This past year has been one of major personal growth. As mom, wife, friend, and child of God. When I think back on where I was this time last year, I am amazed at how my life has changed and how I have been changed by it.
On the outside, it may not be so obvious. I have two children earthside, as I did last July. I am a stay at home mom, still navigating my way through this homesteading thing. I am wife to the best husband ever. I have many of the same friends as a year ago, some I mostly engage with online, some I see mostly in person. I am an active member of my church and read the Bible with my kids. Yes, if you didn’t know it, you might say I’m the same person.
But I have changed. Life is more precious. I treasure each laugh from my girls. We are more spontaneous with our daily activities, although we have a good routine in place as well. I am a more confident mama. Of course I still doubt myself constantly, but isn’t questioning our methods what helps us become better? I know my kids on a deeper level. I can respond to them better. I love to watch them learn and grow everyday. I see the differences in them, and there are many!, and I value their individuality. I encourage them all the time to be who they want to be, not to be put in a box. They are a treasure. They are a gift. I am so blessed to have them in my life.
I like to think I have become a more committed wife, not that I wasn’t before, but the bond runs deeper now. That’s bound to happen when you face tragedy together. His well-being takes higher rank. He spends so much time caring for me and making sure that I’m ok, and it is my pleasure to return the favor. I love serving him as wife. After his long days at work, I like to have all my chores completed and have dinner in the works so that once he has debriefed from his day, we can sit together as a family to visit and enjoy a meal. He works hard at home on the weekends too. The man never stops working. So I try to get as much of the big stuff done during the week, so that my job on the weekend can be to support him in all that he is working on. Our relationship has always been one that is flexible and giving. In the 11 years we have been together we have always picked up for the others’ slack at home when there is a shift in hours worked outside the home, illness, or whatever else may come up. This may be one of my favorite things about our relationship. So it is my greatest pleasure to serve him during this time when I am home with the kids and he is working overtime at his job.
My body has been through a lot and may not be as strong as it used to, or maybe it’s just strong in a different way. I’m not the runner and swimmer I used to be, but I stay fit by being a mom to two active little people and working on a farm. I have learned how to use power tools more confidently and feel good about tackling most projects. I’ve learned a bit about gardening, animal husbandry, and seasonal life on the farm. I am learning new life skills and teaching them to my daughters along the way.
While I have many of the same friends I did a year ago, I like to think those friendships have deepened. I have also gained many new friendships. Friendships that have not begun by guarding my heart, but rather by being my honest self. I am willing to share myself more than ever before, which is at the core of friendships. I have never in my life interacted with neighbors as much as I have this past year. We have shared work, meals, and time to visit. I have learned to slow down and really listening to the wisdom that my friends share. I am willing to help a friend in need without hesitation. I now understand the true meaning of community.
I thought that my faith had reached a higher level when we discovered our family would grow again last fall. I had faith that this was God’s plan for our lives. But I had no idea how stressed out I was by His Plan until He revealed more of that Plan to us. And then I realized that really, I have no control over this Plan. And yet, even in the shadow of death, He showed us the goodness in our lives. The many blessings that we have, and that we have yet to receive. At the center of all that I do now, I desire to emulate the love of Christ. To give God the glory for all He has done for us. To let go and trust in His Plan in a way I never thought possible. Even though there are hard days, I am much less stressed than I was before. Even though I was raised in a Christian home, have attended church all my life (with a couple minor strays), and desire to raise a Christian family, I have never been so outspoken about my faith. I have never spoken so freely about what it means to me to be a child of God. About what faith in action means. And it doesn’t even feel weird or awkward for me to talk about, as it always has before. I’m not worried about offending, because I know what God has done in my life. The barrier has been let down.
I still have personal growth to do. Of course. I will have growth to do until the day I die. But as much as my 21-month-old has developed physically, emotionally, and intellectually over the past year, which, as anyone who has been around kids knows is a lot from 9- to 21-months, so have I grown spiritually, relationally, and personally. I am becoming the woman I always hoped I would become, and it is better than I could have imagined.