I really like spending the last few days of the year reflecting on what I've learned and visualizing how I can apply it in the coming year. I get so excited about the start of a new year and all the possibilities that are before me. Humor me if you have a few minutes. :)
One major thing I gained this year is a confidence in my God-given instincts, strengths and abilities. 2 Peter 1:3 promises "God, through His divine power, has granted us everything we need for life and godliness." My life right now is motherhood. This one Scripture promises me that God has already given me everything I need for life as a godly mother. Wow! God placed within me the ability to do what He has called me to do. That is powerful! I have learned to totally rely on that this year. My tendency in the past has been to second-guess every decision, always feeling that what someone else is doing must be better or more put-together than what I am doing. I've often been intimidated by others who I thought were stronger or smarter than me. Satan loves to play on my insecurities. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! God has given me everything I need for living this life, through powerful maternal instincts, strength to endure that I didn't know I had until it was tested this year, and the ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It may sound silly, but one area that I really gained a lot of confidence in my abilities as a mother was through breastfeeding. Enduring the pain and hardship in the beginning, persevering when I really wanted to give up, then reaping the benefits of a happy, healthy relationship with a thriving infant, were amazingly fulfilling and confidence-building. I didn't know I had the strength to do it. But I did! Praise the Lord! Another area is through homeschooling. It's so easy to look at other mothers and think that the education of their kids must be superior to mine, and even to doubt that I can teach at all. But I have seen Allie grow this year in ways I never thought possible. God has proven to me that He gave me not only the ability, but the superior, one-of-a-kind ability to know my kids and teach them well. Praise the Lord. I begin this year with a much stronger confidence and faith in the abilities God has given me. I really do believe that I can do anything (through Christ) that I put my mind to. In 2011, I'm going to say fewer "I'd like to maybe. . . " or "I might try. . . " and more "I'm going to. . . " because, I can.
Another major thing I have learned this year is that "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven" and that I don't have to rush through the seasons. Another tendency I have is to always try to hurry back to "normal". It's probably human nature, but I get nervous when things aren't humming along like I think they should. I'd rather everything stay on a nice even keel than roller coaster like they tend to do. When we bring home a new baby, instead of reveling in the fact that we have a new baby and letting things be crazy and exciting for awhile, I rush to get everything back in order, lose the weight, get everybody back on schedule. I try to "dry it up" and be okay as quickly as possible when I grieve over something in life. But the nature of earth, the nature of life, is that of cycles and seasons. There are seasons of sowing and seasons of reaping. Seasons of stillness and seasons of busyness. Seasons of happiness and seasons of sorrow. Seasons of fullness and seasons of leanness. Seasons are a good thing. I've learned this year to sit quietly and somewhat contentedly through them. Because the good thing about seasons is, if you're in one you don't like, a different one is coming soon. :)
I've addressed the dress issue this year. I read some books, listened to some sermons, searched the Scriptures about how God wants a woman to dress. At first I thought I would end up being convicted to wear all skirts and dresses, because it seemed several of my friends that I admire were going that direction and surely they were right. I still believe that they are doing what the Holy Spirit has convicted them to do, so they are doing exactly what they should. But I have come full circle and, after much prayer and Scripture searching, I have come to my stance on dresses: Most women are most beautiful, feminine and attractive in long, flowing dresses. They are lovely and do truly exude that feminine quality that God gave to women before the foundation of the world. I personally have developed a love for skirts and dresses because I feel beautiful and feminine in them. However, I do not believe that it's wrong for a woman to wear pants. I just don't think it's a big deal to God. He is most interested in our hearts. Of course, if our hearts are right, we will be dressing modestly and not drawing flashy attention to ourselves. But He is far more interested in my heart than whether I am wearing pants or skirts. He is crazy about me and delights in me as a bridegroom delights in His bride. He's not making tally marks by my name regarding the length of my skirt or the wash of my jeans.
For 2011, I have some big visions and some just wish-list sort of hopefuls. :) I'm planning a double birthday party for Penelope's 2nd and Rosemary's 1st birthdays in February. I want it to be fabulous. :) In April we're going to the Creation Museum in Kentucky with the church. The museum is almost in Ohio, which is close to Brian's sister and grandmother. We will probably be turning that into a big spring break trip. Brian's sister lives in Pittsburgh, PA and at some point I'd like to spend a week doing historical Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Amish Country, and Hershey, PA. We may not get to all that in April but it's a future trip for sure. :) The baby is due in June so I'd love to take a "babymoon" with Brian in May. We love Asheville, NC or Memphis, TN. A few days in either place with Brian would be total bliss. Also in May, we hope to attend an Above Rubies family camp. Then in June, I've got visions of a wonderfully beautiful, natural birth. June will be perfect because we won't feel like we have to rush back into a homeschool schedule. We can spend the summer just enjoying our family. I'm envisioning spending a lot of time outdoors with the children this summer, me sitting and nursing the baby while the kids run wild and breathe the warm, fresh air. I'd like to grow a lot of things and spend many an evening having picnics at Botanical Gardens. In the fall, Allie will be starting fifth grade, and Maggie will be doing preschool, both at home. Oh I love it I love it I love it!
2011, here we come. . .