As I look back on the last twelve months, three words seem to summarize the year for me – how I grew, what I learned, what characterized the year, how I will remember 2017. Much of the year I felt overwhelmed (in a good way) by things I was learning and ways I was growing, but most of that really does boil down to these three things.
2016 ended with us in transit and fighting PPD. I knew there was a lot that needed to change – so much that I didn’t want to put any sort of time frame on it, so I never said “2017 will be a year of healing” because I knew that it could be much longer than a year before I felt whole again.
But God not only healed the PPD but also so much more as He worked in me as a wife and mother, and brought to light sin that needed to be worked through and emotions from the last four years that I had swept aside instead of processing – mostly to do with all of our moves and the sadness of saying goodbye to so many people and communities in such a short time.
A lot of this healing came through prayer, the Psalms, and replacing lies with the Truth.
This started as rest connected with healing – clearing the schedule to simplify life and leave breathing room for lack of stress and to spend more time together now that Ezra’s schedule gives him more time off. I had to learn first that having nothing to do is OK – I often found myself puttering around trying to find things to do instead of picking up a book or playing with the girls because having more to do than I was able had become so habitual after Ellie was born.
At the same time, I’m now a lot better about sensing that there is too much on my to-do list and being willing to drop things or let them take longer – loving my children is more important than being on time or getting everything done, and better a late dinner in love than on time with biting words. I realized a lot of ideals from myself or society that I was focusing on instead of what my job as wife and mommy are according to God.
But it was also realizing that rest isn’t the same as an empty schedule, but is relinquishing control and letting God be God – resting from worrying about things, over-planning, micro-managing, etc. – and so there can be rest even when the calendar is full.
This came up again and again in books I was reading – mostly Humble Roots and None Like Him, but also Teaching From Rest and Parenting (Tripp) – resting not in the successes or abilities of me or my children but in the One who sent me, admitting how often I try to be God despite not being omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, etc, not worrying about how things will work out in the future but trusting God and being faithful now.
“Looking to Jesus” has been on my mind since before Ellie was born, but it came up again and again as I was memorizing Hebrews 12, doing the Behold Your God study, and reading various books and kept connecting what I was struggling with to a solution of looking to God for satisfaction.
But before that could happen God had to work in my heart to bring me to trust Him again after a season of depression where it often seemed like He was turning away from my cries. Joni’s story helped much with that – faith not in my ability to accept PPD but to embrace Christ because of my problems – and a quote from Tripp’s Parenting book: “Biblical faith never asks you to deny reality, it calls you to look at your realities through the lens of the awesome glory and grace of your Redeemer.”
Then I was able to begin to learn what it talks about in 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You:
“As faithful eyes perceive the unseen glories of God and reborn hearts embrace them, all the visible glories of God in the world seem to thicken in substance. The more eagerly we embrace God, the more gratitude we express for His created gifts for us and the more clearly we begin to discern the sinful distortions and the hollow promises of free sin.”
– Tony Reinke (page 140)
Faith, looking not at the seen of social media’s pull, daily trials, fears of future PPD, but instead looking to Jesus, my Savior.
I suppose in the end all 3 things come down to letting God be God and not trying to do His job myself, but rejoice and rest in His care and power.
Saying those words characterized 2017 doesn’t mean that I have those things down, far from it! I expect 2018 will be a continuation of those three things and growth in many other areas as well.
On a more practical note, 2017 introduced me to crafting with felt, transformed my bread-baking (Thanks Laurel’s Kitchen and Peter Reinhart), and included 11 Ferling etudes and doing music for church twice a month.