Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ring in the New

I've been thinking a lot this week about one word: intentionality.

We're a pretty intentional bunch, we Strassners.  Even Logan will tell me with all the assurance of his three years: Mommy, if I keep working at it, I know I can do this.

There is something particularly hopeful about January 1st.  In the rhythm of my year, I always tend to undervalue the importance of a new beginning, a fresh start, in the midst of mourning another wonderful year come to a close.

But it's there.  Can you feel it?

The promise of possibility, change and renewal.  It is not so much resolution as it is review that appeals to me; to take stock of what has worked, what needs to be cut, and what can be adjusted as we move our lives away from simply being to really thriving - which is what we are chasing after in our home and family.

As I've pondered the things that have filled my soul in 2015, and those that have cost me in time, energy and emotion, there are a few things that become clear:

1. When I am not at peace, nothing in our home is at peace.
2. We are uniquely created in the artistry and expression of God's love.
3. Great freedom and happiness is the result of living fully into the precious gifts, personality, strengths and weaknesses that were chosen specifically for us by a creator who knows and loves us.
4. Home is our place of safety, acceptance and belonging that cultivates and nurtures possibility.
5. Grace must be the life's breath of our homes.  Minute by minute, both in imparting over our little ones, and accepting for ourselves.

We have grown - as individuals, as a family unit - in tremendous ways this year.  It has been a year of embracing what works, fine-tuning our priorities, honing our ideals, accepting our limitations, and moving closer to the kind of life we each seek to live.  Perfection hasn't been the goal; instead, we have worked to value the imperfect progress that makes up real life. As I have told my sweet, perfectionist, detail-oriented Leah on so many occasions: He doesn't call us to be perfect - only willing. 

So as we prepare to open a new chapter and write the story of another year, I am so looking forward to continuing to find beauty in the mess and extra-ordinary in the mundane.  Continuing to chart a course that is unique to our family and responsive to our calling, even if it is different from so many of those around us.  To define the legacy we want to leave for our family and children, and step fully into its life-giving design.

I'm also realizing how critical my own role in all of this is.  Not the significance of the job - that's one I feel blessed to have embraced long ago - but how important it is for me to be able to run the marathon of motherhood with endurance.  To invest in God's word to nourish my spirit, to invest in exercise to keep my body strong, in stories and art and music to nurture my mind, in friendships to keep me laughing and grow my heart; in short, to invest in... myself.

That's a pretty novel concept in my world.  To think that I matter.  To think that my health and wellness and sanity matters.  I've written my #1 above after great reflection and with great intentionality, because it is very true: if I am stretched and weary and overextended, I simply cannot bring the other items on that list through to fruition.  And it is such blessed and important work, I have to do a better job of creating daily moments of rest and refreshment to pour back into myself so that I can do this big job of pouring out.

The sad truth is that I am actually uncomfortable putting myself on the list, which seems ridiculous, but it's completely true.  Last year, I carved out exactly 25 minutes for myself everyday.  This year, I'm going for much more than that.  Dear 2015 Melissa: I'll see your 25 minutes of exercise, and raise you reading for pleasure, quiet times, fostering friendships and getting reasonable amounts of sleep.

That's right.  With apologies to Queen, I want it all.  I want it all, and I want it now.

So wherever you are in the world, as this wonderful year comes to a close, I wish you a joyful season of reflection.  The gifts you bring serve a marvelous and unique purpose, one that only you can fill.  If you chose to do so.

Cheers to 2016.

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