It’s almost a month into the new year, yet I feel like it’s January 1st. Grant and I spent a month in Orlando with family over the holidays (with John coming back and forth for work), and we’re just getting settled back into Atlanta. During the month in Florida we also…
…had one trip to the ER (Grant had a 104.5 degree fever + a bad cough and labored breathing)
…took Grant to Urgent Care twice (he got a respiratory virus which turned into bronchiolitis and an ear infection)
…had a quick visit to the dentist (we thought Grant was getting a tooth behind his two bottom teeth but it ended up being a bad sore from all his viruses that was causing a lot of pain)
…and we all got the stomach bug (Grant, me, John, my Dad, John’s mom, and one of John’s sisters)
Needless to say that once all the sickness passed and Grant was back to sleeping through the night/napping, we were all ready for some rest! I had intentions to write updates on months 10 – 12 for Grant, recap our Europe trip, and set our theme for 2017 (not to mention work on my dissertation) during my time away but alas, here I am.
Every year, John and I choose a theme for our family to focus on. For Christmas I gave him a collage of all of our yearly themes since we started in 2013, and we have it propped up on our dresser. I love the visual reminder of our journey through different seasons and what focus we needed during that time.
Last year we meditated on God’s “perfect love” (1 John 4:18) for us as we navigated life as new parents. However, as Grant grows older, I’m quick to forget God’s perfect love in light of pressures to figure out toddlerhood – like teaching patience or the word “no” and transitioning to “big kid” things like sippy cups and utensils. When naps don’t happen or we’re plagued by sickness for three straight weeks, exhaustion can replace remembrance of God’s faithfulness. In light of what Ann Voskamp calls “soul amnesia,” our word for 2017 is Trust.
What is it that I trust in?
When I’m at my most anxious, I often don’t flee to God for refuge. Instead, I trust in my own performance or others’ approval of me, which leads to doubt and despair. Why do I think that holding onto these “adversaries of the soul” will serve me better than releasing them to the One who promises peace and life? And I begin to wonder: Do I really believe that God’s desire is for me to enjoy him because I am his beloved?
But when I trust in God’s promises – I am loved no matter what; God is always present with me; He brings light to the darkness; “God intends something gloriously grand here and is making decisions that will bring it about” – then I can begin to replace fleeting happiness with deep joy, perfection with contentment, and my plan for His peace.
I started the year a bit stressed because we don’t have a clear vision for my work or Grant’s preschool rhythms. Grant – and us! – are adjusting to a new school option for him, and it’s hard to trust that each week will get easier. There’s also a couple different work opportunities that I have, and it’s easy to slip into anxiety about making what seem like big, important decisions. In reality, I can wake up each morning with the sound of the Father’s loving voice and go to sleep each night trusting in Him, knowing that He will point out the road for us to travel. This assurance is from Psalm 143, which is our anthem for the year:
Listen to this prayer of mine, God;
pay attention to what I’m asking.
Answer me—you’re famous for your answers! …
I remembered the old days,
went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked,
Stretched out my hands to you,
as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain…
If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel;
I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God—
you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,
because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit
into cleared and level pastureland.