My facebook prompt this morning said, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” and I drew a blank.
Yes, I’ve begun the “Bible in One Year” plan, just as I have every year. (I’ve read Genesis and Matthew a jillion times by now.) I’ve begun a new devotional book. (It’s the One Thousand Gifts devotional and I love it already.)
But other than that…I can’t come up with a New Year’s resolution. And I’m not going to.
I made some resolutions when I woke up on November 19th. I resolved to be better. A better lover of Jesus, a better wife, a better mother, a better sister, a better daughter, a better friend, a better part of the body of Christ. I want to pray without ceasing, I want to love BIG and love WELL, I want to forgive easily, look for joy in all circumstances and be a blessing to those I’ve been blessed with.
It’s a change of life, not a resolution.
Last year, on January 1st, I made a blog entry on a blog I hadn’t done much with. It began a journey of writing for me that has changed me from the inside out. On January 2nd, in my blog Caroline and the Puddle, I said, “I want this year to mark a change in my life.” And it has. I have learned to find joy in hard things, I’ve learned to count blessings instead of aggravations. I’ve learned that life is a gift and every minute is a gift and that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. I have fallen more in love with Jesus as I’ve looked for the little gifts He gives me every day. 2012 did mark a change in my life, and it wasn’t because I made a bunch of resolutions. It’s because I cried out for change and it’s because my heart was soft and open.
As time went by, God put things in my path to help change me. He led me to teachings and sermons and podcasts that were about being positive, even in adversity, and He led me to the book “1000 Gifts” which has changed my heart forever.
And isn’t it a good thing that it did?
It’s as though I was in boot camp, in training for all that was to come in 2012.
Last night, I lay awake (again) until around 2:30am, marveling at the good things God has given me. I was able to honestly thank Him for things that seemed awful at the time.
For the hard things that led to the collapse of my table, I said thank you. Hard things that HURT but now I can see how He redeemed those things, how He’s used them. For the two babies I lost, Peter and Asher…I am thankful. And those words cost to type and to feel because I wanted those two babies. But they are souls with eternal significance. And they serve a purpose in heaven…they are gifts and I am thankful for the time I carried them in my womb and for the glimpses God gave me of who they are and for their places in our family and in the kingdom of God. I miss them both but I will see them again.
For all that happened in November…I am so thankful. Even for my water breaking in the first place. If that hadn’t happened…who knows if Nora and I would’ve survived. My water breaking meant I was in Norfolk with the specialists, right beside CHKD (which she didn’t end up needing). Did you know that Norfolk Sentara not only has an amazing NICU, but they also have an amazing trauma center…and that is why they had enough blood on hand for me. Maternal Fetal Medicine, for all that I complained about wait times and lack of bedside manner, they were equipped to handle placenta accreta because they specialize in scary, weird, obscure obstetrical things. They spotted it the day I was admitted and they figured out how best to handle it. My water breaking, a scary and hard thing…God used it to save us. The hardest trial of my life, which I’m still kind of working through, it’s something to be grateful for.
I can be thankful in the hard things. It means a laying down, a sacrifice of entitlement, bitterness, self pity. And God knows that the sacrifice costs…He sees that and He honors my obedience in the midst of pain and hard things. He sees.
And this post isn’t meant to be “Look who evolved and holy I am.” because I’m decidedly not. Just this moment, I am in a standoff with Claire because she wants to type and I’m trying to blog and I am irritated. I say to my inner me, “You know, when writing a blog about being thankful, you should probably not feel so annoyed with your two year old, who is a precious gift.” (That precious gift has now abandoned typing and is yanking things off the Christmas tree. I’m going to pretend not to notice until I’m done.) There are times when I feel so annoyed by the petty stuff that I cry real tears and then feel stupid for getting upset about things that don’t even matter. I’m trying to be evolved and holy, but Beloved Ones, all I can do is try. Wait, not try…all I can do is practice.
Because when we practice something, we get better and better at it.
In a year, I’ve gotten better and better at being thankful. I’ve gotten better and better at keeping Poor Me and her stupid friends away from my doorstep. I think I’ve gotten better at Loving Well, but I know I can always grow in it.
And so this year, I’m not going to make any resolutions. I’m not going to say that I’m going to keep my house clean finally at the age of forty or read the classics to the children at bedtime or start excercising every day or adhere to the Dave Ramsey financial plan 100%. I’m just not. Those are all good things and certainly I don’t think resolutions are without value…but for me, now that I’m living a life I almost didn’t get to live…I just want to Love Well. I want to keep on changing and evolving.
I want to live a life of fullness and gratitude. I don’t want to miss a thing.
What about you? What will change your life this year?