During the days between Christmas and January 2nd, I found myself wanting to hold onto the past year. The holiday season had been full of music, gift giving, and time with family and friends. The emotional and spiritual mountaintop of Christmas followed by my husband’s birthday and the opening of 2017 were followed by a bit of a letdown. Life would get back to normal and I felt a little sad.
As the sun set on January 2nd, I hadn’t made peace with the passage of time and had not made a single New Year’s Resolution. That’s when the Lord began reminding me of some things that happened in 2016. I jotted down a list of 5 personal accomplishments that were nowhere on the horizon as January began a year ago.
- Last January I decided to play the piano that sits silently in our living room. Using my bit of training and a book of “Kids Songs” left behind by our kids, I played for a few minutes each day. In February, I plunked out an imperfect performance of Happy Birthday to Eric. By spring, I could play songs from The Wizard of Oz. The daily practice dwindled through the year, but on December 31, I successfully played Happy Birthday to Dave.
- In March, while God was leading me to offer a women’s Bible study on the book of James, I was surprised by the desire and ability to memorize the entire 5 chapters of James! I could name a poor memory as one of my weaknesses, so I was thrilled to gradually learn the verses and be able to recite the entire book by summer.
- In June, my future daughter-in-law invited me to join her mother and sister as they picked out her wedding gown. I was so touched by the fact that they included me. It was a joy to watch her model gowns until one of them brought tears to her eyes and I cried along with the three of them.
- During August, I was enjoying summer while anticipating ministry and volunteer activities resuming in the Fall. I asked God if there was anything new that he wanted me to do, and thoughts of beginning a blog began to stir in my heart. I listed a dozen possible topics and found on-line instructions on how to set up a blog. I wondered whether it would be difficult to find time to write each week and whether I would enjoy the process of preparing each post. So far, it has been a joy to seek guidance from the Lord, to think about the best ways to express my thoughts, and to hear that folks appreciate Thoughts Collected by Lisa.
- On December 11, the idea came to me to invite the neighbors who surround me over for a Christmas lunch. I usually talk myself out of such ideas, but this time I immediately contacted the three ladies and found that we could meet that Friday. It was the first time the four of us were together to enjoy conversation and a meal. As they were leaving, someone said, “We should make this a tradition.”
In thinking about these 5 Surprising Ways That I Have Grown in the Last Year and wanting to continue to grow this year, I realize that it is not about me resolving to do more or do better. It is about continuing to play the piano, to write, and to grow relationships, while being attentive to new opportunities.
I want to look back on 2017 and see that I’m living an abundant life, using the gifts God has given me and blessing people. Not knowing exactly what that will look like, I resolve to keep my eyes and ears open to how the Lord wants me to live each day. After all, 365 days lived well will add up to a Happy New Year.