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Wedding anniversary #6 was spent living separately because Joel was renovating the inside of our home and #7 we were living together, yet amidst the sawdust of sweat equity as Joel was renovating the outside of our home. So this past weekend, we made up for some lost time and had an aaaamazing belated anniversary celebration.
My blessed mother-in-love kept our kids for two, count them, two nights. Friday night was spent detoxing and defragmenting. (Does it take you a day or so to actually unwind and relax? It totally does me.) We chilled in Oxford and really enjoyed our charming town. It’s so great to “visit” your own town, isn’t it? Especially Oxford, ya’ll. The foodie scene here is legittttt. (Please, please, pretty please come visit!) We thoroughly enjoyed vegetating in our own home sans Nerf darts and Frozen flash mobs. (Grateful for those cherished children, but “even lovers need a holiday.”)
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the cooking class we attended at the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, MS. We were total nerds and loved learning how not to disturb the starch molecules while making Guanciale Mashed Potatoes and how to make a Bearnaise Sauce that wouldn’t fall apart. We ate it up. Literally and figuratively. But even better than the decadent Peanut Butter Pie was the conversation that was had as we reviewed 2014 and dreamed, prayed, planned and set goals for 2015.
We used a great list of marital check-up questions that Joel’s mentor sent us and then we walked through Michael Hyatt’s Annual Review. These guides helped us think through family highlights, ministry wins, themes God has used to teach us, things we were proud of, disappointments, regrets, lessons learned, etc. It was incredibly refreshing for BOTH the ESFJ and the IS/NTP. That is saying something, people.
In addition to looking back and looking ahead in our marriage and family life, this is my second year to use PowerSheets, as a guide to review and plan for the coming New Year. In the messy middle of EVERY year, I get discouraged and feel like I am distant from God, my own soul and my ideals, but looking back at my PowerSheets from this year, I was encouraged to see, ON PAPER, that God HAS been growing me, I HAVE wrestled with sin, I HAVE heard from Him and my core IS STILL my calling.
So, what did I learn in 2014?
- God taught me that I am not great…He is. I am not the focus. I am HIS and I am HIDDEN in Him. I am tethered to this party of four…therefore I AM THEIRS. I am replaceable, yet precious. Someone else can execute every one of my roles, but no one can be his wife or their mom. I can say “My life for yours” because He gave His life for me.
- God taught me that I can wear Day 2 hair.
- God taught me that the state of my heart is the state of my home. My floors can be dirty, but my heart can not be.
- God taught me that date nights are cheaper than marriage counseling and if our marriage isn’t prioritized (over children) on our calendar and in our hearts, we’ll be paying for both.
- God taught me I have anger issues.
- God taught me that if my love and service has any strings attached, (the need for a pat on the back) it wasn’t really love at all. Living sacrifices don’t require pats on the back. Because God loves me FOR FREE I can love them for free too.
- God taught me that daily I must choose pain for the benefit of others, lay down my life and my will for them. It was with JOY that He did this first for me. His glory. My sweat.
- God taught me that I am a writer.
- God taught me that I must value quality time > a clean and quiet home. Daily I must choose to graciously welcome and invite my family into a home that is meant for them–not me. I GET to welcome the loud with arms wide open. Both a home and a mother are built for vision and wear and tear, not preserved for perfection! My all is to be used up, dried out and banged up for His glory.
- God taught me to choose them now. There will be plenty of time for work (and sleep) later.
- God taught me that the joy of motherhood comes camouflaged in much chaos.
- God taught me to serve Joel for Jesus’ sake.
- God taught me that podcasts rock.
- God taught me to let them be little and to make peace with their brokenness because it allows the focus to be on the Healer.
- God taught me that it’s not too late.
- God taught me that adoration is the key.
- God taught me we don’t need TV year-round.
- God taught me that I am not defined by anything other than the Trinity’s view of me.
- God taught me to daily silence the inner drill sergeant in order to tune into the indwelling Spirit.
- God taught me that having fun plans on the calendar gets our family excited about life.
- God taught me that I am afraid of being tired.
- God taught me that automating as many areas of life as possible is a total win.
- God taught me to create rituals and rhythms for ordinary days and for holiday seasons.
- God taught me that not one inch of life is going to be done in my own strength.
- God taught me that He has so much more to teach me.
Now, tell me about YOU. How was your year, in general and specifically? Have you made space to exhale last year and inhale the hope of a fresh start? What dreams, plans and goals are stirring in your heart? What did God teach you this year? I’d love to hear! And if I don’t hear from you before tomorrow…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
P.S. I am a completely overwhelming goob when it comes to planning…Jan 1 is my most wonderful time of the year!! :) Email me if you want to templates, resources or help with this topic. On the other hand, my friend, Jessi, wrote a less-goob-more-grace post, if you want a gentle format to help you think and plan for the coming year. xoxo