Thursday, December 31, 2015

The year of grace

Last year, I boldly stated on Instagram that my one and only New Years resolution was to grow closer to God - in every way possible, by any means possible. I figured the best way to grow closer to God was to dive into His word. I wasn't trying to read the bible in a year, though I had looked at studies for that, so I found a two hundred something day study that hit all the main points of the bible and then some. While at the start I had to force myself to do it (I actually wrote it out on my daily to-do lists - read, reflect and journal) it slowly became a habit and something I looked forward to doing, which is what I was hoping for. I was giving myself a year to do it even though it was less than 365 readings because I knew I would fail - I was giving myself grace. And oh boy did I fail. I haven't opened up my journal but a few times since Ezra was born. I've opened up my bible even less so. BUT! I have never been this close to God. My prayer life, though it falters daily, has grown leaps and bounds. Both out of my desire and resolution to grow closer to God and out of necessity. This year was hard.

Uriah turned two (the terrible two!) while we were living in a semi questionable long stay hotel in Seattle for four weeks while I was 30+ weeks pregnant and on a severe hormonal roller coaster. We dealt with the pressure of submitting a rank list and impatiently waiting for Match Day along with all the stressors that come with leaving your entire career and future up to a computer algorithm. Ezra was born, which was the absolute highlight of our year, but her birth was accompanied by all the usual adjustments of a baby and going from three to four - wonderful, but still, hard. And then we chose to travel before coming home to the task of immediately packing up our house and moving. Oh and we decided to potty train Uriah right in the middle of all that, too, so there was pee, everywhere. So we get here and Stephen goes from having all this time off after a pretty lax fourth year and he starts working minimum 72 hour weeks. I don't know the city, we have two kids who are stuck with a mother still trying to figure out TWO KIDS, no family, no friends, cardboard boxes e v e r y w h e r e... Stephen had to start working nights, which was a difficult schedule adjustment for everyone. Uriah learned to crawl out of his crib and had the worlds worst and longest transition to a toddler bed. Everyone cried. Everyone screamed. Stephen had to work the holidays. We still don't have any family or friends... You guys! It has been HARD!

So, I learned to pray out of necessity. There were times those first few months here when Uriah was being so very, very two and all the adjustments were hitting him hard and no one was sleeping and Stephen was gone and I would literally just fall to my knees and beg... Lord, God, please... Help me have patience. Help me be ok, be calm, be rational, be content, be happy. Make my babies sleep! Make my child stop screaming! Show me love! Show me grace! I needed so much grace this year... And every time I hit my knees, I would rise filled with His love and grace and goodness and glory. My babies didn't start sleeping and Uriah never stopped screaming and I don't plan on ever having extra amounts of patience, but He was there and I have never felt that so strongly. So we'd make it to bed time and we'd start again the next day because, GRACE.

2015 was such a year of growth for me. I was pushed and pulled and tested more than I had planned for. I learned a lot about myself this year - my weaknesses, insecurities and selfish tendencies - all which highlight and strengthen my need for Jesus. I think I know and understand Uriah better now, too - my mini me to a fault. My marriage was even tested, right along with my faith and patience and aspirations. I have never questioned more or doubted more than I did this year. But I've also never felt this much - believed this strongly or loved this deeply.

Now, I don't want my honesty to be mistaken for negativity. I feel guilty exclusively labeling 2015 as "hard". Because while 2015 has left me exhausted, in almost every way possible, 2015 was good. There was joy - so much joy. Mostly found in Ezra's exaggerated smiles, Uriah's quirky characteristics and our late night teeth brushing parties. I smiled until my cheeks hurt, laughed until my tummy ached and loved until I felt physical pain in my heart. I cried tears of happiness and yelled words of excitement. We made countless memories this year on our new adventure, ones that I will forever cherish. We have been so abundantly blessed this year and those blessings have not been lost on me - they have not been completely overshadowed. The year was filled with it's fair share of light, too, and I can see the good just as clearly. But I think it's ok, I want it to be ok, to say that even still, it was a hard year.

2015 was hard. But it was good.

Saying goodbye to the year lifts a small weight off of my shoulders and I am ready to embrace all that 2016 has to offer. And if it's another hard year? Well, there's always grace for that.

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