Anyone who knows me knows I hate New Year's Resolutions.
Perhaps it began as rebellion against pointless school homework.
Maybe it's because I generally hate change.
Or my inborn anxiety of the future.
I'd like to think it has more to do
with a distaste for navel-gazing, and self aggrandizement.
Also, I never saw the point of sitting around
thinking about all the ways I am not good enough yet,
and how to really buckle down and be perfect.
This year brought massive unforeseen changes into our life as a family.
I am writing this from the other coast,
and mere weeks from giving birth to a surprise baby.
My parents and siblings have been geographically scattered this year.
We began last year in only two places: New England and Africa.
By fall we were scattered into five.
I didn't see that coming.
I hoped some day we could take our kids to see the country.
We took the 4700 mile route to the new state,
stopping in various places to spend the night and eat a meal or two with family.
My kids told me that Niagara Falls was even more amazing than Disneyland --
both of which they got to visit this year.
I dreamed of train travel,
and in the spring my daughter Elisa and I got four days of train travel
like heroines of old.
That was not in my plans.
Christmas Day, I dug out the four journals that covered 2013, and began reading.
These are where I write things down.
Funny things the kids said;
devastating fears that I pour out and beg God for rescue from;
Scriptures He soothes me with;
hopes for my family;
confessions of failure and my need of mercy;
prayers for my husband, children, parents, grandparents,
brothers, sisters, in-laws,
brothers and sisters in the Lord,
churches on three continents,
friends who are suffering,
enemies who are hurting me;
anxieties that are overwhelming me;
praises for answered prayers;
inadequate thanks for blessings I don't deserve;
records of phone calls received out of the blue;
and notations of positive pregnancy tests,
and movements of new life felt.
You see, I have a story to tell.
A story that has been going on a long time, and that isn't ended yet.
A story of weakness and loss
filled with strength and hope.
A story of infertility crowned with children.
A story of trembling faith going forward anyway.
Of unexpectedly expecting.
Of saying 'yes' in spite of fear.
Of God's faithfulness and light.
It has encouraged my mind and my heart to read my fears and prayers,
the promises of God I wrote down,
and how He helped me this last year.
I have few resolutions for this coming year.
I hope I trust Him better,
because He is trustworthy.
I hope I love Him better,
because He has loved me so.
I hope I know Him better,
because He knows me: all my fears, all my failures, and all my hopes.
He has been faithful to me,
and He astounds me with His kindness.
And all my fruit is found in Him.
Perhaps I will continue this useful practice --
looking over the year as I recorded it,
taking note of fearful expectations and merciful realities,
of my prayers and His helpings,
and marking the lessons He taught me.