You guys, today is a day to celebrate!
Not only is today the first day of a new year, but it also marks a special anniversary for this blog: My 10th blog-iversary. Ten years ago today I started this blog on a whim (The whim being due mostly to the fact that I had two babies in diapers and the voices in my head needed an outlet.). A decade ago when I typed those first words on my very first laptop computer (Hey, that was a big deal in 2012!) I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish through my blog or why I was even writing in the first place. But I did it anyway, and here I still am today. Still plugging away–still not quite sure what I’m doing or why I’m doing it–yet still feeling the same pull to write that I did a quarter of my lifetime ago.
And even though I still feel the pull to write, I haven’t been doing it lately. In my early blogging days I was publishing nearly 200 posts per year. Last year I published 2.
My excuse? This year was HARD. Like, harder than I ever thought a year could be. And the year before it? Well, it was even HARDER.
Somewhere between a global pandemic, the utter brokenness of the lives and the community around me, homeschooling 3 children (Which I always said I would never do, by the way), facing disappointment after bitter disappointment, and just plain exhaustion (Actually, not just plain exhaustion–Mother of Young Children During a Pandemic Exhaustion. It’s a clinical crisis. Look it up.) I simply couldn’t find it in me to do one single other thing beyond sheer day-to-day survival.
On the cusp of this new year, however, I have decided I’m ready to do more than just survive. I’m ready to allow myself to be vulnerable (Which is quite different from the forced vulnerability that the pandemic brought upon us all). I’m ready to allow myself the space and the time to process my own thoughts, and maybe even just realize I have thoughts that are unrelated to an external need or crisis. I’m ready to bring back something that brings me joy. I’m ready to write.
In my very first ever blog post, I wrote about my new years resolution that year: finding praise in every complaint. If I were to rewrite that post today, it might go something like this:
Complaint: COVID sucks
Praise: COVID brought my family together at the exact point in time when we all would have begun our biggest year of separateness. We learned how to depend on our unchanging, always and forever God when the world around us constantly shifted like sand blown by a desert storm. We learned to profoundly appreciate Very Important Things that we had become complacent to: our health, our schools and jobs, our relationships.
Complaint: This was supposed to be my first year with all of my children away in school. Instead I’m a homeschool mom.
Praise: What a gift that I was able to step in to teach my children when the need presented itself! With a teaching degree and classroom teaching experience under my belt, I’ve literally been training and practicing for this exact moment for decades. Through the magic of spending literally every waking moment with my own children, I was able to recognize challenges that I had been blind to before–and from there, a series of diagnoses and helpers have been put into place that will literally change my kids’ lives forever. One of our kids NEEDED this change, but I don’t think I ever would have been brave enough to make it happen on my own. (I would, however, still love to know what a quiet house and a nap feel like.)
Complaint: I’m tired.
Praise: I’m tired because I care, and because I care for others. It is a privilege to be the one offering care and able to pour out my love for others. It also helps that I have the world’s comfiest bed and children who finally all sleep through the night (#ptl).
…and on and on.
As we enter 2022, however, I don’t want to simply find the praise in my complaints. I want to focus in another direction. Rather than trying to rectify that which is going wrong–or even finding the good in the bad–I want to start with the positive. I want to find the light.
When I look at a person, I want to do so with care and kindness. I can’t know what they’ve been through or what brought them to this moment, so I will treat them gently.
When I care for my family, I want to do so with a loving heart. Not because I have to, but because of the outpouring of my love I am able to.
When I think of myself, I want to do so with purpose. I don’t want to be an afterthought on my own to-do list.
When I go out into the world, I want to do so with reverence. I want to see first the beauty and creativity of creation.
So this year, let there be light. May we all feel the warmth of this moment and see the bright spots in our future. Because no matter how dark the past may have felt, there is always light to be found.
Happy 2022, friends!