Two weeks into the New Year and I can already tell people are back into their humming life routines. For example, I’m still saying “Happy New Year,” to those out and about and you can see people almost flinch and look at the date on their watch before responding, “Oh yeah, Happy New Year.” Yeah, that’s right people, it’s only fourteen days into 2018, you can slow down, breathe, enjoy.
What is it about January that feels more “hustle and bustle” than the Holiday expectations of November and December?
Well, if you are even an ounce like me, it’s because you begin the year with goals and expectations, dreams and to-do lists, tasks and their “accomplish by dates.” I’m exhausted by the time I make my list, much less begin it (maybe that’s just the pregnancy talking). But regardless, too many expectations are wearying, life-draining. Believe me. Been there, bought the t-shirt.
So, what if you simplified the whole goal setting rat-race and instead chose a simple way to focus in on your year? What if you picked just one word, a theme word of the year to guide you? Now, if you’ve been following along friends, you know the last few years, God has chosen to really speak to me through my theme word.
2015, the year of Adventure.
2016, the year of Restoration.
2017, the year of Whimsy.
So, I’m feeling it this year. Big shoes to fill. How will I ever compete with my God-ordained Year of Whimsy? The good news, I don’t have to. And, even better news, God will show up regardless.
So, for months, I’ve really been praying about my word. Long before I knew I was expecting. I honestly try not to choose a word myself but really wait for God to place that word either before my eyes, sometimes literally through another author, or as simply as a voice in my heart.
Now being the word-nerd that I am, I do want it to be a cool word. Something fun, legit, and you know, whimsical perhaps (wink, wink). But as much as my head is trying to fight it, I feel God calling my heart in a completely different direction, a more slowed down, simplified direction. So, God you win. I’m not even going to try to fight you on this (I don’t have the energy). If you are calling me to a life of simplicity for 2018 then I am going to listen and obey. After all, doing things my own way has only ever left me frustrated, annoyed, and crawling back to you. I think I’ll save my knees the groundwork this year.
So, with all that said, God keeps putting the most unassuming word in my heart for 2018 and that word is “firsts.” Yes, a year of firsts is clearly in the works for both Jason and I. There are so many things that we will experience this year for the very first time, maybe for the only time. I am already anxiously awaiting all those firsts.
The first time I get to feel them move (come on boys, any day now).
The first time Jason gets to feel them move.
The first time I get to decorate that nursery that has sat empty for two years.
The first time I get to deliver.
The first time I get to see them, hold them, sing to them, kiss them.
The first time Jason will ever hold a baby, and change a diaper.
The first time I get up in the middle of the night to feed them.
The first time they acknowledge me, reach towards me. Crawl, walk, talk.
It will truly be an exciting, and at the same time, terrifying year of firsts.
But yet, with all the anticipation and joy in the air, I’m still honestly guarding my heart.
I don’t bring up my pregnancy in conversation unless prompted.
I haven’t bought anything, registered for anything, or even pinned anything that wasn’t first trimester food hacks (yeah, that’s a whole separate conversation).
I spoke with my counselor about my reservations (who by the way, still cannot get over my miraculous twin pregnancy). You know, I honestly think that has been my greatest joy this season, in seeing the joy in the eyes of those who are watching these miracles first-hand; my husband, my parents, in-laws, and dearest friends. I know I’m a miracle. I know they are miracles. I know God is using my life and my experiences as a living testimony of the Hope that can only be found in Him. Then why am I finding it so hard to delight and relish in this God joy?
I feel tremendous guilt and fear about this. Aren’t those the two things I just spent 2017 trying to shake off and work through? You know, that’s the thing about sin, you give it a cookie and it’ll ask for a glass a milk, and the next thing you know, it has commandeered your entire pantry.
As my wise counselor said, “Natalie, you can’t serve two masters. So, who’s it going to be? The Father or the fear.”
So, I’m turning back to God. I’m turning back to the simplicity that He is steering me towards. A year of firsts won’t just be about me. It won’t just be about Jason and the twins, and all that we’ll experience this first year as a family of six (Aussie and Quigley clearly included, start praying for them now).
A year of firsts will be a daily beckoning back to Him. Putting God first in my heart, my head, my home, my marriage, and my mothering. I don’t have the answers. I don’t have the energy. And pretty soon, I won’t have the margin. But I choose to turn the One who holds the answers, the vitality, and the space, knowing that without His guidance and daily grace, I’ll never be able to survive (or thrive) this year of firsts.
Friends, it’s not too late. We still have 351 days left in 2018. Slow down. Play along. And maybe even choose to pray about how God can speak to you and work through you using just one word. And if you choose a word, share it with me. I’d be honored to return the favor by following along and cheering you on.
So, here’s to fresh starts. A new year. Simplicity. And a year of firsts
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation