I never officially declared a word or phrase for 2014, but in my heart the word that guided me through last year was perseverance. I came upon this word while doing a devotional reading one bitter cold morning last January.
Not only that; let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope. ~ Romans 5: 3 – 4
The past few years have had their share of hardships. I think it would be fair to say that 2012 and 2013 were our two toughest years yet. After rebuilding our lives piece-by-piece following our house fire, 2014 started on the heels of a significant financial loss. Had we suffered just one of these losses I think I could have held it together but two, in such a relatively short amount of time, broke me. Although we were through the worst of it by the time the calendar flipped to 2014, I knew I was still very battered and bruised, and truth-be-told the only thing I desired for last year was to make it through. I just wanted us to keep chugging, to not give up, to persevere.
2014 had its share of struggles, that’s for sure. Not once, but twice we had to make major decisions concerning Collin’s career, I contemplated a job change, Collin had to have emergency dental surgery, he also ended up in the ER with a weird virus and threw his back out, which laid him up for over a week (actually, he kind of had a tough year). We also unexpectedly lost a loved one and Collin’s dad suffered a heart attack. The heart attack was what impacted last year most significantly, and on Christmas Eve the severity of the situation truly hit me for the first time. As Papa helped the boys with their chicken dumpling soup, a wave of fear washed over me, we could have lost him.
But we didn’t. Papa didn’t suffer a heart attack he survived a heart attack. While 2014 had its struggles it was most definitely not the worst of years. We persevered and we made it though, and that’s all I wanted.
But with the dawn of a new year upon us, I hope for so much more in 2015. I don’t want to just make it through; this is the year I want to see some real change. Collin and I sat down together on New Year’s Eve and wrote out a list of goals and objectives for the coming year and together we’ve decided that 2015 is the one we want to look back on as “the year we turned things around.” By the end of this year my hope is that we (individually and collectively) are thriving, not merely surviving.
Our list was broken down into four categories: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial. I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that #1 on the list is Get Healthy: exercise regularly and eat better.
I know, I know, this is the go-to resolution, right? Everyone declares this at the beginning of a new year!
Here’s the thing, getting healthy has to be our first priority. While mentally and emotionally I am so much stronger than I was a year ago, physically I’m still a mess; bad habits are really easy to start and really freaking hard to break. If I don’t get my body healthy, no other aspect of my life is going to be healthy, because every part of our being is intertwined. When I lack discipline here, I lack discipline everywhere. So not only am I currently overweight, I am also extremely disorganized, unable to focus, and my ability to procrastinate is at an all-time high.
My hope is by placing our attention on our health first the results will trickle down into other areas of concern and free up some space/time to spend on the fun parts of our list, which include taking up some new hobbies and enacting a monthly date night.
All of these goals should be achievable if we strive to make the best decisions day-by-day, but the boldest move I made on that 2015 list was including this: Become a stay-at-home-mom.
Whew! Just typing that here makes me hyperventilate a bit.
As our lives stand right now this goal appears impossible. I shouldn’t say that, it appears possible but not probable as it would require a lot of things to happen first: get the house show-ready, list it, SELL it, find a new property, etc. etc. etc.
We have talked this over a million times—considered different scenarios and crunched the numbers—but every discussion ends with a deep sigh of regret as our heads tell us the only way to make this work is by selling the house.
However, it dawned on me the other day that in all of these different equations there was one thing lacking from each and every formula: Faith.
And in its place was a whole lot of doubt.
I’ve witnessed miracles happen in other people’s lives, I’ve seen hopes and dreams (ones that did not seem at all possible) come to fruition, why would I doubt that could happen for us?
I’m lacking faith.
My mind is constantly churning, seeking happiness, making plans and searching for ways to achieve my next goal. My mind is rarely quiet. It is rarely still. But if I do silence it for a moment I know that the only way to truly find happiness is to follow God’s will. If it is God’s will that I be home with my children and I am open to it (I am!), I know it will happen. I may not be able to envision how it could happen, but I have to trust that it will because He “is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us.” ~ Ephesians 3:20
But if it is not His will then no amount of planning or seeking ways will make it happen, or at least, happen successfully.
Although I’m leaving “become a stay-at-home mom” on my list of goals for 2015 (because it truly is the deepest desire of my heart) since writing that list on December 31st my mind-set has shifted a bit. This year, instead of constantly busying myself with making plans for our life and then struggling to achieve them, I will strive to silence my mind and listen to His call. But more importantly, I will pray that I have the courage to follow His guidance and the strength to accept His will.
Happy New Year!