Today I was reading my friend Sarah's blog and I learned about an online initiative called Reverb 10. The individuals who organize this event provide daily writing prompts for the month of December in an effort to encourage people to process the year that is coming to an end and to begin thinking through the year that is soon to begin. I decided to hop on board because (a) I love to write and I am always wishing I would be more disciplined to sit down and do it and this is good motivation; and (b) I am nerdy and sometimes miss being in school and really enjoying receiving assignments. I can't help it ... it's the way the good Lord made me.
SO, today's challenge is to come up with one word that encapsulates what the year 2010 was like in my life, and to come up with the word that I hope sums up the year 2011.
This year's word sprang into my mind as soon as I read the prompt on the Reverb 10 website: Growth. It was around every corner this year. The first 5 months of 2010 involved a massive amount of growth around my mid-section (and ankles...gag) as we awaited our sweet Liam's arrival. (Gratefully 2010 also involved lots of shrinkage in this area, though not as much as I would have liked.) Then, on May 11, our family grew by a whole person. The number three doesn't sound much bigger than the number two, if you're just talking numbers, but a family of three lives is so much larger than a family of only two lives.
One result of this growth as a family unit has been a lot of forced growth in my own life. Not only have I learned a ton about the practicalities of caring for an infant and how to function on tiny amounts of sleep, but I have also learned to think through and consider things that had never crossed my mind prior to having Liam. In a way very similar to how we cleared out a room in our home for Liam's nursery, decorated it, and filled it with things he would enjoy; it feels as if my brain has begun a process of clearing some space of old, out-dated thoughts and filling it instead with facts, concerns, hopes, and prayers for my son. And more keep coming. On almost a daily basis (okay, maybe just weekly?) I realize something new that Josh and I are going to have to discuss in relation to Liam in particular, or our family in general. This business of desiring to follow the Lord and raise children who love Him is a lot of work.
Although the growth of body, family, and mind have all been pretty phenomenal this year, the growth of my heart exceeds them all. There is no way to describe the overwhelming love for my son and I don't think my heart has quite gotten its legs back under itself since he's been born. I don't really know if it ever will. Along with all this crazy love has come the realization of some areas of my heart that need to die off - and quick. Toxic levels of selfishness and laziness that were previously undetected have become apparent as some of the "me-ness" of my heart is getting shoved aside by all of this new love for another. I have realized that getting married was merely the freshman level class in "Stefanie You Are Selfish".
And what, you may ask, is the word that I hope defines 2011? Intentionality. My big take-away from 2010 has been how much intentionality it will take to be the kind of parent and have the kind of family that I desire to be and have. Healthy habits, fun family traditions, consistent discipline, and godly training do not just happen. Someone in a family has to think about these things ahead of time, make a plan, and take action ... someone named mom and/or dad. I pray that God grants me the energy, creativity, and discipline to live life purposefully. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Just kidding :)