2016: a year in review

I’m going to tire of saying it, because I’m sure most people’s lives seem to be filled with more & more as the years go by, but 2016 was a full year. And a good year! We loved our time in Duluth with a fantastic community of people (my favorite Diocese!), we got to take trips to see friends & family for special occasions, and we made the move to St. Paul just like we had hoped for. Praise God! #gearns2016

I’ve started making a binder of our years in review (beginning with 2012, the year we met) and I was struggling for how to go about doing it. Do I go the Project Life route? I pondered it and said I’d only do like 2-3 pages per year, but then that became unrealistic because really how do you choose?! I thought of many ways to document our lives (I even made multiple trips to Michael’s – browsing, buying, returning), and in the end settled on what I had initially envisioned. I know people send out years in review for their Christmas cards – and I really like that idea – so I decided to begin our family binder of our years together. It may evolve and grow, but for now it consists of a one page summary (style and content varies each year) and a page of prominent photos (basically my instagram pics…because they’re already square). And we love it! Below is our 2016 (some content may seem a bit odd & personal as I wasn’t making it strictly for other people).

May you be blessed in 2017!

Surrender

Last year around this time I attempted to come up with a theme for 2015. A virtue or discipline I wanted to work on. Kevin actually came up with it for me: the challenge to be more more present. Did I succeed? In some ways, yes. In some ways, absolutely not. To be honest, I probably forgot about this committed effort halfway through the year when things got more crazy. To be more present – in moments, prayer, relationships – is still something I want to work on. Ardently. But for 2016, the word I choose to give more focus to is surrender.

Last year, more so in the first half, there was so much I tried to control or hold onto. I had put months and months of my time into researching about the female body, nutrition, and naturopathic medicine. I’d spent an embarrassing amount of time on infertility blogs trying to figure out where I went wrong (worst thing to possibly do – don’t do it!). I tried to meticulously plan for every possible move we could have made, leaving me dejected when something didn’t work out. I tried to force certain variables into place when my heart was set on a location, a job, or just an idea. I’ve succumbed to anger, envy, and pride at points when I thought I was entitled to a certain result but left with something else. All because of my inability to trust completely in Jesus.

Thankfully, the Lord (and mama Mary!) has been working on my heart immensely over the past few months. Maybe one of the unexpected graces of moving so far away from what I find comfortable and familiar. I truly feel God calling me to a deeper surrender. Even just the beginnings of letting go, the desire to be detached from what I think I want, has given way to great peace. As we head into this new year, there are still so.many.unknowns for me and Kevin. But I’m content.

Last year I was so often consumed with fear over what might happen to us if we made the wrong decision, or if we tried our best but it didn’t pay off. That is true work of the evil one (stay away!). One of the greatest gifts we can give to Jesus is to trust in Him. To trust in Him and His merciful heart. This is what I long to do more than anything. To please Jesus by giving everything to Him, and allowing Him to do with me what He will. I should know at this point, after all I’ve been through, that this is the only way to true joy.

I have an over-abundance to be grateful for this year, and I’m trying to give proper thanks, though it will take more than a lifetime to properly give. But let’s see if this year can be a time of growing in radical trust. Like Mary, may I have the courage to say “let it be done to me.”

Fiat