I sort of dread the start of each new year.
(And I’m writing this as February comes to an end, so obviously I’m a bit slow and pessimistic on the “new year” idea!)
I think that’s one of those things you’re not suppose to say. Everyone else seems to love a fresh start, new resolutions, inspiring words, & vision casting.
Yet again this year, I found myself seeing others goals, visions, words and feeling discouraged, rather than challenged. And while I’ve felt this each year that I can recall, I only now recognized it as a trend. I seem to hit a low each year at the start.
It’s always a bit isolating, as I watch so many enter with optimism that I struggle to feel. So this year, I just started to ask why.
I think it often feels like everyone has such hopes for the year; such plans. Such energy. It seems everyone sets a goal and they really might reach it.
So many of our years start with unknowns: we know that by the end of the year we’ll need a new visa, but we aren’t sure if we’ll get it. We hope to be living in the same place, but we aren’t sure we’ll be able to. We feel called to be in this community, but we aren’t always sure what will fill our days or what projects or traumas it will hold.
So many years have started with unknowns for our family personally, not knowing how long we would wait for Oak, or now how long we’ll wait to finalize his adoption. We don’t know how long it will be before we go back to the States, or if we’ll be able to travel this year at all. (In short, we might not be able to stay in this country, nor leave it–hopefully not both!— depending on how all the paperwork falls.)
We often know very little of what is in front of us; it’s a piece of the life God’s put before us. There seems to be light on just a very few steps in front of us.
And because this chaos is a bit of a normal, I often feel like I’ve just maneuvered a year of unknowns as well.
This year, I felt like I’d just managed to pull off 2019: adopting a new son and beginning to sort out how to parent alongside this community. We’ve just gotten another visa! We’ve just finished a year of training and a few small jobs. We’ve just had another community Christmas! We’re just starting to get in a groove, and perhaps we’ll make it here after all. (Even nine years in, we say this often: Hey, wait–are we making it?!)
Perhaps we’ll make it as parents.
Perhaps his adoption will be finalized this year.
Perhaps another visa will come through.
Perhaps Flour & Flowers will be profitable another year.
Perhaps English classes will still happen.
Perhaps The Reinforcers will have work.
Sometimes just a few knowns, a few concrete goals, sound so refreshing…and yet so out of reach.
And in reality, it is out of reach right now. That’s something I’m having to embrace yet again. I’m not sure of many things in our horizon.
I’m not sure where our next visa will come from, or where our next child will for that matter! I’m not sure where our role in the community is going, as we stand among some major shifts.
We did a restart in February, following the Christmas chaos and my sisters visit. We are looking to another restart in March, as Sojourn Studios moves out of our space, and summer begins: summer programs, new staff, perhaps internships?
It’s always changing. Perhaps it always will be.
Perhaps we’ll always be wondering if we are making it.
Perhaps we’ll always be praying for the next few steps to fall into place.
I’m trying to find the positive in this: it requires us to trust something bigger than ourselves. It requires us to be flexible. It asks us to take risks in the name of the Kingdom. It demands hope.
That said, we are hopeful for 2020. We’re late, but hopeful 😂
We’re also a bit tired.
Sometimes we’re fighting fear. Depending on the day, we’re a bit overwhelmed by the unknowns.
We don’t have a word to lead us. But we have a Father who leads us. Our visions and dreams are what you might describe as extremely hopeful, which means they require an incalculable number of miracles. But we follow a God of miracles. Our plans, when put in the most positive light possible, are flexible. But we have a Lord who establishes our plans.
And so as February comes to a close, I’m ready to embrace 2020 and all its unknowns. ☺️