A January of Rest and Reflection

It’s mid-January already and most people have laid out goals they want to accomplish this year. Blog posts have been circulating on everything from how to have manageable goals, to word-of-the-years, to specific goal-lists from individual people.

If you’re like me and have decided to hold off a bit on the goal lists you might think you’re behind. I have had some passing guilt that January 1st passed me by and I didn’t have a neatly organized goal list with all my hope-to-do accomplishments.

Of course, I did have a baby two weeks before the New Year, so it seemed only normal to let the goals rest for a bit. But I wonder if it isn’t a wise decision anyway? All too often I have come off of a very busy December and rushed into January full of zeal and good intentions. I want to start an exercise routine, and eat right, and read more, accomplish more, etc, etc.

Where is the time for reflection? Where is the time to evaluate everything God has done for you over the past year. and then look ahead to the new year full of possibilities? Some may be able to find time to do that in the midst of the holidays, but for me it was impossible. A new baby, a house full of people, Christmas, a child’s birthday made time to seriously reflect nearly an impossibility.

So, I waited.

And the reflection has been good.

I started last January with a lot of goals that were manageable but still stretching. I new it would be a year of unknowns, but I had no idea how many unknowns the year would take.

February came and with it a sick little girl that would consume more of my time than I could ever have imagined. It also consumed more emotional energy than I could have imagined.

We finished seminary and headed into a summer of travel, seeing family and friends, and living out of a suitcase in preparation for our big move to Scotland.

I was depleted. In fact, I have never been as low physically or emotionally (they are so connected, aren’t they?) as I was the weeks leading up to our move here. I was physically exhausted from nights of little sleep and travel. And the build up of the unknowns of our move had my nerves on edge. I think I had forgotten how much energy pregnancy takes, and coupled with a crazy life for a couple of months and needy children, I felt like I had nothing more to give. Nothing.

For months I had been giving, giving, giving. I was surviving on literally a couple of hours of sleep each night. And it had taken its toll on both my body and soul.

So I arrived in Scotland with really only one thought in mind. Rest. I needed rest. Both physical and emotional.

Even though Brian jumped right into a heavy research load, we were intentional about finding rest as a family. We needed physical rest, yes. But we also needed emotional rest. Time to just be. To regroup and find family life again.

This fall was that for us. It was time to adjust to a new culture (more about that coming soon), a new way of living, and find calm as a family. We needed that desperately. I needed that.

While adjusting to a culture is never easy, and there have been some bumps along the way, those first few months were such a joy for us mainly because we felt that we were experiencing peace and calm like we hadn’t felt in months. It was a breath of fresh air.

This month I have been reflecting on all that. The lows, the highs, the glorious moments of grace peeking through ordinary days.

We’ve had some tough discussions this month too, hashing out things like how we’re going to pay for this venture we’re on. I’m learning to be a Mom of four precious little people. I’ve cried about everything from how in the world will we have enough money, to how in the world am I going to be a mom to four children, to “I’m just tired!”

And it’s been good.

I’m ready for the year. No, I still don’t have answers about money, and mothering, or much else to be honest, but this time of reflection has been good.

Whatever this year brings I know that God will get us through. It’s no longer head knowledge. I’ve experienced Him carrying me through what has been a most challenging year and I know He’ll do the same this year, whatever it brings.

So, 2014, I’m ready for you! And I may even be ready to set a few goals. But oh am I going to hold them loosely. Because tomorrow? I have no idea what it will bring, but I’m excited to see what God has for us.



  1. That’s why I waited until 2 weeks into the year before deciding on one word (and why I only choose one word v. an entire list!)and only because He used some very specific situations and circumstances to guide me to that particular one. My break from blogging also proved to be a very much needed time of rest (and our move down here has been that for our entire family as well!) allowing me extra time to reflect. Thankful for how God speaks to us even through the quiet, difficult moments of life. Glad to read your writing again and be back in touch via blogging..looking forward to more! 😉

    • I loved your word of the year and can so relate to your comments (will try to get over to your blog and comment soon!) :-)

  2. Sounds like you have a healthy approach! Money was always the big stress when we were in Scotland, and we had no kids when we arrived and only one when we left.

    • I know you know how we feel! It’s hard not to let the financial stress take away some of the joy of living here… 😉

  3. Glad you’ve gotten a chance to rest and reflect. I hope that rest and reflection period is able to stretch out for you a little more. I haven’t gotten my goals for 2014 written out yet either. It’s all still percolating.

  4. Rest and reflection is a good thing :) I love how you are intentional about it.


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