12.22.2017

My 2018 Word ( & reflections on 2017)


I can't believe it is December 22 already. For me the days go by so slowly and at 7am I wonder if the day could ever be over and then the weeks and months are a blur - so fast.

So many people do this but the thing is to pick a word/phrase/hashtag that you want to focus on in the coming year. I've done this the past couple years and written the word/phrase in my planner on the first page so I could keep coming back to it and as I make and renew my goals.

2016 my word was strength. We had a really rough fall 2015 and that easily bled into 2016. It was an interesting season when my job was my ministry with my husband in my home on the church property. It was all connected and there was little space to breathe or create new paths but I knew my baby boy was due May of 2016 so I needed strength to get to maternity leave and then strength to sustain new life with no sleep.

2017 I didn't have a word going into the first weekend of February but God easily captured my attention when I attended the IF:Gathering and Jennie said her vision is "that we would get really good at the things that nobody sees." I loved this and was intrigued by it and started putting rhythms in place to cultivate this lifestyle but as I've been reflecting more on I still feel I need to go deeper with it.

2017 was a big year of transition but I will summarize it as a hard one. I had really high hopes coming off of maternity leave to implement all these fresh ideas and programs for our ministry and job and was excited to return back to work. After returning it work God made it abundantly clear to both Mark and I that we needed to move on. We heard this but then heard silence and we weren't sure where God was leading us. Looking back now, sitting at my dining room table in Gravenhurst I am smiling just thinking about God's perfect timing but those spring nights of defeat and unknowns left me in tears. Each day I love my husband more but wow, He did such an amazing job leading our family away from all comfort and following God's call up to Gravenhurst. Thank you Jesus for Mark and his leadership! I am so grateful looking back at seeing my hesitant heart and Mark's patience with me as he prayed God would make it clear where he wanted our family. I spent the entire summer getting ready to leave my home and also being the most sick. Honestly, August-October is a complete blur and there isn't much to write. I have never been so unproductive and so sick in my entire life. Every day was a struggle to get out of bed and Mark and I labelled those months as "just survive." That was my job. Keep Jackson alive. I napped when he napped and went to bed by 8pm most nights. I barley left the house and became really isolated in this new town because I was so sick. The nauseous and dizziness started to clear around October when I could decrease the drugs I was taking and now I only have take one pill a night or else I would still throw up but its manageable and I praise the Lord each day for that. October is when things started to turn around.

God miraculously provided the most perfect job for me as an office coordinator where I don't need childcare and can work part time and I started having energy to put into my small business as a wedding planner.I got out of the house and found some great play groups for Jackson which allowed me some awesome ministry opportunities.

So what does 2018 hold?

This past week I took two of Jackson's nap times to just sit with Jesus in silence and thank Him for getting me through 2017 and asking Him what 2018 holds. I asked Him to give me a word or a new theme but I kept circling back to the theme of being unseen. Reflecting on this past year there was a lot that was unseen. As a pastors wife I've had to quickly learn that I can't share most things, whether they are good or bad. In 2017 I learnt to a new extent how to be vulnerable, open and real with keeping a lot of my life private. This was difficult to blog about because the lessons and things I was learning were things that I couldn't share publicly because it wouldn't be honouring. But then God has been showing me that the really sacred things are not meant to be shared in public. We validate social media and sharing our highlight reels and great moments but God has been teaching me that the great moments according to His word are the things in secret, the things to sacred to share. 

For example, Mark and I have been praying for God to bring us "need" and allowing ourselves to say yes and make that margin available to say yes. I get giddy typing this because God is answering our prayer each day providing new people to love on and care for and share the gospel with. Miraculous stuff- but these things are so awe-inspiring and so great and so just for Jesus and I (and Mark). They don't make my instagram feed or facebook account. I couldn't have insta storied the moment where this teenage boy knocks on our door looking for a pastor to talk about the meaning of life with. These moments are the real ones, the ones worth living for but aren't made for the public - they are unseen

And as I wrote in my journal I realized I want so much more of this unseen life. My soul is craving these intimate moments with Jesus. A bible study recently was released by Kristin Hill called called "Go and Tell No One" and it focuses on exactly this unseen life. I love what she writes about this study:

"Even though there is a longing deep within us to be known, understood, validated, recognized, and affirmed, there is a call from Jesus that is deeper still that answers those longings in the Secret, and the Sacred, with Him. Throughout the gospels, Jesus models for us a life that seeks the Father, in Secret. In both everyday encounters, as well as miraculous, life-changing moments, we see Jesus drawing people into the Secret with Him, often with encouragement to treasure those moments by keeping them Sacred."

Yes. Yes. Yes. I believe this because I have tasted it and know it to be true. But I long for it to be more real in my life and I believe in this next season I am able to experience it at a deeper level. 

So my 2018 word: u n s e e n

How do I go about accomplishing this? Less time looking at others lives and trying to produce things to showcase my life. More time with Jesus alone. More time carving intentional space where I can say yes to whatever Jesus has for me and somehow learning not to feel pressured to share it with everyone and being OK with that. I don't think I will delete social media because there is so much good that happens on instagram but I do need to put in more boundaries and create more healthy rhythms to limit the time spent on it so I can spend it more with Christ.


So welcome 2018. I need you. 2017 was a rough year (minus these last couple months) and I am longing and expectant for new lessons. I know I am not seeking comfort as Jesus isn't found there but I am longing to look more like Christ and I know that pruning process is uncomfortable as I continue to deal with my sinful, prideful heart. But I welcome you, I long for those uncomfortable painful moments because I know that I am being molded into the image of Christ and that is my one desire. I can't wait to welcome our second born into the Hockley family and also thinking about summers living in Muskoka on maternity leave seems like a dream when there is a beach down the road from where we rent.

2017 thank you for the lessons. I know that suffering produces steadfastness and that I want that to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1: 2-5)

Do you have a word for 2018? Even if you think it's a dumb idea (my husband does!) I really challenge you to take some time to be silent and think about 2017 and all that God has done and taught you. It's amazing what He wants to show us when we make time for Him and reflect.

Merriest of Christmas from me to you! Thanks for following along through all the silence on this space. I hope in creating new rhythms that I will want to be blogging more but another babe is coming so I can't make any promises.

Your readership means so much. & as always I am an email away if you want prayer or to process anything!

XO

Mads

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