Is anyone else feeling the pressure of 2018? My inbox is filled with emails about setting goals, reviewing the year, choosing a new word of the year, processing 2017, making a resolution, and setting up a plan to be intentional in 2018. Meanwhile, my brain is like WHOA. Slow down. I feel like I am supposed to do it all to maximize every moment. But then, I remember to breathe. I remember my life is not defined by a word. I remember that I can live a full and joyous life without a huge list of set goals. Yes, these things are great tools to be focused and intentional. But you don’t have to do it all. So, if you are anything like me, take a moment to pause and figure out what’s going to make you the best you. Maybe it is a word. Maybe it’s taking a moment to pause and reflect with a cup of tea. Or maybe it’s scrapping your resolution list and simply taking it one day at a time. Whatever it is, give yourself grace. Grace to not be perfect. Grace to change your word of the year in February. Grace to take it day by day and grace to plan to your hearts desires.
In 2017, I chose the word “embrace” for my word of the year. To welcome the year and all that it held with open arms. I knew the year ahead would hold more unknowns than I could imagine. And goodness, it did. The best kind of unknowns.
I got to embrace a twin pregnancy with all its twists and turns. A velamentous cord insertion. Intrauterine growth restriction. My water breaking at 34 weeks. 11 days in the NICU. A reopened c-section and second surgery.
I got to embrace learning life as a mom to two newborns. Long nights. Learning to exclusively pump every 2-3 hours. Learning what it meant to be a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, an in-law, a sister, a person all at once.
I got to embrace needing others. Woof, this one was the hardest. Accepting help has never come easy but this year was humbling. I needed people to drive me around at times. I needed my mom and mother-in-law to come over and hold babies for me. I needed people who were willing to bring meals. Fold laundry. Wash bottles. Wipe tears. I had to embrace the fact that more people saw me without washed hair and makeup on that ever had in a lifetime. Stained tshirts. Unsupportive pumping bras. Hairy ankles. A postpartum tummy. They saw it all.
I got to embrace a body that has changed completely. I had to embrace the fact that going to the gym isn’t an option in this season. That hormones and breastfeeding and sleepless nights and survival mode would mean a few extra pounds this year. I’m embracing the fact that it won’t always look like this. Truth is, I couldn’t be happier and I know the time will come where my butt will get back into shape and healthy meal planning will feel more feasible than exhausting.
I got to embrace needing God in a whole new way. It’s the most helpless feeling knowing you are not in control of the ones you love most. When Logan had his hospital scare, it was a pivotal moment remembering that God loves my babies even more than we do. He can be trusted. But it’s not easy. I got to embrace the fact that my quiet time and prayer life looks a little different. Long are the days of sitting down for 2 hours reading and journaling and praying and worshipping. Now we sing worship songs during bottles, pray as we change diapers, and read devotionals in the bathroom, errrr, well, yes, let’s be honest.
I got to embrace my house looking different. My bedroom looking different. My baths looking different. My closet looking different. My marriage looking different (the best kind of different!). My friendships looking different. My “free time” looking different. My car looking different. My world looking different. My writing looking different.
Welcoming change with open arms. Wow. A few years ago I would have said it wasn’t possible, but this year taught me that it is. It’s humbling. It’s painful. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. It requires sacrifice. It requires pride to be lowered. It requires an exhausting amount of effort and yet, no effort at all. Change is hard. But this year, I fought to embrace it. To savor it. To welcome it. Every fiber of my existence has had to learn to let go of control, to become more aware of my desperate need for God and others, and in return, magic happened.
When we were knee deep in the early weeks, I remember crying and just telling myself “this is only a season”. We were tired. I was going through a major identity crisis learning my new roles. “This is only a season.” I kept repeating that to myself.
And then God whispered back “No it’s not.”
You see, He gently reminded me that seasons are cyclical. They come and repeat themselves every year. You always know what spring will look like, then summer, then fall, and winter. God reminded me these moments, these early days, they weren’t going to come back. Once they were gone, they were gone forever. The hard – it’s temporary. A new hard will come, but it will never look the same. The babies will be a little older, and the past will be a distant memory.
I learned to embrace every moment. Even the hard ones. Even the exhausting ones. I learned to welcome every second with open arms, even when there were tears, because time will never come back again. This lesson has been pivotal for me as a mom.
So, now, 2018. What’s ahead? I have no clue. I have good intentions to think of a word of the year as I enjoy seeing how God works with it but I also know that if I don’t come up with one till March, life will be fine. That’s the beauty of grace. It takes off the pressure. It reminds us that God loves us no matter what.
And for that, I am so thankful.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful and happy 2018,