New year. New me. New goals. Fresh perspective. I love the start of the new year. I get so excited to dive into "my best year yet". I set goals, talk about my resolutions, feel motivated, refreshed and inspired. I buy new journals or planners, clean out, declutter, reset. It's a breath of fresh air. A new day. A new year. A new chance to shine.
This year feels different though. I'm 30 weeks pregnant with our third child. The holiday season was a blur of travel and festivities and getting things done. We cooked and churched and visited. We Santa'd and gift exchanged. And this holiday season, we prepped for a new baby. We put a mini crib up in our bedroom. We moved the "big girls" into a shared bedroom. We got out the baby boxes and made a disaster of the house trying to make sense of all. the. girl. clothes.
I sort of just slipped into the new year without really noticing. What day is it? Did I miss it? Where is my new year gusto, my newfound energy, my vision and clarity? I've been feeling bummed, like I've failed the new year already. How can I be intentional and achieve my goals if I can't catch my breath long enough to decide what I want? I want to have a plan, a vision, clarity. I want the new year, new me feeling.
Then yesterday, when the girls were sleeping, I asked Jordan if he had any New Year's Resolutions. He told me about a few loose goals, and I told him a few things that were on my mind. But during our conversation, I noticed a theme for both of us. Uncertainty and Trepidation. It sounds awful, I know, and at first I felt really bad about it. We are so unable to set goals because we don't know how having three kids is going to change everything. We have so many questions about this year. How many days a week should we put the girls in preschool? Will I be able to continue Selah or Mini Motions? Will our children ever sleep through the night again in a new shared bedroom? When will we find the time to potty train Mae? What will we name this baby? (We seriously just crossed out our entire list of options, so opinions are welcome on that front.) Everything is changing. And of course, everything changed when the first two were born. But this time feels different. Like we finally realize that it's impossible to predict or plan how a new life will change our world, reset our goals, and remake our dreams. We get it. A new baby is big.
When Raines was born, I was in grad school for Organizational Development in Charlotte, NC. When she was six months old, I dropped out and we moved to the beach. The night I decided to go for it was a late night after class. I was rocking Raines to sleep, with her tiny face snuggled up close to mine. I literally whispered out loud. "What am I doing." I knew with certainty that a career in corporate organization development in a big city was not what I was meant for. My heart wanted my baby and a slower pace and room to grow. So I quit. And we moved. And I never looked back. I never could have predicted my heart.
When Mae was born, Selah leapt into my heart like a lightning bolt - this idea of bringing women together to pause and praise in the busyness of life, to encourage and empower each other with grace and love and acceptance. With a 20 month old and a newborn at home, I craved connection and encouragement. Not just as a mother, but as a person. I needed more than ever to be seen and heard. I remember telling Jordan, "I can't be the only one who feels this way." And it turns out, I' was right. We need grace. And we need love. And we need acceptance. This revelation, this lesson in vulnerability and connection, Mae did it. She led me to open myself up in a way I never thought I would. So I started Selah. I opened my heart. And I never looked back. I never could have predicted my heart.
And here we are again. Poised to welcome a new life into this world. This new year slipped into our lives during the rush of holidays and baby prep. We barely noticed. We barely thought about it. And when we did, we realized that this year is marked in uncertainty and trepidation. Setting firm goals and making plans just isn't our jam this year. When I first realized this, I felt kind of bad about it. What a negative way to start the year - feeling uncertain and a little afraid. But, now I'm ok with it. I've decided to take our uncertainty and trepidation and channel it into a positive commitment for 2018. We get to choose how we respond to the uncertainty and trepidation that comes with this season of change. And this year, in 2018, we choose to cover ourselves in
2018 is all grace. Grace when things are messy. Grace when we need rest. Grace when we're unsure. Because life will be so messy this year, but with grace, the mess can be overlooked and the joy of happy girls and fed tummies can be enjoyed. And we will be tired to the bone this year, and rest will be hard to come by, but with grace, we can offer each other permission and encouragement to rest and refresh our bodies and spirits. And probably at some point every day this year we'll be unsure of ourselves in some way - as spouses/parents/professionals/friends, but with grace, we can be enough. Grace takes the uncertainty and trepidation and changes it into a big sigh of relief. It releases the expectations and makes room for living and loving. It comforts and accepts. It encourages and protects. It's what we need.
So our theme this year is grace upon grace upon grace. For me, It's about opening my heart, not trying to predict it. It's about allowing myself grace in a year when everything is changing. It's about remembering how Raines and Mae changed my heart and reset my course, and allowing room for this child to do the same. I don't think our new year gusto has passed us by, I think it will arrive in March when this new little life shines her light on us and changes everything. And we will be ready to receive her with love and GRACE.