Part 2 of my thoughts on the coming year and our theme of Completion and Restoration.
Last week I wrote about the theme of Completion for the coming year.
What about Restoration?
With so much upheaval in our lives, relationships have also been neglected. We’ve been working so hard, for so long, we haven’t taken time to enjoy the people we love.
We plan to change that in 2017.
The most important relationship is our marriage.
I love Russ with all my heart, and I need to make sure he knows it, every day. I need to love him more than I love myself, which is easy to say, but not so easy to live.
Every morning before the kids leave for school, we pray,
Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
And love your neighbor as yourself.
Those words have sunk deep into me – do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I love my husband as myself? When a task is inconvenient, will I do it anyway to make his life a little easier or better? Do I make sacrifices for him the way I want him to make them for me?
In addition to our marriage, we’re thinking about our kids, especially our older children.
We need to figure out new ways to love our adult kids and grow our relationships with them.
2016 brought many changes with our big kids and we expect 2017 to bring more.
This fall, both Samuel and Isaiah moved away, Isaiah to St. Louis, and Samuel to Portland. These were not, “I’m moving away for a year and I’ll be back,” moves, these were grown-up moves. They won’t live in our little town again. Mimi may be on the verge of moving away too.
Soon we will only have our youngest five living near, which bring us to a new season of life. We need to think about our big kids, how to connect with them, how to spend time with them.
We lost many years while pouring ourselves into their younger siblings. Those can’t be reclaimed, but we can intentionally build something new. It’s tempting to look back with regret, but we won’t gain a thing; we can only look forward and find a new way that brings something better.
Many other relationships were also set aside during those years. We want to restore some of those as well, as time allows, but first, our marriage and our children.
What else will the Lord lead us to restore? Our health, faith, traditions, joy? We don’t know yet, we only know this is our plan for 2017, and honestly, the glimpse we have right now feels full.
We’ll be praying over the long list of incomplete projects/dreams/tasks/commitments, asking God for wisdom about what to complete in all realms of our lives: personal, professional, family, home – everything.
I’m guessing a good number of tasks will be permanently crossed off our lists. We’ll likely wrestle through the remainder, asking each other good questions, prioritizing, figuring out how to help one another.
I will be Russ’ biggest supporter and assistant as he works to complete and restore in 2017, and my most restrained self as I hold back from beginning too many new things and focus on completing what I’ve begun (dare I whisper the word “book?”).
We’ll keep walking through trauma and grief. I met with our counselor yesterday and he told me we’re right where we should be in the grief process. Good to know, because I often feel I’m not handling it well at all.
Russ and I are doing this together – loving each other – trading ashes for beauty, and sorrow for joy, incomplete for complete, and broken for restored.
Lord, have mercy on us. Give us clarity of mind, grace for one another, hearts overflowing with love, and strength to complete the unfinished and restore the broken. Amen.