New Year’s Day is always a contemplative day for me, as I’m sure it is for most of the world. I wanted to fill out like a survey about 2013, but I couldn’t find one that I liked, so I’m just going to jot down some reflections on my own.
- This year was not as eventful as I thought it would be. When we got back to PA from our month-long stint in SD in late January, we moved into our home here at the missionary housing property… and never moved again. Nope, not how I even remotely thought it would work out!
- I was offered the children’s ministry director position… over and over and over again… until I said ‘yes.’ It has not been what I thought it would be and certainly has its ups and downs. But, over all, I’m glad I accepted.
- My year has pretty much been consumed with the kids’ ministry since then. Looking back over the year, those are the events that, besides my family, stand out to me most. Writing and directing the summer program, trainings in August, start-up of the fall programs, organizing and leading the Fall Party, writing and rewriting lessons, filling in all over the place in different classes and programs, finding new volunteers and teachers…
- Balance. Seriously, will I ever not struggle with that concept? It was the same struggle in Peru, yet manifested completely differently. Here, it’s the balance of three very different, very distinct ministries, two small children, my husband, and my home. Throw in friends and other relationships, alone time, and “hobbies” and my schedule is overloaded. Some things have been dropped (I never play the piano anymore and my scrapbook materials have collected layers of dust over the years) and some are neglected (coffee with friends? What is that again?) and some are needing a reboot this year (date nights with my man and workouts!). I would love for someone to just step in and show me the manual for how to balance your life because I still feel lost.
- The kids grew up this year. Obviously. In all seriousness, though, this stage in their lives – 3 and 1 – is so full of changes. I look at how they were this time last year and it’s no wonder they nap a lot, eat like crazy, and have incredible mood swings. Their little bodies are changing faster than I can comprehend. We started this year with two kids in diapers, one nursing, one only speaking Spanish, and neither having ever lived in the States before. We have ended this year with a 100% potty trained little girl and a walking, jabbering, happily teething little boy. They have both finally lived through four seasons in America, been to the doctor, learned English, and are successfully sleeping in their own rooms (this was a big feat for us, trust me). E started the year with barely enough hair for pigtails and ended it with hair halfway down her back (but so curly you would never know that). She is hilarious, rebellious, strong-willed, independent, curious, and creative. Baby J started the year as a newborn and ended it as a fearless, daredevil of a boy – who is the cuddliest, cutest, sweetest little guy you will ever meet.
- Brian and I ended the year on a high note. We had two very rocky years, just with stress and ministry and the strain of life overseas. But, isn’t it amazing what stability and relatively little stress do for a marriage? We are constantly growing and learning about each other, even eight and a half years in, and I am okay with that. He’s my best friend and that was exemplified again this year. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to do things that I probably wouldn’t have if he hadn’t been backing me the entire time.
- I’ve learned a lot this year about forgiveness and moving on. I have learned how to drive and cook in America again. I have forced myself to do things completely alone – something I haven’t had to do in about five years – and it scared me to tears, but I did it! And I survived. I have grown in my faith. I have seen God supply for us over and over this year. I have felt His love and mercy and grace in tangible ways like never before.
As missionaries, we enter each year not having a single clue how it will end or where we will be when it ends. We fully plan on being here in PA this entire year, but when you’re following the Lord, you really have no idea what could happen. Which is part of the adventure! Our life has yet to be boring.
On the agenda, at the moment, for the year:
- Representing BCM at one university and one church during the winter.
- Teacher training in NJ in March
- Brian leading two to three vision trips, two weeks each, to different countries
- Revamping the children’s ministry in a couple of different ways
- Annual trip to SD
- Trip to VT and probably WI at some point
Quiet year! So far. 🙂
God is so good to us. We don’t deserve another day, much less a whole new year. Let’s not waste our time in 2014. The task at hand is simple: There’s a lost world out there who needs the Lord. We have that hope. Hold it up like a beacon, live for the Lord, and don’t waver from it. It’s the only thing that truly matters.