1. I learned that I don’t want to stay the same.
I don’t want to stay the same each year. I want my heart to grow, and expand. I want to continue to be transformed. I want my heart to be soft enough to keep changing. I hope my mercy and compassion for people grows each year, along with the desire to understand people who are very different from me.
2. I learned I need friends.
I wrote this post called Three Little Words That Ignite Friendships. And they are, “I need you.” It’s hard for me to verbally say that. But I feel stronger with friends. I feel happier and more connected. I need friends that encourage me, and recieve encouragement from me, too. (I also learned that if you don’t have any good friends, and keep praying that God will give them to you: He will!)
3. I learned I need to be more heart, and less attack.
Thanks to a Pandora station, I stumbled into the band Needtobreathe this year–and I’m so glad I did. Their song, “More heart, and Less Attack,” has become a breathing song for me. I didn’t really care for it at first–but the more I listened–the words are just perfect. I want this to be a mantra for the year to come.
Especially toward my husband, I want to be “more heart, and less attack.”
4. I learned I have a tendency toward heaviness.
Realizing this is helpful–because I can bring that heaviness to others. And that’s something I want to be careful not to do–or to do too much. I am drawn toward sad things, and I can easily get lost in tragedies. I can become paralyzed by fear. I don’t want to use my words to make people feel burdened. I want my words to help lift the burden.
5. I learned of an author named Emily Weirenga.
I read her first memoir Atlas Girl, and am now on her second Making It Home. And she feels like a soul sister to me. She knows the language of the soul and how to soothe it. Her authenticity is refreshing to me–and reading about her life unlocks something in my heart–in a way that typical Christian non-fiction cannot.
I had forgotten the power of good writing–how the words move something in my spirit. And how my soul longs for something more than just “information” in this crazy over-loading information age. I don’t need more books about information. I need a living, breathing person, and stories–and that’s what I find in her.
You can find her site here.
6. I learned I want to sing more love songs with my husband.
It’s something we’ve never done before. But I want to. I want to sing love songs with him, and I want to fall deeper in love with him, too.
Because, he is really amazing.
I read the book “Redeeming Love,” by Francine Rivers last February, and it broke something in me. I wanted to love more tenderly after that, because God’s love for us is so tender and passionate and good. And I think marriage should reflect that love more than anything.
7. I learned that God’s plans are a lot better than mine.
I spent so many nights this summer scrolling through Zillow and Realtor.com apps hoping I might run across our “dream home.” I would get frustrated and hopeless with the market, and the houses, and prices. I was dissapointed when a house we bid on fell through.
But, all along God had prepared a house for us just down the road. I’m so thankful our plans didn’t work out. And His did.
He is always more at work than we think He is–even when it looks like things are falling through.
8. I learned being a mom is one of the greatest pleasures of my life.
I continue to learn more from this little girl–than almost anyone. She brings me so much laughter and joy and so many happy tears. Watching her grow is one of the best gifts I’ve ever experienced–and I thank God that He let me be her mom.
These just are few things that have shaped my year. (And I’m sorry if this post seems kind of self-focused.) But I just had to take some time to reflect on what God has done, and where He is leading me. I hope you take some time to thank Him for what He has taught you this year, too.
I sketched this in my journal the other morning, and I want it to be my theme for 2016: Open Arms
I want my arms to fall open like a book.
Because the posture of surrender,
and the posture of receiving
is the same.
Come Lord, do all that you have in mind.
I open my arms completely
I hope wherever He has lead you this year, and whever He leads you in the year to come, your arms will fall open like a book.
And you will open them wider than ever before.
And embrace all He has for you.