In my lifetime, never has there been such a collective inhale as we rang in the new year. There is something about fresh starts, especially after turmoil, that ushers in enthusiasm and excitement. Our hopes remain high that this year will be better than the last, but we also know that a large part of that will be determined on our effort and attitude. 

There was much of 2020 that we are ready to leave behind. We remain hopeful that the digital interactions we have come to rely on will be a thing of the past and we can begin to meet together in person again. We desire for all the unrest in our nation to calm as we work together to better understand each other and to truly love our neighbors as Christ does. We so desperately pray for the healing of the world and the elimination of COVID-19. But there was also much to be thankful for during 2020.  Personally, I have become much more flexible with schedules and plans (even more so than my military spouse training had taught me previously) and it is very freeing. I have seen the beauty of the Church in new ways and am so thankful for the provision of the Father in giving us each other for support during difficult times. I am very thankful for the gift of togetherness this year gave us, as the previous year was spent apart due to military deployment. There is much to be thankful for even amidst the difficult.

Even so, I am grateful for a new year. A new year allows time to reflect on where I want to be a year from now and to how to get there. I have long since stopped making resolutions, but I know the value of goals and accountability. With this in mind, my word of the year is MOVE

I kept thinking to myself, “Just move! Just take the next step. Just keep pressing forward.” The poem quoted by Elisabeth Elliot “Do the Next Thing” kept popping up in my conversations, social media scrolling, and podcasts listened to throughout the past couple months. A couple exerts from this poem include, “Fear not tomorrows, child of the King, Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing,” and, “Do it immediately, do it with prayer; Do it reliantly, casting all care… leave all results, do the next thing.” As I thought about my goals for 2021, they all involved movement of some form.

In 2021, I desire to become stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually. I desire to be a more available friend and a more present mother. I desire to grow in faith and trust in the Lord in daily living, especially with continuing through the adoption process. 

Move– make the effort and find time to read and write. Mental growth requires learning and learning does not happen by osmosis. Not only does reading help me learn about God, the world, and myself; but also reading is an easy way to fill my own tank from all of my other responsibilities. 

Move– do the work (out). Becoming physically strong requires movement. So I will push play on those at home fitness videos. I will go outside with my boys. As a new friend posted, I’m trading out one 6-letter word for another: I am trading skinny for strong. With each year I can feel my body slowing down and everything seems to crack and groan. With three little boys to keep up with, I need to up my game.

Move– Rely on the Spirit and Respond to His movement. This year I need to follow His lead, pursue His truth, and care for His flock. This starts with my own personal devotions and a brand new reading chart for me to follow. Reading charts do not have to be viewed as literal checklists, but are helpful tools to keep me motivated to keep on and finish. I also will prioritize the Bible study groups I participate in, both at church and Bible Study Fellowship. This year I also hope to focus more on Scripture memory, specifically verse references.

Move– In healthy relationships, you meet people where they need. Some days they may need you to travel the distance and show up to support them. Some days you may be able to meet in the middle and cooperate together. Other days they may be able to come to your side and support you if needed. I must be willing to move towards others and be available for them, not only when it is convenient for me. I desire to show my friends and family that they are valuable to me and be more active and involved in our relationships. So I will send the text, make the call, drive the distance, and show up.

Move– When I feel conviction, when I feel afraid, when I doubt I want to run to God and not run away. I want to learn to turn first to God and not to man for advice or comfort. I want to always be walking with God and not wandering of my own will. Specifically in our adoption process, I want to move forward in faith that God knows the outcome, that He has already chosen our little girl for our family, and trust that He has made the way to bring her home in His time. 

With this in mind, my focal verse of the year is 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

While I hope to move in so many other ways this year, I hope to remain firm, IMMOVABLE in my faith in Christ. If nothing else in this world, I hope to remain rooted to my foundation , with faith unwavering no matter what the world says. Interestingly, growing up this verse was on the wall of my childhood room. I memorized it just by the repetition of passing it every day. Today, as I go about my work as a wife, mother, and ministry worker, I hope to remember the second part of this verse. No matter how commonplace or inconsequential the work may seem, when doing the work the Lord has given me it is holy work. It is for His glory and not my own and I will do it joyfully: every dirty dish and every load or laundry included.

When I graduated high school, our senior class chose “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot as the class song. It was very popular that year and was played several times a day on the radio. At the time, I thought it was a little too cliche and the obvious choice. But now, over 15 years later, the song remains beautiful, influential, and an anthem as we move forward out of 2020. 

Welcome to the fallout/ Welcome to resistance/ The tension is here/ The tension is here

Between who you are/ And who you could be/ Between how it is / And how it should be

Dare you to move/ Dare you to move/ Dare you to lift Yourself up off the floor

Dare you to move/ Dare you to move/ Like today never happened/ Today never happened

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