2016 Word of the Year

In lieu of any resolutions or checklists for 2016, I’m taking a cue from one of my favorite bloggers over at The Small Things and choosing a special word to focus on for this year — a theme, of sorts, that will inspire and inform my thoughts as we launch into a new year of exciting adventures.

So, without further adieu, the word for 2016 is…

“the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” Merriam-Webster

Stewardship is not necessarily a word that is used in common conversation these days, but it covers a multitude of positive character traits and seemed like the best way to describe my intent for the year. In reflecting on 2015 (and really the past several years), the overwhelming conclusion is that we have been blessed. Very blessed. With jobs, homes, family, friends, and so much more. We have accepted new jobs, and succeeded in them; we have settled into new living environments with little difficulty; grown our family with a son and soon a daughter; we are surrounded by a loving community of family — both biological and spiritual. In recognizing all that the Lord has given us, I can’t help but be humbled and struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

But gratitude is not where it ends. The old adage goes “To whom much is given, much is required.” And this is where 2016 brings me. Having been given much, there is much expected of me. As a wife and mother, as a daughter of Christ, as a member of my local community — there are so many ways I am called to steward these blessings and use them to build God’s kingdom. So, in this coming year, I want to focus on that calling. Particularly, in the following three areas…

Family & Friends

It is obvious to me that my first priorities are to my family. First as a wife, then as a parent.  These are both hugely important roles with significant bearing on the lives of at least 3 people around me… with a ripple effect that will impact several more. It is easy to lose track of how pivotal these roles are in the day-to-day challenges of life. In 2016, I want to truly focus on acting as a steward of the precious family I have been given and work to ensure that I am giving them my best.

Although friendship relationships come second to family, they are extremely important as well and must be similarly nurtured. I’ve never had a very wide social circle of friends — and probably even less so at this stage of my life when I spend most of my time at home — but the friendships I’ve been given are the kind that last. And I want to make sure they stay that way!

Time & Talent

I feel very blessed to have been given a skill set and talent for a career that enables me to work from home, doing what I enjoy. Freelance graphic/web design is a wonderful fit for my creative abilities and time allowance at this stage of motherhood. I enjoy it so much that sometimes I have a hard time tearing myself away from work! It has been a struggle for my over the last two years to find a balance in parenting and working from home. Although I truly believe I’ve been given the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds, I want to make sure that I’m not shortchanging my family with a preference for work. At the same time, in the work that I do, I want to ensure that I am giving it my all and providing the best results for my clients. This also applies to cultivating other talents and predilections like painting and drawing — creating art is something I’ve enjoyed since a young age — but only in the sense that it promotes rather than detracts from the aforementioned priorities.

Health & Wealth

These two are paired often idiomatically and, though they seem to represent two separate concepts, they are really rather closely related. Health can quickly become worn down by a rabid pursuit of materialism, and no amount of money can buy you the blessings of good health. Conversely, an inordinate obsession with “health” (appearance, fitness, etc.) still cannot provide the satisfaction of the true Life found only in Christ. With those provisions being granted, these are still two areas of life that are pretty unavoidable. We all have bodies that need to be provided for. And it is to the benefit of the preceding goals that I be a good steward of the health and material possessions God has seen fit to bestow at this time of my life.

I’ll be elaborating on these points in future posts, but these concepts encompass a lot of what it means to be a homemaker: providing healthy meals for my family; creating a positive, wholesome home environment; spending and saving conscientiously; and encouraging these habits in those around me. Stewardship of the home is the very heart of any society and it is my focus this year to learn, grow, and serve as a steward of the blessings I’ve been given.

‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 14:23

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