Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reflections on 2009

I realize most everyone has already done their “looking back on 2009” post if they are going to bother to do one at all.

I’m behind the ball, I guess, because I didn’t plan to do a “looking back” post.  You’ve all pretty much walked the long road of 2009 with me, and honestly, there was no real desire to rehash it.

But I came across a list of questions at (in)courage that seemed worthy of my time and attention (though I’ll admit, not too much time and attention, because I tend to overanalyze these type of questions, so the plan is just to answer off the cuff).

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?: Finding a strong church family was critical in our transition to Tennessee.  Without the encouragement and support and love of the people at WHFBC, our lows would have been that much more devastating and our highs not as wonder-full.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?  I’d like the be able to say Duncan’s death, but if I’m being honest, his 6 months of life were much more of a challenge for this woman.  Each day, I struggled with his presence.  I didn’t want to be pregnant; I didn’t know what I’d do with two little ones come August.  I didn’t know how I’d ask Jim to balance home and work.  I just didn’t know how it would all work out.  January through June were such trying months for me as I had to learn how to let go, and trust God’s plan for our family and for my life.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?  I never expected that we’d make true friendships so quickly.  From our small group, to our neighbors, to our bank personnel, we feel loved and welcomes and accepted.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?  Becoming a stay-at-home mom was harder than I anticipated.  I am selfish with Jim’s time.  I want him to have an eight-to-five job, and, well, he just doesn’t.  I’m still working on this one.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.  New; grow; strength.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).  Strong; home; mom.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking). Fulfilling; worth it.

8. What were the best books you read this year?  Pick one?  I dunno.  I’ve rediscovered a love of the spy thriller/political intrigue.  Think Baldacci, Flynn, etc.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? restoration with MB; surprising intimacy over trials with Beth; profound growth with my mother; unquestioned inclusion with Kasey and Andrea; continued uterus battles, walked hand-in-hand with Daina; sister-love with Jen (even though she left me for Alabama); long-distance sorrow and rejoicing with Kendra; hell-and-back with my husband, closer than ever.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? I have had to watch the Lord shape, break, reshape, break, and reshape the make-up of my family, not only what was, but what will be.  I always wanted to be a mother of three boys, with the option for a fourth – an adopted daughter.  Now, I’m the mother of two boys – one here, one in heaven – and a girl-on-the-way.  The decision of another child, perhaps, is out of my control – God has yet to reveal to us for sure.  But I think this is my last pregnancy, and I’m still struggling with grief over that.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? I learned I’m stronger than I knew.  I feel that I have truly come into my own as an adult woman.  Losing a child makes you do whatever growing up you have left.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?  My faith was tested in a new way, and God proved Himself faithful and true.  He carried me through the darkest days of my life.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?  Delivering a baby naturally was something I’d been told would never happen.  Despite how tiny Duncan was, I still felt profound pride that my body was able to have a baby vaginally, and that as painful as it was, I was able to experience that.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?  I hope that my compassion for others has grown.  You truly don’t know what someone is walking through at any particular moment.  Things aren’t always as they appear, and nothing and no one benefits from my judgment.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home? I loved being able to devote a lot of time and attention to the interior of our home – selecting curtain fabric, rearranging furniture, hanging photo galleries.  At least once a day, I walk through our home and just think, “I love my house.”  I can sit down in any room of our home, and just BE in the room, and feel content.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management? When I meal plan, I’m a pro at getting new, interesting, healthy meals on the table.  If I drop that ball, it’s a free-for-all that doesn’t do our budget or our waistlines any favors.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?  I hesitate to say my internet chat room time, because those girls really play a crucial role in my life, and did even moreso this past year, but….if I’m being honest, probably that.  Time just browsing message boards, and refreshing Facebook.  Eek.   That hurts to admit.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? Learning how to communicate with Seth has been the hardest, most rewarding thing.  He delights me each day with what he is absorbing, and how it gets translated back to us.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year? My husband is the best possible person on earth that God could have picked out for me.  He is stronger, sweeter, smarter than I ever realized.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.  Brought to, by His will (Tennessee, despair [the break in], the grave), brought through, for His glory.


Mom to 2 Angels said...

Love your statement of the year. I had to repeat it several times to myself to grasp it.

Jenn said...

I, too, loved your final statement of the year. May we all be able to say that!

The O'Neils said...

I love the entire post!! And thank you for helping me reflect on the "good" of 2009 instead of just the "bad". Happy 2010!!

Kendra said...

AMEN sista!! Love, love, love your statement of the year.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Great post, Monica...thank you for your courage to share your heart so honestly. I very much appreciate that. Your last statement sums it up perfectly...beautiful words of truth.

Brooke said...

I love Baldacci. I think I might do this on my blog too.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.