I have made a sincere effort to be present – not living too much in the past or the future, but enjoying the moment and time in the present. I like to live as though things will work out how they’re meant to as I continue to be faithful with what I’ve been given. Whatever the outcome, I can trust God.
Those are all good things but sometimes I live so much in the present that I don’t reflect and remember where I’ve been. As this year comes to an end, I didn’t look back on it with many fond memories. A few things here and there…but too easily my mind thought, “Meh, not much happened – I haven’t really grown or changed – it’s just another year.”
Well, that’s just not true at all.
Today I sat down and reflected on this last year, remembering birthday parties, weddings, trips, jobs, school, graduations, and so much more. It’s shocking to think that I could have settled for the memory of a disappointing/average year when only an hour of reflection reminded me just how much we’ve been through and the journey we’ve taken.
Here’s a snippet of my reflections on 2018:
Charles and I did a Daniel fast for the whole month. I began acknowledging my own desires and longings. This has challenged me again and again throughout the year to ask myself, “what do I want?” not necessarily “what will make others people happy? or what will bring the least amount of conflict?” It’s taken the whole year, but I’ve realized that I will often lose my own interests/self for the sake of avoiding conflict (hello, enneagram 9) – therefore, with Charles’ help, I’ve been making an effort to know what I actually want.
I got two days notice that the family I was nannying for would be moving out of state and I would be out of a job. Charles and I made the decision for me to start taking classes full time and not look for another job until after graduation. It was a huge risk to live on one salary but God continued to provide in pretty spectacular ways.
I spent Spring Break in San Clemente with the college and young adult ministry at my church. It was a highlight of my entire time working with that ministry. Charles, Lacey and I went to a music festival in Tempe. Some of our favs were: Head and the Heart and Local Natives. I surprised Charles for his birthday with a picnic in the park and all his friends and family at a market downtown.
Lacey moved in with us! Charles and I also celebrated our first anniversary in Flagstaff with a hot air balloon ride, a night in a vintage trailer, getting haircuts, watching Infinity War in theaters, and hiking in Sedona.
We started mentoring a foster youth through Arizonans for Children and have continued to hang out with him on a weekly basis. We also had the privilege to travel to New York and see Charles brother graduate from West Point.
June / July
I walked in Fuller’s graduation ceremony, even though I had one more quarter to complete. Then I left for Israel / Palestine with several other Fuller students and accomplished one of my lifelong dreams. I continued to process all of the information for months after the trip and it was transformational in many different ways.
Somewhat planned, I got pregnant! The time between somewhat planning and knowing for sure are quite agonizing. When we saw that we were pregnant, we were excited and scared at the same time! I also officially finished all my classes at Fuller Theological Seminary and got my Master’s in Divinity. Finding a job was the challenging part and discouraged me greatly over the next two months.
We told our families the exciting news and had our first doctor’s appointment to see the baby on the screen. I wasn’t overly emotional, but I did tear up a little bit. It felt surreal and incomprehensible. We went camping over Labor Day weekend in the rain and hail of the Chiricahua Mountains. And again we went camping in Bryce Canyon, to celebrate Charles and six years of sobriety.
We had a couple pregnancy scares around week 10-12 when I had thought I miscarried. We left a message on our doctor’s emergency line but didn’t hear anything back because it was late at night. I had to fall sleep before going in the next morning. I remember hearing a phrase repeat in my head – “There’s a song of hope.” I had no idea how to have hope because I was so scared and I didn’t want to be naive. But somehow all the fear and worst-case scenario worries silenced. I was able to sleep and see our baby moving around the next morning. I felt so out of control but so grateful.
After being unable to find a job in ministry and getting turned down for jobs I was really hoping for – I got offered a job at Yelp and decided to take it. I started working full time and the challenges of starting a new career were intense. But I have been grateful to work for an incredible company that trains and takes really good care of its employees. I feel fortunate to learn new skills that will surely benefit me in the future.
This final month of 2018 has been a good one. I started feeling our baby girl moving around inside of me, which is the best! That’s right, we also found out that we are having a GIRL! We’ve enjoyed so much time with family and friends for my birthday and the holidays. Our life is so full and it’s hard to believe that next year, even more fullness will come into our home!
I am full of anticipation for this next year! 2018, that’s a wrap. 2019, welcome!