Monday, January 2, 2012

Quite the Year.

I have been spending some time thinking back over all that this year has held for us. It's been quite a busy, quite a blessed, and quite a difficult year for our family. By difficult, I don't been bad or terrible. But we have definitely been put to the test, stretched in ways that we've never been before. We experienced lots of pruning and trial by fire, but I think that we have seen the Lord at work in our lives in great ways. For me, this year has been a year of growth in trusting the Lord, letting go more and more, little by little of my own control of life and things and desires for comfort. I have learned to love my husband more, love my children more, and love the Lord more. I have seen how God provides and blesses despite my efforts and in spite of my efforts.

I think this year can best be summed up by the word "perseverance." We have done much persevering through these little years with our little ones. Four year old. Two year old. Seven month old. Our days are very busy, very full, and very fun. The Lord has blessed us with many responsibilities in these little ones. Also, Jonathan has just begun his second year of owning his own practice. He has had to grow and stretch as a leader of several employees as well as making sure he is doing all he can to make his practice successful and productive. He leads our family so well every day. He also leads our Care Group which requires time and commitments and energy to pour into the lives of others that we love. These are all wonderful gifts from the Lord, and we have had such a fun year investing ourselves into all of these things.

This year Nora became a girl right before our eyes. There's no baby left in there, and more and more each day we see her maturing into a young lady. She has such a desire to learn and experience things. She's so curious and insightful. She certainly has a mind like a steel trap, never forgetting anything. She has such a desire to please and a heart to help. Granted, there are days when we see otherwise, but for the most part, she is a wonderful helper and a great big sister. Nora has developed a love for coloring and creating. She still loves her books and reading time, and pretending with her dolls, Barbies, or other toys is still a high priority. I wonder what this next year will hold for our girl? School. Reading books for real. Growing in love for her brother and sister. I anticipate every day with Nora.

This year Liam did so much changing. He was still a baby last January, but now he's nearly three. Just tonight, I sat in the kitchen watching him peel a banana, putting the peel in the trash. He was talking to me about something the whole time he did it. I said, "When did you get so big?" He replied, "I'm big, Mom." Always in that deep, gruff monotone. Then he changed his mind. "I'm not big, Mom. I'm little." (Ok, so when did he start calling me 'Mom'?) Liam went from just barely running and having a paci to a boy that is full-spirited, full-energy, and the character of our family. He has the sweetest heart and the richest personality. He loves to tell knock-knock jokes, kiss his baby sister, and play with his best friend Nora. I think that is probably one of my favorite things about this year: the relationship between my kiddos. It's hard to imagine how much more Liam will mature in the coming year. Maybe he'll be riding his bike? Coloring for longer than 20 seconds? Finally going to bed in a big boy bed? Potty-trained? Oh. It's going to be busy.

Stella is the highlight of our year. The best addition we could have gained. Never has there been a sweeter baby. My sweet potato. She's a respite to her Momma's busy days, and I am so thankful she loves to be held and hugged. Everyone in our family adores her and can't help but smile and welcome her when we see her. Stella will change the most this next year. Surely she'll be walking and babbling and learning how to get into trouble. She'll have her first bruises and love her first baby dolls. She'll probably get into her brother and sister's things and start to drive them crazy. She'll probably test my patience and continue to steal her Daddy's heart. My heart hurts just thinking about how quickly her days have gone by so far.

2012 will surely hold many blessings and wonderful memories. I am also certain it will carry the theme of persevering through busy days. These days seem long sometimes, but the weeks pass quickly. And the years with my kiddos pass even faster.

For myself, I think I have lots of room for growth. Trusting the Lord and letting go of my self-reliance is something I will always need to grow in, but I think over the past few months I have been complaining too much. I need to improve in that area. Already I find myself trying to muster up the resolve to "suck it up" and "be cheerful." But, that is my self-reliance trying to prove to myself that I can do this on my own, in my own strength. I need a heart change instead. I need to grow in my love for the Lord so that there is less love for me. I like myself too much, lately. I like my comfort too much. So, here's to dying to myself a little more each day for the glory of God. May my children love God more in 2012 because of the way I've loved them. May my husband love the Lord more in 2012 because of the way I have loved and served him. May I love the Lord more in 2012 because I have spent more time in His word and at His feet. May it be so, Lord.

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