Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year??

Almost mindlessly, we exchange greetings this time of year.  We say it; we write it; we make it our Facebook status: "Happy New Year!"

For some reason, I suddenly stopped to analyze those words this morning, as I was thinking about this new year and what I hope to do and become in the year ahead.  What do I really mean when I say or hear the words: "Happy New Year?"

I think my picture of a happy year is one that is productive, peaceful, prosperous, and pain-free.  Would it be over the top to even hope for a little pampering???  ;)

However, as I was pondering 2010 and how we never know what a year (or a day) may bring forth, I realized that my idea of a happy new year wasn't necessarily what God has in mind for me. 

When you think about it, none of the things I listed above -- peace, productivity, prosperity, and a lack of pain -- really do anything to draw us closer to God.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  When things are going our way, when the living is easy, we tend to slip away from God and to become self-reliant and self-satisfied.

Now, please don't get me wrong!  I am certainly not yearning for a year of trials, testings and, tribulations, even though I know they are good for me!  :) 

I'm just saying that as I have attempted to set some goals for this new year, and as I look back and realize how miserably I failed with the goals I set last year, I realize how little control I have over what a year brings forth, and how helpless I am to accomplish the plans that I set for myself. 

"A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

We set goals; we make plans; we strive to improve ourselves -- but God is the One who designs our year with just the right amount of challenges and trials and testings to knead His Character into our lives.  If we would just stop resisting and let Him form us . . .  remembering that He is the potter and we are just the clay. 

Last year, I was determined to make some positive changes in my life, and I started off fairly well.  I had my struggles and challenges, but I was making progress through the first few months of the year in establishing my ten healthy habits . . . remember??  But, then my year pretty much fell apart in May, and all of my good habits crashed with it! 

The turning point was when Alan's Mom passed away unexpectedly on May28th, resulting in a whirlwind trip to West Virginia for her graveside service.  Since she lived with us, her death was very life-changing for our family.  On Monday after we got back in town, I remember feeling very weary and hoping for a quiet day at home, but got this instead! 

Then, suddenly another life changing moment -- Alan was called to come for a job interview on June 14th.  So, I left the older children in charge, and accompanied my husband to the Georgia coast for his job interview and to scout out the area.  On our way back, we learned that he had been named one of three finalists for the position!! That set us on an emotional roller coaster for sure!

I got home and unpacked, did damage control, and then packed up again, and headed to South Carolina with six of the children.  (Alan and the rest joined us later.) We spent the last week of June at my parent's house in Greenville, where my sister and I put together a reception to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary!

As soon as I got unpacked from that trip, it was time to pack again and head to the Georgia coast for a family vacation/relocation expedition.  While there, we celebrated the news that my husband had been chosen for the position of county administrator, and let the reality sink in that we would definitely be moving to the Georgia coast! 

We came home and hit the groud running, trying to get our house ready to go on the market!!!  Then, of course came the living on edge that occurs when every phone call has the potential of being a realtor who wants to show your house within the hour!  We also made a few house-hunting trips to the coast, as we searched for a house that would fit our family!

August was full of good-byes, as Alan left to begin his new responsibilities, and then the three oldest boys left to join him, so they could start school in our new community -- two of them at the local college and one at a Christian school.  That left me and the five youngest "home alone" to start our homeschool year, while attempting to keep the house show-ready. 

During the months of August and September, we made multiple trips back and forth to visit the fellas, and to work on cleaning and painting our new house.  We really accomplished a lot that month; however, not much of it was in the classroom.  The last week of September was consumed with moving out of our old house and saying good-bye to our oldest daughter, while October was totally about moving in to our new house and getting settled.

Suddenly, it was the holidays!   Thanksgiving!!  and then Christmas!!! All of which take a lot of time, energy and preparation to pull off!!  You know what an adrenal rush those last 5 weeks of the year are!!  We had absolutely wonderful holidays, and enjoyed having our older daughters home, and spending some time with our sons' girlfriends, while savoring all of the season's food, fun, football, and festivities!

But, I tell you -- I'm a bit out of steam over here!!  It has been quite a year!!!   I was hoping for a bit more downtime between Christmas and the new year . . . but that week flew by, and ready or not, a new year has begun!  Would you believe it had the nerve to start before I found time to plan and prepare for it?!? 

Will this year be a "happy one?"  I don't know, but I think the answer to that question depends not so much on what the year brings forth, as it does on how I choose to respond to it.  So, I do hope for myself, and for all of you, that it will indeed be a happy new year!


Rebecca's Refining said...

After reading about your year, I am ready for a nap! You are just too exhausting! :)

I had some disappointments regarding my year too. But, each day (and year) can be a "new beginning"! May God work in - and through - the both of us in 2011!

Happy Busy Mama said...

I know what you mean about plans. I think we share a tendency to be task-oriented and measure success by productivity. Of course, like a gps, we are always recalculating, lol. The great think about happiness is that it is a choice and not dependent on our circumstances. As Christians our hope is beyond our circumstances and that is a great joy. So thanks for the reminder that a Happy New Year is not merely a wish for an easy life, but a predetermined state of mind, come what may. :-)

Jules said...

I've been following your blog all year but it wasn't until you condensed your year into one post that I realised how busy it had been! Whew! I'm just exhausted reading about it.

tlmalcolm said...

Your family has had quite a year! We just have to live each day to its fullest, hug our loved ones and say thank you for all of our blessings each and everyday! And I agree with Rebecca....your year was exhausting!! You deserve a much needed nap!!:)

The Mayo Family said...

Thanks for sharing...yes our last year was full of "un-planned" life changes as well!
I think I would like the move to the coast though! :) As I am awaiting my children shoveling the neighbors out!
Any way you have a great way to look at it all in a very real way and without the Lord...
where would we be?
Thank you for the verse...and I pray that your New Year will be wonderful!
I am with the rest...lets all take a coffee break! :)
Thanks for your blog, my family is so blessed by yours!

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