What Our Family is Living for 2020.
Our family’s word for 2020 is Intentional.
Do you have a word for each new year?
I had never really seen the trend on social media, and it had never been a family tradition, so I had no idea what I was getting into last year as I reflected on the year that had passed and prepared for the upcoming year.
I heard the Lord speak to my heart in early January 2019 one morning over coffee and reading my devotional: Travel.
2019 was going to be a year of Travel.
What a word for a year we never even thought we would survive from.
With six kids at home between the ages of 6 – 15, I automatically assumed the travel would be for Tim and whichever of the kids could handle it or needed his time and attention at the moment.
After all, if I even tap out for the evening and give no reminders or lists or even mention what the house needs, I can basically plan on the dishwasher not functioning, the washing machine staying still, and the fridge piling up from spoiled leftovers and meals that didn’t get planned.
So nevermind traveling any distance and taking me out of the four walls of my home for anything more than an evening, and I was between laughing at the impossible and cowering from the thought.
My crew is pretty awesome at following through on their chores and family projects, but any mom out there knows that it only takes ONE hiccup to logjam the entire system. It only takes one child getting sick, one work emergency, one unplanned school project, or one unforeseen appointment to throw the ENTIRE system off base.
And kids and dad don’t jump to recover and restart the system with the same grit as mama does.
So probably a lot of my assumption of the travel being for all family members other than me was completely out of fear.
Initially, I was right in my assumption.
Tim had already booked and planned a few trips for work and knew the conferences he was headed to. We even discussed which kids might go on which trips, and I tried to combat my anxiety of holding the fort down by planning some special activities with the kids to help pass the time and shake things up a bit.
I love the surprises and excitement of planning fun things for my kids, even if it’s just an impromptu trip to McDonald’s drive through for ice cream in our pajamas after dinner. We each pick a song for the drive and put the windows down and roll.
But anyone who has ever worked with hurt or trauma-impacted children knows that stability and structure is your friend. Every time you change a plan, a schedule, an appointment, anything, it has the potential to cause a tailspin trigger that can stop the world for daysssss.
So what on earth were we thinking in planning so much travel, knowing the potential consequences???
When things got tough, and Little Buddy got spacey or irritable or even triggered in those moments, I would just remind myself that this was not OUR doing: this was the word that God had given us for the year. My job was just to walk in it, and through it.
And that worked. Most of the time.
And as the months went forward in 2019, it became clear that I was going to be doing some of that traveling, too.
I was too anxious to enjoy any of it at first.
Thinking of all the things that get left undone, the possibility of triggers and tantrums, the stress it put on Tim and my older kids to hold the fort down… it was all too much to recieve.
And then it was April and my little sister was about to deliver her baby, and even as I packed to be with her and the rest of my family, I got a message that something had gone terribly wrong, and we were now asking God to save them both.
As I drove 600 miles to be there and believe with them, something in me shifted, and I no longer cared about undone dishes and laundry and triggers.
I let go of those things and just focused on what was right in front of me.
And you know what? The sky never fell.
Even when I was gone for a week, and I knew it was time to come home, I just gave myself permission to ease back in to life.
The mess hadn’t occurred over night, and it wasn’t going to go away in a day.
I gave myself permission to see things that mattered, and magnify those, instead of what I thought was important to be a good steward or prove that I loved my husband and kids.
It changed everything.
Of course I slipped into some old habits and ways of thinking as the year progressed, but I will be forever changed from letting go and doing the thing that God had for us in 2019.
I got to witness miracles with my sister and her baby.
I got to watch my husband and my teenage daughter bond more fiercely than any opportunity they ever had, attending conferences, learning new things, making new friends, riding scooters through busy cities, trying new restaurants and even walking barefoot through Washington, D.C. because she didn’t have the right shoes packed…
I got to teach my foster babies that parents CAN leave the house safely and return safely. That Mom and Dad can be in unity and be apart for days. That we can choose to make it an adventure, or choose to make it a burden, but ultimately the choice is up to us…
I got to stretch my faith in ways I never wanted to, and I am so, so grateful for who it made me as I look forward to 2020.
So when I heard “Intentional” as I sipped my coffee and read my devotional during New Year’s week of 2020, I made sure I wrote that one down in the books.
We had been prepping for it unknowingly all through 2019, it seems.
Our local Bible College that we are part of in serving had the senior class design “Live Intentional” t shirts as a fundraiser during the year. I bought one for every one of us.
I also make us travel wearing the same t shirt, too, so that went with us through the months and miles as we traveled and grew as a family.
There were also some sacred, pivotal moments in my time alone with the Lord this year that I knew He was asking me to let go of certain things and give them up so He could do a shift and start something new.
I’m not a giver-upper by nature, so this was very hard for me.
It was hard for me to not see “letting go” as quitting, and how to walk in peace about it rather than carry shame from it.
Why can’t I just do ALL the things????
But even the Word tells us that there is a time for every season under Heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
And God was telling me that one season was ending, so a new one could begin.
What that means for us is that we are going to be intentional in what we do, how we love, who we love, what we say yes to, and whatever other things God puts in our path throughout the year.
We are spending some time carving out more quiet moments through these first days of the year where we can get ahold of God’s direction for our family as well as personally this year.
I am so glad to say goodbye to 2019, glad that I can excitedly and wholly embrace all the things that 2020 has for us.
I just want to make sure I do it right, with my best foot forward, living a life that is exactly that: Intentional.
May this year find you living well in the word that God has for you this year.
What is your word, and some of the ways that you will carry it out???
My favorite part of living intentionally this year is that I will no longer have to cover the faces of our foster babies for you. I will no longer have to separate them out from the rest of my kids. I will no longer have to differentiate their names from ours, their initials from ours, and their paperwork from ours.
In so many ways we are so ready to embrace this year, and I am so grateful we can do it Intentionally.
If you want to read more about the things I am doing in my personal life to be Intentional, you can read my post here.
Edited to add: And now that we are legally past Adoption Day, I can legally post ALL of our babies’ faces online, as they are all legally mine forever now.
What a privilege, what an honor! I can’t even say that this is a great picture to boast about, since my naughty seven year olds have a hard time following directions, but, you know, this is us. So I love it for that. ANd that’s enough for today.
Thank you all for being a part of our journey.
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Linda Wood says
Loved reading about your year and your “word”! Compared to your life, mine almost seems boring.
We have been challenged to choose a word for the year and mine is PRIORITY…Fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important… For me this is especially in regards to time. Is there never enough? There is when we put priority on the right things and people.
Thanks for inspiring me to start keeping my own journal for this year.
Tara Wall | Consider the Fields says
Linda, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!