2017 feels like the first day of the rest of my life. I know, cliche and true of every day, but very real for me right now.
Our family has been through so many significant changes this year - moving house, graduations from university and high school, saying goodbye to the car we’ve owned for fifteen years, and our middle child moving out of home just four days before Christmas. This has all happened in the last three months, after the first half of the year being framed around the possibility of us moving overseas. While all of these milestones have been happy occasions, celebrating the achievements of our growing family, this year has left me a bit rattled. A lot has changed, and it’s changed permanently. There is no going back to my little family of school-aged children who call me ‘Mummy’.
So, as the calendar turns over to 2017, it feels like the beginning of a perpetual calendar. My year is not strictly marked out by school terms any more. We can plan our holidays whenever we like. My life is no longer defined by the needs of my children and their calendar of events. My schedule is my own. The blank 2017 diary is daunting and exciting. I get to choose. I choose what to spend my time on, who to spend my time with, and what to waste time doing. Before the busyness begins, I get to rule in the margins and plan for my best year yet.
I am looking forward to investing in my marriage next year. Now that the children take less of our attention, we get to rediscover each other and learn how to do life together again. We have an amazing marriage. We’ve been doing our Friday night date night for six years, and we are not going to stop now. We will celebrate our 25th anniversary in Paris this year. That’s a big investment in our marriage, and it will be worth every cent!
I am looking forward to building great adult relationships with our children. The dynamic is very different, I am not parenting them anymore, but they are still my kids and are the most important human beings on the planet. I am looking forward to planning family dinners, cooking their favourite meals, and helping them navigate adult life. These relationships won't flourish unless I nourish them. This will take planning and intentionality, but will be oh, so worth it!
I am looking forward to investing more in my personal faith journey next year. I will be reading through the whole Bible again in 2017. It doesn’t take that long, just about 15 minutes of reading every day, but that blows out really quickly if I start missing a few days. I’m looking forward to the discipline of daily time with God, and the accountability of the reading plan I’m engaging with (Read Scripture by readscripture.org). Only great things happen when I spend time in the Bible, and I’m excited for all that I will discover and rediscover.
I am looking forward to setting up new empty folders in my filing cabinet, empty pages in my diary, new rosters and new schedules. I get the chance once again to evaluate how I best support our church, encourage my team and grow my ministry. Once the year begins and the treadmill gets to full speed it’s difficult to find clear space. I am challenged once again to build in the margins before all the schedules are filled, plan in retreat days, block out time for the important before it gets filled with the urgent, prioritise what matters most and put the routines in place to keep me on track.
God sits above all of my plans and good intentions for 2017. He runs on a perpetual calendar that begins again fresh every single morning. There is no problem I will face that is too difficult for Him. There is no tragedy that is too devastating for His comfort, no issue too complex, no relationship too messy, no heart too broken.
I’m excited for another new year. There is nothing I will face that God and I can’t handle together. What an adventure!