The past week or so I have been reflecting on 2015 and all the lessons it has brought. This year flew by! It is hard to remember all that has happened. We have gone through more business changes, added a child to our family, changed cars, endured trials, celebrated with joy, grown in the Lord, and loved time together as a family. I could not be more in love with D and with my girls. What a blessing! I’m extremely thankful for all the Lord has done, both in teaching us through trials and in successes. As I look back, I wanted to document the three most impactful lessons I learned this year.
- This year I believe the Lord placed on my heart the word intentional. I hope that I have grown in this area- striving to be purposeful in my parenting, friendships, and in interacting with the world around me. Intentionality showed up in many ways and I am thankful for the ways I was stretched in this area. One of the biggest lessons I learned this year though was learning my limits. Having H was one of the greatest joys of my year, but her birth also caused me to learn my personality and how much I could handle at one time. Naturally I crave order and quiet. Three children have definitely challenged me in this way! So, I have had to learn how to say no, or to plan out my weeks in more purposeful ways. This has played out by only doing one playdate per week or by saying no to parties/brunches/coffeedates that I used to say yes to or by really calculating if an investment is wise. I have had to learn to balance this lesson with still stretching myself to serve all while knowing that saying “no” really does benefit me and my family. Along with this lesson would be letting my yes be yes. (Matthew 5:37). One of the ways my husband has challenged me the most is by teaching me what commitment looks like. If he commits to something he is ALL in and it’s because he takes what Jesus says seriously even on a small scale. Before we started dating I was used to canceling on people just because I wanted to, calling off work, etc. He has really taught me that if I say yes to something, then I need to follow through unless it is for a valid reason (sick kid typically!). This has changed and morphed as I learn to balance motherhood with three kiddos but I am thankful for the lesson in saying no, but when you do say yes, commit with your whole heart!
- Another great lesson I learned this year (and am still learning!) is what it looks like to walk in trust with the Lord. This year brought some really dark days and weeks for me as I got caught up in the news and what was happening in the world around me. I allowed current events to dictate my moods and beliefs and it was not healthy. Through this process, I am beyond grateful for one of my best friends who literally walked me through this trial day by day, checking in to see how I was doing and what I had chosen to set my sights on that day. She taught me how to declare truth even if it took minute by minute of saying “Lord, I trust you.” She also taught me what true friendship looks like- how to be a friend and love people in their weaknesses. She could have easily been annoyed by my constant questions and prayer requests, but she stuck with me, choosing to show me Jesus. I am still in the learning stages of being intentional about what I allow into my mind and heart and choosing to not let fear grip my heart. But, I can stand knowing that God is good, God cares, and God tells me not to fear, so I will choose to walk each step trusting Him.
- The last lesson has been a fresh one for me. Gentleness. “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Phil 4:5 My natural proclivity is not to be gentle with my children when things get crazy. When the sink is full of water and the bathroom is soaked. When food gets thrown. When we just woke up and they are already fighting over baby dolls. When they will not sleep….again. When they are loud. I love my girls with all that I have and they are a source of my greatest joy, but when these events happen, I have noticed that I have a hard time responding with gentleness. This verse is not just for interacting with other adults. I think we often forget that children are people too. They are a part of the “all.” If anyone needs to be treated with gentleness, it is probably them. They are moldable and I am imitatable. I want to provide them with a secure home and the tools they need to learn how to live this verse out in their own lives. I desire for them to treat others around them with gentleness- in word and in deed- because it is what they experience at home. I am praying that the Lord continues to give me tools and resources and strength and patience to allow this to play out in our daily lives. Also, if you are around me and my girls and you treat them with gentleness even in their worst moments, you encourage me to the depths of my heart and teach me what it looks like to love gently. I am so thankful for those of you that have done this and in turn spurred me on to do the same.
2015 has been great! These lessons were not always easy and I have failed in many ways, but I am grateful that His love never fails and that He will continue to work on me as my family enters 2016. Happy New Year!!