Oye. 2014. It's almost over and I have mixed feelings about it. When 2013 was coming to a close, I was happy to see it go and excited about what 2014 had in store for us. But now that 2014 is ending, I'm just not sure it was all I'd hoped it would be. 2013 was a BIG year. 2014 was a year of waiting, and trusting, and silence. My 2013 recap was basically a month by month play by play, but way too much happened this year for me to even try to start mapping it all out. So let me just draw out a few of the things I've learned this year in the different areas of my life. Spiritual Life :
This has been such a tough year for my relationship with God. We thought moving in with my parents was a temporary thing. Three months tops. But no matter what we did, we couldn't break even every month. We prayed and tried to trust that God had his hands in our lives and would work everything out, but the more time went on, the less we trusted. Zach and I weren't getting any answers about what steps to take and what decisions to make, so we just started taking steps and making decisions. All under the umbrella of "being intentional". But we were not being intentional. We were listening to all of the voices around us telling us what they thought God wanted for us, and what they thought we were focusing too much on. We struggled with our callings, with our purpose, with lack of direction. It wasn't until around September, when I was able to get away for a few days and drown out the voices, that I realized our priorities were wayyy out of wack. We were focusing too much on what people would think if we did what we truly feel called to do. We were afraid of disappointing our families. We knew people were whispering and it was frustrating and infuriating and emotionally exhausting.
Nothing was making sense in our lives. All of our striving and struggling and we had nothing to show for it. Zach and I were both frustrated and angry with God, but we weren't talking about it. Our focus was on Zach making his sales job work so we could move out of my parents' basement. But it wasn't working. No matter what he did, it wasn't working. When I got back from The Influence Conference, I had clarity and direction and just had to sit back and wait and let God work on Zach's heart. It was the first time the two of us haven't been on the same page at the same time. It was scary. I was scared. So I just prayed. And tried to shut up and be patient and wait for Zach to lead our family. And he did. We made a HUGE career and life decision that I'll write about another time, but ever since that day, we've never been more sure of where we are and what we're doing.
My big spiritual take away for the year is this : When God is not the absolute, number one priority, nothing else will ever make sense. As soon as we put him back on the throne as the King of our lives, everything started falling into place. I can't wait to share with you all the cool things that are happening. Sorry to vaugeblog, but soon. Promise.
Zach went through a lot this year as a husband and father and provider of our family. Losing his jobs last year, moving in with my parents, delivering sandwiches, and "failing" at his sales job was absolutely humiliating for him. I didn't make it any easier. I pushed him and nagged him and told him all the things I thought he should be doing. I saw what his pursuit of his sales career was doing to his soul and I didn't like it, and I didn't hide it. I've learned that I need to be his biggest fan, even when I'm not. Even when I don't want him to be doing whatever it is he's doing, I have to trust him, and I have to cheer him on. He needs my support and when I don't have his back, he doesn't function well. He needs me, and I didn't realize that until I saw what my lack of support was doing to him. I've learned that I need to (occasionally) just shut up and love him.
Other than that, my big marriage take away from 2014 is this : Be more careful when having sex. Cause babies happen.
This whole year has been a journey of priorities and balance. When it comes to motherhood, I'm a mess. I don't have it figured out and I fail every day. Part of that is because I put a lot of pressure on myself. I used to compare myself to moms that I thought had it all together, but now ... now I have the confidence in my messy motherhood to call BS on that whole pretty motherhood picture. I have experienced so much positive growth this year. I've learned to be more hands free and present with my kids. I've learned the beauty of being intentional in motherhood and happening to my days, instead of letting the days happen to us. But the biggest thing? I've learned to lower my expectations and give myself grace. I don't have to do it right every time. I can celebrate little wins, and forgive myself for all of the fails of varying degrees. I don't feel pressure to be anything more than who I am as a mom right now, in this moment. 2014 was the year that I took back my motherhood and started to truly own it.
Personal Life :
Zach had to remind me to even reflect on this, which makes it apparent that I don't focus on myself enough. So much of my identity is wrapped up in who I am as a wife and a mother and a blogger, that I often forget that I'm an individual outside of those things. And because of that, I don't think I've had much growth personally this year. Outside of motherhood, outside of marriage, outside of being a writer, I haven't changed or pushed myself too much. I didn't do a lot for just me, Kristen, the person not the role, this year. Hmmm. Now I need to go take a look at my 2015 goals and see how I can push myself to grow in the new year.
This Blog :
SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED THIS YEAR. I can't even. I don't even have words. I mean I have some words. Actually, I could write an entire book about the way this blog and this community has affected my and my family's lives this year. This has been the year of When at Home and I just don't know how to coherently put into words what it's meant to me and my family. You guys have been my encouragement, my friends, my support, my validation. You've helped me put food on my family's table, clothes on my kids' backs, and presents under our Christmas tree. You'vedone miracles for my self esteem and confidence in who I am as a writer and as a woman.
I'm not naive enough to wrap up my entire self worth in what people on the internet say about me (cause that can go both ways), and I take every email, every message, every comment of encouraging words, with a grain of salt, but I honestly never accepted my talent and my calling as a writer until this year. I never thought my words would make an impact on anyone. Ever. But because of you guys, my words have reached over 3 million people since the beginning of January. That's crazy talk. Just crazy. I love you, When at Homies.
Some cool blog things that have happened :
Featured on Huffington Post. (wut)
Launched Thrive Intentionally
Started getting recognized in public. Still weird for me, but I love meeting you people.
All in all, 2014 was cool, but 2015 doesn't even know what's coming for it. The LaValleys are two steps ahead of the game and we're about to kill it. Watch out, ya'll. Big and awesome things are coming your way and they look a lot like US.