To keep Chance's purpose close to heart, and to keep pushing forward his fruit.
I did that, and I'm beyond thankful for opportunities that came my way to keep speaking his name but also speaking His name and proclaiming His faithfulness through the heartache experienced.
I joined the Hope Mommies organization as a frequent blog contributor.
I humbly accepted an invitation to co-lead an online support group for women walking through pregnancy and infant loss.
And I gave into God's nudging and Spirit's leading to write a book. A book that is now in the design phase of production (Eek! All the feels! More on this soon.).
|Clara got a lot of loving in 2016, per usual! :-)|
And while I am proud and thankful and humbled and abundantly blessed, I can't sit here and pretend that 2016 wasn't hard for me. . . mentally, emotionally, relationally.
The deep sorrow of losing Chance in 2015 faded, but as spring gave way to summer I also gave way to new emotions not typically me. . . anger and bitterness and irritation. I was able to hid it, sometimes. Sometimes not. Brandon got the brunt of these emotions, poor thing. Family and friends didn't get much because what started as a year of thriving (Jan -June) turned to a year of just surviving (June-Dec). Grief is crazy, I tell you. Other factors and dynamics, outside of grief, played a role, too.
Now, please hear me . . . we had a good year. We moved into a perfect-for-us new house, gained amazing neighbors who quickly became friends, traveled to Hawaii with extended family, watched Clara make progress in areas we never thought possible, and had plenty moments of joy and love and fun and adventure.
The hard I speak of was more behind the scenes. An overarching mental state. Emotional battles of the mind, so to speak.
So just like last year, I am surveying my life and relationships and rhythms and routines as a whole to make this year a positive step in a fresh, new direction. Not a long list of bullet pointed resolutions, just looking back to then look ahead.
Brandon and I will complete Jennie Allen's New Year Dream Guide, just like last year, and work through it together over the next few days. Brandon isn't one to get into goal setting or the like, but he humors me by working through this together. He knows it's important to me, and I appreciate his willingness to talk and reflect and dream.
I am asking myself . . .
What worked in 2016?
What didn't work in 2016?
What does it look like to be intentional to make necessary changes?
What theme(s) is God laying on my heart for 2017? As of now I am hearing. . .
- Living Loved: I spent the last few months reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I highly recommend this book, even if you don't think you are struggling through a season of rejection or recovering from past rejection(s). I sure didn't when I started reading it but God used it to speak volumes. What I gained most from this book (in addition to several practical points of application) is learning to live loved through the lens of Gods love, regardless of circumstances or disappointments. When I operate out of the deep place of God's love for me and remember WHO I am in Him, my mindset and emotional health benefit. Remembering that God doesn't set me aside, but sets me apart, even when circumstances stink, keeps my heart whole.
- Not just studying Jesus, actually doing things with Jesus: I've been convicted that I spent a lot more time studying Jesus this year, instead of actually partnering with Jesus and doing things with Him. I don't just want to memorize scripture, I want to live out scripture through fun, random acts of kindness, intentionality with family and friends, and a general mindset shift to love well because love isn't stagnant, love does.
- Cultivating a heart of gratitude and praise: The best antidote for irritability and anger is thankfulness. I will need Brandon to hold me accountable to this, so at bed each night we will report our "three wins" for the day. Gratitude and anxiety/anger/etc. cannot biologically take up space in our brain at the same time, so . . . here we go!
Your turn. . . What worked in 2016? What didn't work? Remember, there is nothing magical about Jan 1. It's never too late to live with intention and take steps in a new direction.