A few years ago a friend of mine commented that every year rather than making a resolution, she would prayerfully ask God for a word. A word that would help her define and guide her in the coming year. For someone who rarely makes resolutions (due mostly to my excessive need to set SMART goals as well as the perfectionist that needs to make sure I’ll actually attain them), this felt like a reasonable and relatable request of God. I decided I’d give it a try. It came as no surprise to me that the first year I was given the word “contentment.” It as a time in our lives where we were at a crossroads in our family, our careers, our faith, etc. I knew I needed to be content in the moment I had been given. My entire life I’ve been striving for the next accomplishment. I wouldn’t have even finished one thing before I was already thinking of what I needed to do next. That year I learned to breath, life, and grow where I was planted. It felt as if the moment I gave up striving and just patiently hung in the expectant breath of the Father our lives began to fall into place. A renewed purpose was felt. As it happens, this is also the year I found myself to be expecting as well.
I was so caught up in life in 2017 that I didn’t remember to ask for a word. The irony of this is that the word found me anyway. Perseverance. This year has been nothing short of a marathon and it has felt like we’ve been in last place for most of it. We renovated our house to make room for a baby all while J.R. was working every extra gig he could find in addition to spending almost two weeks out of the country. I coordinated a women’s conference at nine months pregnant. My work place flooded in May so much that they had to cancel all classes two weeks early…we’re still recovering. We left our much beloved daycare/school for public Preschool. In every way, we have been bogged down by life. However, the water breaks and the mile markers have given us much needed rest to continue on this journey. We have a beautiful baby boy who completes our family in ways we didn’t know were possible. I was able to spend more time with him (and his sister) this past summer than I originally thought possible. J.R.’s work has been flexible in the transition. I get to take Marleigh to school every morning, something I wasn’t able to do before. Despite the struggles, we have persevered even if we look and feel haggard. We are greatly and richly blessed.
As 2017 draws to a close, the word I keep coming back to is
For a mother of two (one of those being a nursed baby), who works full time, is involved in church ministry and community organizations this word should scare me to death. How can I engage anymore than I already do? We are already burning both ends of both our candles.
The definition of engage means to occupy, attract, or involve , but it is the synonyms that really resonate with me. To capture, captivate, absorb and hold. I recently read this quote:
“And every day, the world will drag
you by the hand, yelling, “This is Important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, ut it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” –Ian Thomas
As a classic overachiever I believe that I can be all things to all people. Surprisingly I manage fairly well. I thrive on the busyness of life. I LOVE IT! At this point someone would probably chime in, “it’s the children that suffer!” and they would probably be right to a point. The fact is however, Marleigh has gotten fairly used to this way of life and she rolls along with it just fine. We would train Baylor up the same way. I’m finding that engaging for me isn’t going to be getting involved in all the things, but rather finding the things that matter and putting my whole heart and soul into them. My choice to “step back” and engage more isn’t about having more time…it’s about making quality time in the areas where my family is loved, supported, and built into so we can grow. I’m choosing to let go of our fluff. To not get involved unless it benefits all four of us. To find real meaning in what we do and who we are. I am actually excited to see where this road leads us…and with help, the chaff will burn itself away a little easier each time.
Putting my hand on my heart and settling my mind into what I truly believe will be a pivotal year on Lawrence Lane, I’m looking forward to engaging in 2018.