Name Your Year
Each year our family writes our favorite events, toys, sayings, etc. from the year that is ending, and we write our individual goals for the new year beginning. The last 7 years, we have also made a theme for the New Year. 2018 was "The Year of Inspiration". The goal was to intentionally seek new experiences, look at old problems from a new perspective, or just say "yes" more to find inspiration. Having a theme is nice because when you look back, you will usually see that in some way, you did in fact accomplish that goal! It's more flexible and open and we have found it to be more encouraging than the typical New Year's resolutions (even though we still like to make those too).
As we reflected on this last year's theme, the biggest inspiration we had as a family was to say 'yes' to adoption and not just talk about it as a 'someday' thing anymore. That inspiration spurred Matt to write a song about adoption and add it to a new album he is working on now. It has also inspired me to begin blogging about our journey, which I've discovered is something I really enjoy doing. Our oldest son, Spencer, decided to step out and apply for the Praxis apprenticeship program and was accepted. He also paid his own way through a voice acting school! Davis, our 15 year old, raised money to travel to Japan and then took his passion for Fortnite to the next level by beginning his own Youtube channel. And our youngest son, C.J., has been taking art classes to hone his drawing skills and has also saved up over $700 to purchase his own PC for gaming and learning to create computer animation.
At the beginning of 2018, these were not even thoughts we had, let alone goals to work towards. My husband and I pray about what our theme should be and will usually feel led to a bible passage or famous quote that brings us to it. We chose "Inspiration" because we felt we were growing stagnant as a family and needed encouragement to look beyond our routines. I print the passages we find, frame it, and keep it in our dining room. It's there the whole year as a reminder. Even though we have no idea where that theme will lead, it always feels rewarding to see how it became fulfilled.
For 2019, we are naming our year "The Year of Perseverance". We also discussed the words "Focus" and "Endurance", but as we prayed about the intent, we felt that perseverance was a better description. Endurance is the measure of a person's stamina or persistence, whereas perseverance is the act of continuing on in spite of one's opposition, discouragement, or past failures. It is being focused on the prize knowing it won't come easy. There is a focus we each are heading towards, which is a good thing, but perseverance is more about how we tarry there. Our ultimate goal while here on earth is to hear from our Father in Heaven "Well done, my good and faithful servant".
Hebrews 12:1 tells us, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." There are three things to take note of in this passage: 1. People are watching "how" you live, 2. Throw off the temptations of this world so we can carry on. And 3. Carry on YOUR path that God has set before you. Not everyone is called to the same path. Not every christian will adopt, or get married, or live overseas as missionaries. Our paths will be as unique as God created us to be. So we learn what that path looks like for us individually, persevere to stay on it with integrity, honesty, and love because we are being watched. And we hope that those watching will not see people living out their faith in perfection, but people who do not lose faith when life gets hard.