One of my favorite things to do the week between Christmas and New Years Eve is to take time to reflect on the last year. I love looking back at milestones, lessons learned and highlights; doing this helps me recognize ways that I’ve grown, and also gives me a fresh perspective of how the Lord has worked in my life throughout the last year.
At the beginning of 2017 I chose the word “full” for my word of the year. I had BIG, ambitious goals in mind – ones like write a book and start a family – so this word seemed 100% fitting. Since then, I’ve often referred to this year as the year of unmet expectations, because nothing I planned came to fruition. But what I’m now realizing is that the word “full” was very fitting for this last year, it just wasn’t in the way that I had imagined. Instead of being filled with a book and babies, this year was chocked full of self-realizations, life lessons, and unexpected blessings.
2017 was full in ways that only the Lord could’ve orchestrated; it was a good year, a hard year, but it was far better than I imagined or expected. Here are a few of the highlights, lessons and unexpected blessings that came with 2017.
Hawaii & Charleston trips - We took two anniversary trips - one to Hawaii to celebrate our 5th anniversary (a bit belated) and one to Charleston, SC to celebrate our 6th. It’s been a huge blessing to be able to celebrate marriage by traveling somewhere for our anniversary. I hope it’s a tradition we are able to continue.
Camping – This one was on my top 5 favorite moments of summer; we bought a truck bed tent and went camping twice this year! One of them being the first time we camped with just the two of us. I never went camping growing up so this was a cool experience.
Writing milestones – This year I was published in (in)courage, Grit & Virtue, and Whilst. I’ve also taken baby steps towards starting my book; I learned about writing a book proposal through a workshop and signed up for a writing retreat in June. My favorite writing highlight was releasing my “things we don’t talk about" series. I was overwhelmed with the positive response to sharing posts about marriage struggles and questions like “what if I don’t want to have kids?” And I am looking forward to finishing the series this January.
Struggling with pregnancy thoughts - The year began with me thinking we were going to start a family, transitioned to anxiety as each friend started announcing their pregnancies, and transformed into a question of “what if I don’t want to have kids?” Above and beyond, what I’ve felt the Lord impressing into my heart is to let go of my worries about starting a family and trust that He will communicate if/when we are supposed to have children. This has been a hard subject to loosen my grip on, but doing so has given me great freedom.
Heavy conversations in marriage are worth it – I would say that this has been our hardest year of marriage. Not because anything crazy or bad happened, but because we’re asking hard questions about how we want to/need to love each other better. Having these heavy, seemingly constant conversations this past summer was exhausting, but now that I am on the other side I can see how we have grown closer and built a stronger marriage.
Accepting my body – Over the past 7 years, I have struggled with the effects of having a hypermobile body; in short, what that means is most of my joints are overly flexible making them prone to instability. As a result I’ve dealt with painful issues with both of my clavicles, my right hip, ribs, and forearms. Frustrated with one ailment after another, I came to a turning point – essentially saying to myself, “Mindy you have 2 choices. You can accept your body for what it is and learn how to care for it better. OR You can hate it all the time and view every life adjustment you have to make as a limitation.” Thankfully, Lord-willing, I opted for option number 1. Instead of viewing my monthly PT, massage and Chiropractic appointments as frustrating requirements, I’ve learned to accept that each appointment is a valuable blessing that helps keep my body as happy as it can be. The other cool part - I finally built a workout routine that I love! Yoga 2x a week, barre class 1x a week, plus 1 day of lifting is the perfect combo to help support and strengthen my body. .
I’m going to be an Aunt! – My sister is pregnant with her first baby, a baby girl! I am so excited to step into my role as Auntie Mindy and snuggle and love that baby like it’s my job.
New community with fellow writers – Being a writer can feel incredibly isolating, but this year the Lord surrounded me with a beautiful, unexpected community of fellow writers. Through the wonderful world of Instagram I have found a sweet little group of writers. Spread throughout the US, we follow each other's posts, and encourage each other as we navigate the world of writing. Instagram also brought me a new "in real life" friend! I can already tell this friendship is going influential; it is so clear that the Lord orchestrated the relationship. I love when God surprises us like that.
_ let go and let God _
If I had to name one overarching theme this past year, it would be this - let go and let God. It's one of those cliché phrases but it is also incredibly true and mind-blowingly rewarding. I tried to live 2017 according to my plans, and then God so tenderly, sweetly, gently encouraged me to stop striving, Seek Him and let the plans follow. Giving Him control, allowing Him to define and shape the fullness that was 2017 is what made this year so unexpectedly beautiful.
I am so thankful for the fullness of 2017, and I can't wait to see what God has in store this next year.
Happy new years, friends!
Sending you lots of love and cheer as we ring in the new year!
* image of my most 'liked' Instagram posts of 2017 *
thanks to 2017bestnine.com