Happy New Year!
Other than sharing the awesome New Year Spectacular in Kandern… this is a difficult post to write.
I can’t seem to remember 2013… I remember the longest, darkest winter Germany has seen in forever. I remember rocky moments in parenting and marriage. I remember the guests who passed through and some fun moments this summer. And the rest is foggy.
To be honest, Ann Voskamp’s post on this New Year pretty much sums it up for me: “When You Don’t Want A New Year but A New You”
In fact, THIS quote could have come from my very own lips.
Every. Single. Word.
Well…. do I tell you that 2012 was the year I didn’t lose 10 pounds, forgot every morning for. a. year. to exercise, didn’t finish reading the Bible, failed to write what I really wanted, never got the basement backroom gutted, rammed about in the same ruts on rinse and repeat, only read half as many books to the kids as I’d planned, and missed living up to what I’d named this year?
How thankful are Ann and I for this verse?
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead… I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
As I re-read that post I realize that, though I feel like I haven’t learned a thing more about abiding… it was never really about learning and entirely about being.
And yet, even when I miss a step, get distracted and fall behind, or trip on fear…
He abides in me.
He’s at my side, trudging through the mud of my off-road adventures, whacking at the weeds of my garden, walking the end of the line with me… lovingly committed to a persistent loyalty in remaining with me.
And boy, have we had some off-road adventures!
So I’m stumbling into 2014, straining forward to what lies ahead.
I’m optimistic. As for my writing, this feels like a promising year. This last year I attended conferences and workshops in Paris, Stuttgart, and right here in Kandern. I rubbed shoulders with writer/illustrator friends, professionals, agents, editors, and readers. I won a writing contest and completed a course with the Picture Book Academy. I completed another round of PiBoIdMo. I sold another book to SNAP Learning. I’ve been told over and over that my current three manuscripts are complete and good and just need the right publisher and/or agent (which I’m working on). I taught Creative Writing and Journalism at the High School Level as a sub, being stretched to share with budding artists what I live and breathe everyday… in a classroom setting. I’ve been invited as a guest blogger to post periodically on the SCBWI Germany/Austria regional blog. AND, I’ve celebrated the releases of newly published books of dear friends- boy has THAT been exciting!
And a recent, fun little “secret”- Jeremy and I (his art, my writing) will be featured in a kind of anthology with other children’s writers. I’ll share that when it’s out (on amazon!)
It’s been a good year for my craft.
But isn’t it crazy how we can read a list like that and think, “But it’s not enough? It’s not everything I wanted?” Oh good heavens people! Give yourself a break!
And that’s exactly what I’m naming this year.
I want to understand what that means. How do I experience rest with four children, a working husband, house to care for, clients to counsel, friends to support and love on at least two different continents, family to keep connected with… managing lives in two countries? It’s hard.
Living in Germany can seem magical. That suddenly “life” ceases to be life and we live a fairytale. Certainly the setting is often fairytale-like… but we still have taxes to pay, washing machine’s break down, cars need servicing, missing keys, missing titles… the stuff of life. Plus, you can add to it the language barriers, cultural barriers, distance from loved ones, living on the kindness and generosity of others… whew! It’s exhausting.
I need rest.
So here’s to falling forward into 2014… seeking rest in the midst of crazy life, being a person of joy and peace, even when everything around me still vies for my constant attention.
And to you- may 2014 also be a year of rest… not just naps (though I hope you get them) but a true, soul-level rest that bathes you in refreshment and vitality and spurs you on to be everything you are meant to be.