome bits. That’s on the global stage. For me personally, this was a great year too. Without a doubt, some of the hardest times of all. But also some of the best.

And with all that in mind, for me, the theme of the year has been ‘crowns’. An odd one, I admit, but it’s something that has only really come to my attention recently. And I’m not talking about the Queen’s 90th Birthday, which poetically also came about in 2016. I’m not even talking about literal crowns, rather than figurative ones.

When I was younger, we used to sing a song at church that had a line in it “I crown you now with many crowns. you reign victorious”, which at the time, may as well have been foreign. It was a lovely little poetic line, but pretty much just that. It had no relevance to me, and frankly, made little or no sense. And yet, it had been a line that has echoed throughout this year time and time again – making it one of the most heart-felt lines in my life at the moment.

The truth is, in all of our lives, there comes a time when a light switches on and you notice the path that you have trodden. You look back at the year gone by, the years previous and sometimes even further. You suddenly get a bigger picture of where it was all leading to. Equally, as you try to peer through the curtain of what’s ahead, there is even less clarity and perhaps absolute uncertainty. So many people say it, but it’s true. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

But this year, with the arrival of my second child, my seventh wedding anniversary, rise and fall of countless projects and schemes and ultimately the vast primitive success of Build Me Mini, I can see many crowns that I could be seen to be wearing. Equally, I can see many crowns that I have casually discarded – those mostly of social theme. Perhaps friendships I haven’t been able to invest into or social groups I haven’t maintained relationships with. All these and more. In looking back over the last few years, they all seem to be crowns to me.

Why crowns? I think of it like this, each area of my life is in my control, it’s my mini kingdom. Maybe I can’t control everything that the crown pertains to, but I can control my involvement in it. Take, for example, my family crown. I’m not the king of anyone else, but I am king of who I am in my family.

So looking at these crowns and how they make me up as a person, I want to say very publicly and for all to see whenever they choose to see this:

However I obtained these crowns, however I treated them or discarded them. If I earned them, found them or was trusted with them, I who-heartedly and completely return them to the rightful King of all that I am. That’s Jesus.

You may think that’s absurd, cheesy or perhaps already a given based on my beliefs. But I can assure you that, at the end of a calendar year – I find it essential to remember who is actually in control. If you look at me and see failure – it would have been a lot worse if it weren’t for Jesus. If you look at me and you see success – it’s not my success that you’re looking at – but His.

Amazingly, it’s as I return these crowns to Him, that more start to appear. Something I have learnt over the last year. But no matter how many crowns come across my head and heart – they all belong to Him. Because, after all, they wouldn’t have come across my path if it weren’t for Him.

And when I’m doing well, help me to never seek a crown, for my reward is giving glory to You.