I’ve declared December a “no-blog zone” for me over the last few years, so this will be my final blog of 2016.
Check out my top 5 lessons from this past year…
5. Room is necessary.
As a parent, it’s scary to leave room for your child to make decisions. It seems so much easier to come up with the answers and determine the plan yourself. This year, Chris and I had to trust the Lord to show our children His best for them in a few specific ways. We certainly could’ve chosen another route, but what came from asking the Lord to reveal His best to them directly will bear so much more fruit than another directive from mom and dad. It was scary (what if they made the wrong decision?)… but God is the ultimate parent and He was faithful.
4. Never say never.
I started out the year exploring the idea of taking Miss Perfect to a publisher. I deeply believe that 21st century women need to know that peace and freedom are possible; we don’t have to succumb to the pressure that we often self-inflict. Much to my surprise, and a long journey I’ll have to explain later, I now find myself writing on another topic… the one topic I swore I’d avoid. Funny how God works. Never say never. Our ministry has been built on being transparent and real. It’s going to get very real in the coming year.
3. Rules alone won’t be enough.
I’ve spent more money on meals out that I’d like to admit. By now, you know that I don’t love cooking! I do, however, love saving money. Those competing values often get me stirred up. Meals out aren’t the secret for every family, but they’ve been a worthy investment for ours. Along the way, I’ve been known to wring my hands and grumble… but the money has been used to steal some undistracted, uninterrupted time away with the 3 people I do life with. There will be days of leftovers and penny pinching again soon, but as the 4 of us drove home from dinner recently, Mark said, “I really like my family.” Annika chimed in to agree. At that moment, I knew the money wasn’t wasted but invested.
At one point early in my parenting, I thought that if I had the right rules, my kids would turn out right. I’m so grateful I realized before it was too late that there’s so much more to parenting than having the answers, the schedule, the grades, or the rules all right.
2. Real peace only comes from Christ.
“Love people where you are and take as many of them to heaven with you as you can.” This is easy to say intellectually, but when it’s spoken from someone who’s had to endure deep loss, it strikes a more intimate place. Only the Lord gives us the peace and strength we need to carry on when the world feels like it’s falling apart. Only Christ can give us what we need in order to remember why we’re here. Whether by death, divorce, disease or some other pain, the Lord truly is our hope. He is the One who can comfort when no human answer will quite do. He is the One who carries us when we don’t think we can make it through the darkest hours. He is tested and true.
1. Treasure each day.
If there’s a gift to gain from walking with people during some of their darkest days, it’s the gift of perspective. Recently, the perspective has been a bit much. People who I care deeply about have had to say goodbye to loved ones. On an easier level, though, I was also reminded of this lesson as Chris and I sat with our kids on Sunday evening. It was a chance to take a deep breath before the hurry and scurry that all of us are feeling before we get to Christmas break. As college tuition deposits are made, I’m equally reminded that there’s something to savor in each season of life. The seasons quickly come and go. Enjoy each one and make the most of each day God gives you. We’re not promised tomorrow.
Won’t you share some of your takeaways from 2016 in the comments? I’d love to read what you’ve learned throughout this past year.
I’m so grateful for each of you who follow my blog. Merry Christmas… and I’ll see you again the first Tuesday in January!