A few days ago, I posted this video on facebook--basically a year in review: http://flipagram.com/f/hjMrUkIO2a
And I love it. It makes me smile to see the pics of moving into our new house and the baby swallows and my girls throughout the seasons.
But it's not the whole story. While moving into our "house in the country" was a huge highlight, the year itself was hard. Hard for many reasons.
I didn't blog a lot this year. I didn't post a lot of it in deference to those around me who don't want the world to know what is going on and honestly, I didn't handle things very gracefully most days (just ask my kids).
My mother-in-law battled and beat breast cancer this year. While I was scared for her, I was also scared for me--she does a LOT for my girls. And did I mention we moved and I needed her help more than before? We weren't allowed to share it with some of the family (she didn't want to worry or scare them) and I found myself walking on eggshells--fearful I would slip when I shouldn't. Instead of being sad for her, I was mostly shallow and worried about me.
While I love my job, somedays, it's really hard and this year had several of those somedays. Even though it's ministry, it's not always just a feel-good time, sitting around a circle thanking God for all the answers to prayer. I've been doing the same thing for 7 years and had to take stock and see if God was still calling me to it. I had a lot of tough conversations with myself and God for a good portion of the year. The good news is He made it clear to me that this is what I'm called to--for now. While I wish I could map out the rest of my life, He doesn't do it that way for me. He purified my motives and is still working on me in how to be a good employee. He gave me several opportunities to sit back and just be proud of being a part of this church and staff.
Marriage has not been hard, per se, but I am constantly fighting the battle of believing the best and not falling into a rut. I also struggle with figuring out our own "normal" and not copying what others are doing--or discounting what we are doing. We had a great "date day" system going at one point, but it didn't happen much this year. Many days, it's the survival mode of divide and conquer. And I miss the days of just going to the grocery store together (even though back then, they drove me crazy because I felt it was inefficient). Complacency sucks me in every time and is something I have to fight against on a daily basis.
It's been a hard year of figuring out friendships--who I can say what to and how to be authentic when I have to hold confidentiality. Honestly, I sucked at it this year. And I'm not quite sure how to make it better. I constantly grieve not having that one friend like I had growing up. I have lots of great friends, but not that "bosom buddy" Anne of Green Gables talks about--at least not one that lives close to me that I can talk to on a daily basis. I've let people move out of my life that I probably should have held onto tighter.
Parenting is a daily struggle that I always feel like a failure in. I'm either too strict, or too lenient. Overbearing or too-hands-off. I'm not a lovey-dovey kind of mom. My girls go to their dad when they want sympathy. They don't hold back their feelings (I wonder where they get that from--must be Brian) and I struggle with wanting to know them and just wanting them to do what I say. The video doesn't capture the yelling matches or door-slamming or mean comments. Or the fact that I suck at building my girls up and instead like to point out how they could do things better.
All that being said, I read this really great post this morning about falling forward: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/how-to-move-forward-into-the-new-year-when-you-feel-like-you-failed-the-last-year/.
Falling forward into the new year and more importantly, falling forward into the arms of Jesus--who's always waiting for me. I'm not sure yet what I will do differently in 2014 and I don't have a word or phrase yet, but these verses speak to me:
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Here's to not only falling forward, but straining forward...