The New Year is a unique time to reflect on the past and create dreams and goals for the next year. Our family was in a transitional year the past year while living with my in-laws and helping in a new church plant. Only six weeks ago we moved into our own house again. God has taught me many things this year through the journey and processes of our waiting for Him to work things out for us to be a one-family household again. After learning those lessons I am wanting to continue, Lord willing, in changing some things in my own personal life.
These are not in any particular order, just a list. Nothing to analyze too critically, I just wanted to share with you what’s been on my heart and mind.
Becoming More of a Minimalist
We lived for one year in two bedrooms, one closet, one section of a storage shed at my in-law’s house, and the rest of our belongings in a storage unit with the large furniture in front so we could not access even our extra winter clothes last year. We learned to live with less. We regularly went through our things and rotated them into the smaller storage tubs and back around again when we needed them. I learned to have a capsule wardrobe and remained sane by sending the kids to go play outside.
The house we’re living in now is about 600 square feet smaller than our previous home and all of our boxes filled our garage to the max when we first moved in- talk about looking like a hoarder! Going through the boxes has been an overwhelming feat for me to make a decision of getting rid of things or keeping them.
(I just read this article today, what a help and motivation to keep going!)
God showed me in the past year that I do not need things to live and be happy, while they may make things convenient, all the items I had (and still have) are not necessary. Materialism has been a weight upon my shoulders and although it’s taking time and effort, including letting go, it has freed me to have a place for everything. It has given me more time to focus on the home we have without the guilt of knowing I always have unfinished business cleaning something somewhere. Our garage is still a work in progress but with dedication I believe this is a goal that can be realized within the next six months.
Focusing on Exercise and Healthy Living
Five kids later my body has given me those aches and pains and I have struggled with losing too much weight (yes, some people actually have that problem!). God is helping me learn more about a good diet and the kind of exercise I need to strengthen my body. Our family has been wanting to grow some type of garden this year of organic herbs and vegetables. You know, I believe in helping our bodies be healthy so we can serve the Lord longer!
Growing in the Lord
They say if you’re not growing in the Lord you’re backsliding. My Bible reading and prayer life must improve and has some areas to grow. I cannot pour out to others what has not been first done in my heart. This is a necessity! It is the most important item in this list.
Reading Books to Encourage
Reading books helps you gain wisdom and understanding about life and ministering to others. I want to read more this year than I did this past year… with our situation I’m not sure if I finished any books in 2016 but rather dabbled here and there and was highly distracted like a metal ball in a pinball machine. I’m also planning on reading books aloud with our children during our homeschooling, which always has helped us grow together in heart and experience.
Writing More Articles for The Ministry Mama
We moved into my in-law’s home in November of 2015 with a six-week old baby and our other four children. My husband began a secular job and does his ministry work in his “free” weeknights and Saturday time. The burden was on me to make sure that our kids were living and doing right in someone else’s home as well as nurturing our baby and homeschooling, cleaning and making meals, etc. My time was devoted to keep the peace so that we were still welcome at my in-laws during the duration of God’s allowing us to live there, that is why my writing articles was very slim in 2016.
Lord willing, (it seems every time I make plans for doing more here other things intervene or something crazy happens) I will be back to writing regular weekly posts in 2017.
Making Friends and Extending Hospitality
We are still in a “new” to me city, my husband grew up here, but all of our married life we lived elsewhere so besides a couple of friends we do not have a large group of people our age that we know and spend time with. All around us are ministry families in different churches in this city and the suburbs surrounding us and it’s time we make new friends and grow some relationships! Hospitality helps you grow in servitude and friendships build you up when you find faithful friends, and this is an area I need to improve upon. It may be difficult at times because my husband does not always have a lot of free time now but when we do open our home and have good theological conversations and even laugh with people then we are always doubly blessed.
I hope you’re thinking of those things you want to do, it’s good to dream and plan, have goals and want to create. If you’re not sure of what you want to do, then simply ask the Lord to help you. I believe He will show you or put a desire in your heart to accomplish some special things in 2017 if you’ll let Him.