Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve 2012 at Mema Joan's with my bugaboo:)
Wow...2013.  I still remember ringing in 1998 thinking it was crazy how close we were to the 2000's, and now here I am fifteen years later struggling to make it until midnight to ring in the new year!  lol:)  the difference between 15 and 29+1 I suppose...well, that and two precious kiddos who follow in their mother's footsteps of sleep not coming very naturally for them.  I guess it shows that there is hope that they will one day WANT to sleep.  In the mean time, we enjoyed ringing in the new year together:)  (That's grape juice in that picture, by the way!)

As we counted down the last seconds of 2012, I found myself grappling with a typical struggle: wanting to cling to the past.  But I don't think this was necessarily a bad thing.  As I browsed FB over the New year's holiday, I saw lots of posts from people stating how much they were looking forward to moving on to a new year and leaving behind things from the previous year.  There are always resolutions to be made and a hope to move "out with the old and on with the new," and I will admit I usually join in on those things.  My resolution for the past fifteen years of my life has probably included a weight loss goal of some sort, and a desire to put aside certain things from my past.  But as the clock struck midnight on this new year, I found myself with an unusual (for me) outlook as I entered into the New Year.  I couldn't bring myself to write out resolutions for the year (that doesn't mean I don't have goals for this year, but my focus was more reflective this year I suppose), and while others were excited to step out of the past year, I found myself very sentimental and wishing I could hold on to 2012 for just a little bit longer.  So, rather than write out my list of resolutions just yet, I spent some time on the 31st reflecting on all God had brought our family through that year.  And as I thanked the Lord for each thing I wrote down, I found myself sobbing in such humility and overwhelming thankfulness for all God had done.  It's true that 2012 was a very emotional year for our family and VERY stressful at times, but to look back on all of the amazing things God did in our lives I just can't help but be SO very thankful for where He brought us last year and all that He brought us through and all that he allowed us to become.  We rang in 2012 filling out our first of many pieces of paperwork for our adoption agency, and our journey in adoption was certainly a theme throughout the entire year for us, leading us all the way up to December when we got to finalize our long-awaited baby boy's adoption into our family.  And then here we were, ringing in 2013 as a family of four! 

So as I looked back at 2012, it wasn't the many tears that I shed, the stressful moments, or the disappointments that came to my mind.  Rather, it was an intense sense of thankfulness and joy.  Thankfulness to our Lord for the path He went ahead of us to prepare and guide us through; thankfulness to Gabriel's precious birthmother; and just overall joy at the family we have been blessed with and how so many are a part of that.  2012 was a reminder to me that God hears our prayers, and He answers them in His perfect timing.  And 2012 was a reminder of all of the amazing people God has placed in our lives and how each one of them has touched us in so many ways (YOU were a vessel of the Lord in bringing us our heart's desire this past year!)  We didn't just gain a son this past year--we gained a deeper knowledge of the love of the body of Christ; a deeper appreciation for His providence; a stronger awareness of the beauty of every life; and a greater desire to proclaim Him and His mighty works.  We went into 2012 with the hopeful expectation that we would add a child into our family, but little did we know that we would be adding so much more to our family than just his precious life, for the relationship we have with his birthmother is such a treasure to us.  And as 2012 came to a close and we entered into the earliest hours of the New Year, a text came through from Gabriel's birthmom to wish us all a happy new year, to tell us she loved us, and to also voice a thankfulness for where the year had brought us. 

So, as you can probably understand, I wasn't eager to wish away 2012.  But rather than cringe at the unknown of the future as I clung to the past, I decided a new year meant it was time to have a new outlook on my typical back-row-Baptist attitude.  Rather than glare at the thought of change, I decided to pack up all of the blessings from 2012, tuck them deep into my heart, and smile at what was to come.  If God could do so many amazing things in one year, why would I shudder at what else He has in store for me?  I used to think that not clinging to my past meant that I had to totally let it go so that it wouldn't define me and hold me back, but perhaps the greatest lesson of all that I learned from 2012 was a new perspective on my way of thinking.  My past doesn't have to define me, but I CAN allow it to help shape the course of my future.  I can allow it to mold me into a more dependent follower of Christ, or I can let it crush me like the Evil one desires.  So this year, I choose victory in Christ, and I ask Him to help me be thankful...not so much for my past, but for the redemption He has granted me from my past!  And as for not wanting to have to "come down from the mountaintop" and leave behind such good memories, I choose to allow God to use those in my life as a reminder of His provision and His blessings for His children, and His promises that He always fulfills.  I can enter into 2013 with a thankfulness for all He has done in the past, and a great expectation for all that He will continue to do in the future.

 So happy new year my friends!  May you draw closer to Christ in this year and experience all of the blessings He desires to pour into your lives!

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