Welcoming a new year feels like taking a big breath of sharp, fresh air, and exhaling out all the musty cobwebs that have been gathering inside for a long time.
This past year has seen massive shifts in priorities, location, and focus. We said hello to our first baby in February while temporarily living in Thailand, and everything turned upside down in the best of ways.
We said good bye to three years in Cambodia as we uprooted ourselves from Southeast Asia and landed back in the United States.
And I went back to work in a "real nursing job", with hours and bosses and a salary and lots of emotional and mental demands that I'd forgotten about during my time at home.
2014 has been all about change - and trusting in God.
"Trust" was my word for 2014. And the Lord taught me to trust him in so many different ways I can't even begin to name. I stop and think about experiences and situations that were fabulous and heart breaking, difficult and rewarding - and in every one of them, God challenged me to trust him.
I didn't always do that. Sometimes I frantically tried to control things so they turned out the way I wanted them to. At other times, I just felt despair that anything good would come out of bleak circumstances. Yet God's grace still broke through my stubbornness.
Even in the past month, I have seen God take care of all the details for us. I was excited about going back to work but also so stressed out over who would watch Declan and how I'd balance being a mom and wife and being at a job 40 hours a week. We moved into our house two days before my husband and I both started working on the same day. Declan was still waking up several times during the night (probably due to our nomadic lives over the past several months), and I felt so tired.
And the past few weeks have not been easy. I have been on survival mode, just trying to keep ahead of washing clothes and making food and driving to work and keeping my wits about me.
But now I can look back and say, Ok, God, you had my back. You kept us afloat. You brought me encouragement when I was down, rest when I was exhausted, people who could help us out when I didn't know who to call next.
And today marks the beginning of a new year. Last year at this time, I was pregnant, living in Cambodia, volunteering part time, and sweating a lot. Now I have a beautiful 10-month-old, a job I love, a husband who is still amazing, and a tiny house in Kansas City where I'm currently curled up on the couch in thick socks and a warm sweater.
Life has changed in almost every way.
I know a lot of people are talking about their word for 2015. I didn't intend to pick one out. But as I thought about it over soapy dishes and dinner clean-up, I knew my word almost immediately: rooted.
I want to be rooted in my identity in Christ - knowing who I am and my purpose in life.
I wanted my mind to be rooted in Scripture - that my thoughts would mold themselves to Truth, and that my words would reflect that truth.
I want my relationships to be rooted in Christ's love - that I would encourage others to cling to Jesus and to grasp his love that passes all understanding.
And I want to be deeply rooted right where I am - to become connected with others in our neighborhood and community and church, to love the city and become part of the fabric of the culture around me.
My heart is full of deep gratitude for the ways my life has evolved in the past twelve months. I wouldn't trade a minute of travel and transition for anything. But now, I'm ready to be fully present where I am. Although we are very open to returning back overseas someday, we know God wants us right here, right now.
And I can't wait to see what 2015 holds for us.
I'd love to hear in the comments if you've chosen a word for 2015, and about what God has done in your life in the past year. What is one lesson you learned in 2014?