Tag Archives: end of year

Annual Reflections: Hope

As we come to the end of 2020, as with any year, it’s important to look back, embrace the year for what it was, learn from it, and look ahead into the future. Usually, by this point in the year, I already have some idea of direction, plans, goals for the coming year. But this year, I got nothing. Which, if you know me, is really uncharacteristic of me. So, I want to use this time to delve into how this year has impacted me, what I’ve learned, and any glimmer into the year to come.

Merry Christmas, everyone! As this is the last of this series, I wanted to end in hope. No matter how we have grieved, how we have grown, or how lonely we have felt, there is always a hope for a redemptive tomorrow.

I think about the days leading up to the birth of Christ, the 400 years where God was silent to the Jewish people. So many people grieving loss, feeling lonely, growing as best they could under oppressive regimes. All hope seemed loss

And then, in a small manger, in a tiny town of Bethlehem, a little baby was born to a newly-wedded, poor teenage girl and her husband. A bright star paved the way out of the darkness into the light of God’s love.

However you are celebrating this year, I pray that you are surrounded by love and joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding. May God continue to walk with you through the end of this year and into the next one!

Annual Reflections: Loneliness

As we come to the end of 2020, as with any year, it’s important to look back, embrace the year for what it was, learn from it, and look ahead into the future. Usually, by this point in the year, I already have some idea of direction, plans, goals for the coming year. But this year, I got nothing. Which, if you know me, is really uncharacteristic of me. So, I want to use this time to delve into how this year has impacted me, what I’ve learned, and any glimmer into the year to come.

While I am an introverted homebody, I still recognize I need people in my life, a community, a village. This year has been lonely, even for me. And I realized that this has been building up for a while, and it took having to socially distance from large gatherings to understand my reality and how I got here.

When Michael and I were first married, we moved to the DFW area and met a lot of great friends. We would go to parties, outings, double date nights. It was a lot of fun. But that first wave of friends started having kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people having kids, but bandwidths and priorities change when a little one is introduced to a family. It’s just the way it is.

I celebrated, hosted baby showers, did all the things. And I learned that if I wanted to maintain these relationships, I had to reach out to them. I needed to be the one to go to their house and remember birthdays and listen to their struggles and their milestones. I want to reiterate that I didn’t hate this, I looked forward to it. And as a young married in her 20s, I had all the energy and time in the world to do this.

Soon, a new wave of friends came into our life, but this time, when everyone else started having babies. I was losing them. This time, I didn’t have the bandwidth to do the things I did before, and for whatever reason, those friendships drifted away. I tried to find a new community several times, but I felt alone. Really alone.

Finally, after six years, we gave birth to a beautiful baby. It felt like life could finally begin. I could finally connect with other moms and find the community I lost. After the first year (because that first year was a fog), I joined a mom’s Bible study group. I was so socially awkward. I felt like I had forgotten how to connect. But I finally found my groove and even signed my kid up for a two day preschool.

Which started January 2020.

Then the world stopped.

All of the sudden, my world shrank to our family. I stayed connected to a few friends online through Marco Polo. But the village was pretty much gone. Everyone was overwhelmed, and I just fell through the cracks.

Now, there is a lot of this story that is my responsibility. And believe me, I tell myself all the time that I should do better, put myself out there more, be less selfish, all the things. I recognize the amazing things in my life, embrace them with gratitude. But I’m still lonely.

It has given me a lot of time to walk with God, lean on him, turn to him. And I know that there are things ahead of me to look forward to. I guess I just want to write this a part of my 2020 experience to let others know that even if you have felt lonely this year, or in this season, just know that others are feeling it too.

Annual Reflections: Growth

As we come to the end of 2020, as with any year, it’s important to look back, embrace the year for what it was, learn from it, and look ahead into the future. Usually, by this point in the year, I already have some idea of direction, plans, goals for the coming year. But this year, I got nothing. Which, if you know me, is really uncharacteristic of me. So, I want to use this time to delve into how this year has impacted me, what I’ve learned, and any glimmer into the year to come.

As hard as this year has been, there have been a lot of growth moments as well. In fact, I’m still learning new things even at the end of this year about myself, life, relationships, parenting, and everything in between.

This year has forced me to slow down. At the beginning of the year, the plan was to join some classes at the gym, finally clean and organize my house, and finish writing a book. I got none of those things accomplished. But the truth is, I was busy maintaining my anxiety and my household, keeping hands sanitized and food on the table. I was a people pleaser who actually had to say no and set specific boundaries, and have those boundaries questioned and still have to maintain them. I learned my own limits and bandwidth, and how to work with those parameters.

I really got to know who I am this year. I realized my priorities outside of the influence of others. When all the other voices got quieter as we all social-distanced, I could learned how to my own voice. And I learned these things:

  1. I love my husband. This year, we grew closer. And it was hard and messy and beautiful. We voiced things we had been holding onto and realized that we didn’t always remember our history together the same way. But we are more on the same page at the end of 2020 than we probably have ever been.
  2. I love my kid. I don’t share a whole lot on the internet, but this kid is just amazing. I’ve learned what it means to love and parent and fail and try again and receive forgiveness and give forgiveness, all in this little person who lives life fully and completely every day.
  3. I’ve been holding on to a lot of lies. About my body. About my purpose. About my place in this world. About the expectations I place on myself and others place on me. I’ve been questioning a lot of things this year and growing as a person by embracing what is actually true in my life.
  4. I really am an introverted homebody. While I can carry on with small talk at the grocery store, I’m not a social butterfly. While I do have a few friends to reach out to, the busy social calendar isn’t really for me. This was the one aspect of the quarantine where I thrived.
  5. I don’t need to always have a plan. This was probably the biggest one for me. I would throw myself into all the expectations of a mother and wife and woman and Christian that I thought I needed to fulfill on a day to day basis. My calendar would be scheduled out by the hour. And then I just stopped. Actually, my therapist suggested a break and I realized just how much I needed one. I have learned how to take it day by day in a much healthier way.

Of course, God has been with me every step of the way. I am still so thankful for his grace and new mercies every morning. It gives me the curiosity and strength to enter a new year with slightly more anticipation than anxiety.