2017 in a nutshell for our family;

Our nonprofit, Bastion Ministries, built a dream wall (follow neworleansdreamwall on instagram to see updates). My hubby had 2 art exhibitions at local art galleries. We had a wonderful beach vacation with our little family in Florida and a fun country vacation with extended family in Virginia. Jeremy and I went on a rest retreat with close friends. We’ve continued to invest in and enjoy the relationships God gives  us, including our community group and my MOPS table. I was able to close this year out releasing my new blog that has been a side project for me for a little while. Our kids have grown, matured and brought lots of fun and laughter into our lives. In all of this we are thankful to the Giver of all these good gifts. Not every moment of this year was picture perfect, but all of the moments contributed to the greater story of who we are as a family and throughout it all we grew stronger together.

For me, this was a year of learning to slow down and live a more present life.

My word for 2017 was “be”. I am naturally a doer. When stuff hits the fan my instinct is to jump into action, thinking that doing anything is better than doing nothing. This often ends me up in striving mode- trying to make things happen.

It means I suffer with trying to control things rather than sitting back and watching, discerning, and letting them play out. All too often my response is to jump into action- usually before I have all of the information.

When Jeremy and I argue and things feel out of control I respond by cooking or cleaning, by doing something in which I know that if I take certain steps, I will get certain results.

Often these approaches make my circumstances/ situation worse, rather than helping.

Going into this year I felt a sense that God wanted to teach me how to “be still and know” (Psalm 46:10). To BE fully engaged and present with my God and the people around me at all times. To know at a heart level that I don’t have to earn my worth by doing, but to let it sink in that God (and others) love me for who I am, not for what I do for them.

I went into this year thinking that my lesson this year would be all about not doing a lot of stuff. Less activity, ceasing striving. More stillness. I thought of it in the practical, everyday ordinary activity sense. I thought I would say no more, stop volunteering to meet every need I was aware of and work on letting go of my to do list so that I could embrace stillness. I thought this would look like leaving laundry unfolded and dirty dishes sitting in the sink so that I could sit on the couch and engage my family in the evenings. And it did look like that. I learned time and time again to be more like Mary- choosing presence over performance.

Then as the year drew to a close it became clear that God had another dimension of freedom He wanted to take me into. He started showing me how most of the time I spend with Him is rooted in action- raising my hands and singing in worship, reading my Bible, praying and talking at Him all too much. He started teaching me how to simply be with Him. Not always singing, reading, praying and performing for Him but sitting still, listening, receiving. I am still growing in my ability to do all of this, but these lessons have been profound and I am forever changed as a result.

2017 was a year of embracing Immanuel- God with us, and consciously being with Him throughout the highs and lows, the ordinary moments, awakening to His constant presence.


Did you have a word for 2017? If so, what was it, what did you learn?