(Stick with me to the end to find out the latest news for this space and something that’s coming up in the new year.)
It was in the early morning hours that I first experienced 2017. I didn’t quite make it to the chiming in of the new year this year. I woke up and walked to the bathroom, something that just hours earlier was nearly impossible for me to do. My last day of 2016 was spent in the bed with a bad case of vertigo. The room spun and spun. Walking was impossible. The only thing I could do was lay still with my head positioned one of two ways to experience some relief of the symptoms. This health issue was immediately preceded by a 24 hour stomach bug. So, I actually spent the last 2 days of 2016 laying in bed feeling rough.
It was a rather appropriate way to wrap up this year that is accurately described as one of the roughest I’ve ever experienced.
2015 was a tough year too, so this time last year I was hopeful that 2016 would be better. The newness of things, though holding uncertainty, also usually holds hope in my mind; hope that things will work out and will be better than they were before.
I had no idea the challenges that laid ahead, some of the toughest of my life. I had no idea how the Lord would challenge me and make me wrestle through my word for 2016… contentment.
Over the past few years I have enjoyed goal-setting and reflecting on the year behind and the year ahead using a method by Lara Casey, a christian blogger and author. Her process of thinking through goals is so different and wonderful. (I highly recommend you checking out her process here.) One of the steps that she encourages is to pick a word for the year, and rather quickly I came up with the word contentment. Since 2015 was a rough year, I was hopeful for 2016 and wanted to grow in contentment where Jesus had me and my family, believing it would be better than the year before.
Again, I had no clue what was in store for us.
- Business that was a “sure thing” for my husband unexpectedly fell through.
- He and another business partner had most of their tools for their construction job stolen.
- We struggled financially, unlike we ever had before.
- One of my best friends moved across the country.
- We came face to face with seeing that our life, as a married couple with 3 kids, was not all where we thought it would be in our mid-thirties.
- I was often discouraged and very fearful due to the circumstances surrounding my family.
- My own personal ventures didn’t work out.
- Other things we hoped for didn’t work out either.
This is just a bit of what we faced, and doesn’t even touch on all the social and political craziness that happened. All around, it was a rough year.
In midst of all the hard that immediately surrounded me, I had to face some tough questions, the toughest being..
If nothing in my life, not a single hard thing, changed, would I be ok? Can I be ok with God if these tough circumstances are the lot that the He has for me?
I wrote about this and shared some things that I learned in a blog post a few months back, and it perfectly shows how my heart was feeling stripped and my foundation was feeling shaky. And I think, really, truly, in the most honest part of myself, that this hard, tough year, wrought with challenges and learning lessons, has been the very best things for me to have walked through.
My foundation, though shaky as it was at times, has come out on the other side much more sound and sure. And for that, I wouldn’t change a single thing about this crazy, hard year.
I know that I can live and do with a whole lot less than I ever thought I could.
I know that the ONLY thing that will ever truly and fully satisfy me is Jesus.
I know that if in my life nothing ever changes and struggles continue to come, I have way more than I deserve in Jesus.
And though this year was hard, mingled in were some beautiful moments, like the pictures mingled here within this post. My husband and I grew closer and our “team” mentality was deeply steady this year. Our circumstances brought us closer, and I’m so thankful for that. My kids continue to amaze me with the things they are learning, their capacity to love and forgive others, and their genuine excitement with the smallest things. It’s so beautiful to see. We took trips, visited with friends and family, and learned more about the beauty to be found in a simple life. I’m thankful, so very thankful, for the good that was found in the days of 2016.
In midst of settling on the word contentment for last year, I also settled on this verse in Philippians and looked at it everyday in my kitchen:
“…For I have learned that in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
It’s a big pet peeve of mine when people use this verse out of it’s context, but in context it is an incredibly beautiful thought to cling to. We can face any circumstance, any dreadful or wonderful situation that comes our way, because of Christ who is supplying what we need and strengthening us, come what may.
Ultimately, here is what I’m taking away with from last year and walking into 2017 with…
I’m seeing Jesus as my only hope and my only peace and my only satisfaction. I am seeing him as the source for facing the days ahead, no matter what they contain. I am looking ahead with confidence to 2017, without fear or worry, because the one who has established all my days before there was even one is good, kind, and can be trusted. I know He loves me, so I will walk without fear.
I hope you will join me with that same vision as we enter this new year.
Update and New Things Ahead…
Friends, I have had this what-is-perfect space for almost 4 years, and what started out as a place to share about my handmade goods and Etsy shop has transformed to something different.
I love writing, and I have grown to love sharing words of hope and help. Writing was another of the better things that came from 2016. Sharing about my faith, parenting, life and marriage, and homeschooling has become the emphasis here, and with that has come the desire to shift gears a bit and change some things up.
I’m so very excited to announce that I am in the process of building a new space on the interwebs to more clearly reflect myself and my message with you. The heart behind this change and the new website will be to offer words of hope and cast vision for the greater purposes we have during our time on this earth.
And I would love for you to come along with me!
Until the new website is complete, you can connect with me on Facebook here. I would love for you to come and like my page and to stay up to date and connected with all that’s going on.
Also, something I am really excited about, is starting a newsletter to connect with my readers a little more! This has been a desire of mine for a while, and I’m so happy to get it going! Those in my newsletter community will be the first to know all that’s going on, as well as other exclusive things! I would be honored if you would jump in and be a part of that community as I take some big steps and pursue some big goals for the year ahead. Head over to my email newsletter sign up here to get in on that! (I promise, promise I will never spam you or waste your time! Only good things there!)
So that will do it for what-is-perfect.com. Thank you for walking with me here, and hopefully walking with me in the days ahead! I can’t wait to share all the new, good stuff with you and see what 2017 will bring our way! ❤