New Every Morning

January 1st came and went. It’s the start of a new year, and I am SO not ready for it. Christmas was a whirlwind of tissue paper, toys, travel and not a few tears (not necessarily in that order). We left our house in Indiana at 3am the day after Christmas to catch an early morning flight in Chicago, landing in Atlanta around 9am, and filling the next few days with family fun, including a memorable visit to the Southeastern Railway Museum (Cormac was thrilled!). We arrived back home late Friday night with my mother in tow, and spent New Year’s Eve at a wedding. And then, all of the sudden, it’s 2017.

In years past, I’ve had a list of goals, resolutions, anti-resolutions, statements or some-such, ready to go. This year, I’ve been caught unawares. Is this a bad sign? First day of the new year and I’m already behind? I think it just means I need to take a little more time to figure it out. Perhaps this year should be the year for more breathing room, taking time to step back and enjoy the precious moments I’ve been given, to share them with my little family, rather than continuing to run forward at breakneck pace, trying to fit in more than any one person possibly can. It’s easy to get caught up, to say “yes” more than “no”, and painstakingly piece together a schedule that fits everything within the spare minutes of every day.

But maybe everything doesn’t have to be done. I feel as though I’ve spread myself thin and perhaps now is the time to reign it in. The whole world doesn’t need me to commit to everything, but I can name least three people who do need me on a daily basis. If I’m overfocused on everything else, will I have the time and energy I need left to devote to them? I don’t want to withdraw from all activities — just focus on the things that are most important. Prioritizing can be difficult but, at certain times of life, it becomes more necessary. My children are young and need a mother who is present, even in the little moments that may not seem to matter much. My husband is responsible and hard-working, he handles so much on his own, but he still needs a wife who is resilient and encouraging, especially at the end of a long day. My creative juices rarely cease flowing, and I will always seek outlets for that, but perhaps this year means focusing more attention on fewer projects, rather than spreading myself too thin for the sake of an opportunity or a paycheck.

I can name three things right now that I’m going to stop doing. And it will mean three things I can do better for my family. I guess it’s not really about what my priorities are so much as who. Mothering is a selfless gift of time and energy. But the funny part is, the more you give the more you get. So if giving less to other people means giving more to my family, I think it’s the right move.

January 1st was also a Sunday. We got up and went to church as normal, but the words felt like they were directed to me in particular, even as I wrangled an antsy three-year-old. Amidst the whirlwind of activity, busy holidays and travel, a year full of change and growth, I was feeling worn out. The verses from Lamentations came from a place of struggle and emptiness, “my soul is bereft of peace.” (Lamentations 3:17). I wasn’t quite that far down, but as a young wife and mother, it’s not hard to imagine a place of mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion. But that’s not an ending; it’s a beginning.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Starting the new year from a place of faith means trusting in God’s faithfulness. Rather than striving to carve out my own goals, pursuing every new opportunity and struggling to keep up,  I can rest in His mercies that are renewed every morning. That’s an impressive promise. But one I can place my hope in. And it makes the start of a new year that much more exciting.

So, cheers to a new year with no resolutions. To doing less and being more. To trusting in God’s faithfulness rather than my own provisions. 2017, here we come!

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