2016 hasn’t been a very reflective year for me. It’s mostly just happened, my heart racing to keep up with the pace of it all. Even now I feel a little scattered — content, peaceful, but my thoughts aren’t organized and my words aren’t cohesive. If any verse summarizes this year it is the one pictured above:
“He is your constant source of stability” Isaiah 33:6
And He has been. Through changes and lack thereof. He has been faithful and present and has held my hands steady when He was the only One who could.
So here is a quick glimpse at the last twelve months of life.
We turned 30 this year. Lots of us. But especially this one. See how we’re making 30s with our hands and our mouths? We found it really funny. Also, Morgs was super-sick for her birthday and it was a major bummer. But she rallied. And 30 has been looking up ever since. #thisis30
These two are fun to serve and eat and dream and walk through life with. In this picture, the entire back of the car is filled with a giant sign for a women’s event at church. We drove through Chick-Fil-A like this. We also ate Chick-Fil-A like this. And we laughed pretty much the entire time. Later this year, the one on the right had a baby girl. Friends’ babies are the very best. I love her so much — we all do!
Speaking of church. Sometimes it looks like this. I’m glad when it does. Because it is real life with real people — some of my very favorite people, who make me laugh and knock me upside the head when I need it (see above), but who also comfort and encourage and press in close to Jesus and pull me there with them.
I was not sick on my 30th birthday, and my friends and family made my birthday weekend so sweet. I got to spend a slow weekend away with some of my dearest friends, and my family came for dinner on Saturday. It was hands-down one of my favorite nights ever. Here’s my granddad. The sign says “Look who’s old!” [Cue lots of laughing.]
This is me celebrating 30 years of life and my mom celebrating 30 years of mothering. We both made it! (But we were apparently very, very tired upon our arrival.)
What will always stand out the most about my 30th birthday was my birthday night. After an afternoon at iFly with my family and then dinner with just my parents, I was home by myself. I had planted tulips in December, and they had sprouted but none had bloomed. Since I’d been away for the weekend, I decided to go check on it. And this is what I found. A single, pink bloom.
God knows when we need to know that He sees us. And this assurance was not lost on me.
A few weeks later, these two moved in. I didn’t know how much I would love having roommates again. I didn’t know, but God did, how I would need people to come home to, to watch TV with or be bored with or figure out how to make hot chocolate with. They have been themselves and have let me be myself, and in a simple way that has changed me. They usually know where I am, and I usually know where they are, and there’s something grounding about that as you live life largely on your own. Our Father gives good gifts, and I am so grateful for this gift of “home” this year.
I also moved rooms, and I really love my new one.
This corner of my room is my favorite quiet spot.
About a month after the move, my little brother got married.
And it made me really sentimental. Wasn’t Isn’t he the cutest? I’ve been crazy about him since he was born.
And now my sister-heart gets to love a little sister too. I’m forever grateful for moments like this one. Easy and casual and family.
Speaking of sister-hearts. I spent a few days in Florida with these two. The whole time we were there, I kept thinking how the ones we are the closest to are the ones with the most reasons to walk away. They have all the evidence. But it is somehow safe with them. They hold it for us and with us instead of against us. We are safe with them. Friends like these are the evidence of a good, good Father who cares well for His daughters.
In September, I stopped working at Gracewood and started writing and teaching a Bible study with Kathy again. It was a hard decision to let go of a job description that was so clear, with its time sheets and title and rules. I love writing, but my personality isn’t very artist-y. I cling to structure and order and routine, and working from home allows for routine, but it has to be created and maintained. Some days I miss an office and a to do list that gets left on the desk at the end of the day.
It has been a challenge and a joy, but mostly I am just grateful to get to do it!
I also started taking Greek and Hebrew classes. This is “Immmanuel” in Hebrew. It’s my favorite word so far. God With Us. The weary world rejoices.
Just for fun: The family that escapes together stays together. If it’s monsooning in Charleston while you’re there, keep this in mind as an option. #escaperoom
2016 has been a year with Bible verses taped on bathroom mirrors and tucked into door handles rather than beautifully scripted or perfectly memorized. 2016 has crept by but it has also flown past. I haven’t paused to ponder it as much as I probably should, as much as I generally would. I don’t know if I’ve treasured all the moments that were sacred. I have caught myself looking at my phone instead of across the table. I have missed chances to love my people well. I have missed opportunities to see the Lord at times, have been looking down while He was passing by.
Thankfully, He comes to us and He tilts our chins back up toward Him. He pulls us close and holds us there.
“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” Job 42:5-6, The Message
I so easily slip back into the hearsay and rumors, settling for what will never satisfy. I don’t mean to. I don’t want to. But I do.
Once we’ve seen Him for ourselves, though, we are never satisfied with the crusts and crumbs. I don’t want to spend the next year brushing them off of the counter into my sweaty palm. I want to open my hands up wide to all the Lord has for me.
I want to place those open palms on the very face of God. I don’t know what it will look like, but I know He invites us to seek His face. I know He delights to be searched for. I know He delights to let Himself be found.
Might 2017 be filled with wonder as our lives are filled with His presence. May we move when He moves and rest when He rests. May our mouths be filled with the bread of God instead of the crumbs of rumor. May this be a year that marks us even more as His own.
Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!