In a few short hours, a new year…a new decade…will dawn. Is it really possible that it’s going to be 2020? All signs point to yes, but still. I have a hard enough time believing that the 90s weren’t just a decade ago, but 20 years since Y2K?! Unbelievable! It just feels so big, so important, you know? There’s so much weight to that number…2020. Last year, I felt that something big was coming. But this year? I feel a different longing; a longing to feel stable, set, situated. It might be a new year, but I am going into it the same me. Older, sure. Wiser, maybe. But really? Just the same old me.
And that feeling? That longing in my heart for stability? It has led me to reflect. Both on the words that guided 2019 and the ones that have presented themselves as benchmarks for 2020.
Heading into 2019, I knew something was up. I had a feeling of anticipation that I just couldn’t shake. There were hopes and dreams that were just beginning to make themselves known. Our 20th wedding anniversary was looming. We were going to be taking trips and seeing new places. And when I did Jen Fulwiler’s word of the year generator and the one from Dayspring, the words that came up were just the confirmation I needed that my gut feeling was right.
Did I escape? I sure did.
In February, Greg and I escaped to Colorado together for a long weekend. We ate well, rode a train, saw snow, and had a wonderfully fruitful time of reconnection.
In May, I escaped everyday life and took a trip back in time when I attended my 20th college reunion.
In June, Greg and I were able to escape together again as we cruised the Caribbean for our 20th wedding anniversary.
July saw our whole family escape reality for a bit as we took a trip over to the springs of Central Florida for a vacation. It was easy to let the distractions of life melt away as we floated and kayaked and swam together.
My next escape came in September when I attended the Blessed is She Shine Retreat in Nashville.
In October, we took our girls for a quick, one-day Disney escape. Two parents, two girls, one day at the Magic Kingdom…it was very good for all of us!
And our last escape of the year was just last week. The six of us traveled up to Tennessee to spend Christmas with my family and it couldn’t have been more special.
Even through all those travels, though, did I actually escape? Well, maybe. But I’m still the same me.
And what about those hopes?
Can I be honest? Can I share the biggest hope I had for 2019? It’s big and vulnerable and a little bit silly, but here it is.
I wanted to quit my job teaching preschool music and I wanted to write a book.
There it is. I put it out into the world. I guess, though, that the next logical question would be… Well, did you? Did you do what you hoped?
Yes and no.
Yes, I quit my job teaching preschool music. I didn’t love it. The longer I did it, the less I liked it and I didn’t want that to affect the sweet kids I taught. It was time to move on, so after the closing program of the year, that’s just what I did. Without regrets and without looking back.
No, I didn’t write a book. And, to be completely honest, maybe I should restate that part of the hope. I hoped that I would somehow magically be discovered. That I’d get “the call” out of the blue and someone would tell me how much they thought the world needed to hear the story I had to tell. Not only that, but that I’d also magically know the wherefores and how-tos of book writing. Well, dear reader, spoiler alert: none of that happened.
Shockingly, though? I’m OK with it. You see, what I didn’t know then was that God had other things in mind for me. Different, less noticeable, deeper and wider things. But all for the same me.
And the words for 2020 are…
This word didn’t come to me from any sort of word generator or by taking a quiz. Instead, it is the fruit of some serious work I think God’s been doing in my soul. Work that has been cracking my heart open, showing me that I am loved, and preparing me for things to come.
So, what exactly will I be working on accepting this year? Where do I need this (His?) acceptance in my life?
My body. This is me now. The same me. And I’m getting used to who this person is. She has grayer hair, more wrinkles, and a thicker middle. But she’s strong. She’s flexible. She can love well, cook well, carry well, and she is well.
My goals and hopes. I can’t say that last year’s hope of book writing not coming true wasn’t a bit of a disappointment. But can I accept that maybe this just isn’t the right time? Yes. Can I accept that maybe I have some more work and learning and growing to do? Yes. Can I lean into that work and write more here and grow more here? Sure can.
My family’s changes. In a few short weeks, my oldest child will turn 18. I will be the mother of a legal adult. Then, quicker than I’d like to admit, he will leave us. We’ll begin the long and trying process of launching our children into the world and I will readily admit I don’t know how that’s going to work or how badly it will hurt. But I know that I need to accept it with grace and with God’s help.
And maybe just maybe, I need to lean into being accepted more. To truly feeling the acceptance and love I feel from my husband, my friends, and my God. Maybe I need to trust them when they tell me and show me that who I am is enough and not spend pointless hours and worries second guessing them.
For this word, I did take a quiz. This is from the Dayspring website that I linked above. I like that better than just a random word generator because there are questions that seek to find out what you feel God is doing in your life. What your attitudes and predilections are. And when, after answering the questions on the quiz, this is the word that popped up, I had to smile.
The song we used to sing way back in elementary school came rushing back to mind. You know, the one about “bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.” And the thought occurred to me:
If I accept where and who and what I am in this life…this same me? If I accept this gut-wrenchingly beautiful and sometimes brutal life God leads me through…this same me? And if I dare to accept wholeheartedly the love I am given? In what ways will I be able to bloom in 2020?
Well, friend, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this. The more I think about it, the more I can’t wait to find out.