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Straining toward what is ahead…

07 Jan

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A new year, a fresh start.  2015 is gone and 2016 is here.  Although 2015 was a great year for us, I am looking forward to this new year to try to achieve new goals and reach to new heights.

I don’t explicitly remember making “resolutions” for 2015, but here are some of the goals that I wanted to accomplish that I did:

  • Have a baby- check!  The cutest baby ever!
  • Pay off all our debt- check!  Student loans and car loans gone thanks to diligent saving and spending while we were in China!
  • Read my Bible cover to cover- check!  I think this is the 9th or 10th year I’ve read through the whole Bible in a year.  I think it’s super important for my spiritual walk and I will resolve again to do it this coming year.
  • Travel- check!  4 countries and new cities in China were visited, along with family and friends domestically.

Now, for 2016, I want to write down my goals, not only for me, but so that others (you guys) will try to keep me accountable!  Even though I already had an idea of the things I’d like to change or better this year, we had an excellent sermon this past weekend that posed some questions that I hadn’t thought about yet.  I’ll write more about those at the end of this post.  So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2016…

Physical- My overall goal here is to be healthy, both for the hubs and my bubs.  I want to juice at least 2 times a week and start running again.  Now, I don’t necessarily want to put a number amount on how many times a week I’d like to run.  It’s too easy to fail that way if there’s a busy week or a week where I’m not feeling so good.  Instead, I’d like to put forth the goal to run another half-marathon at some point this year.  That way I can have something to work towards and that should keep me accountable throughout.  I’d like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and size, if nothing else so that I won’t have to buy new clothes when I already have so many (that I just can’t quite squeeze into).  My main motivations for these goals is that the Bible calls my body a “temple of God,” and I want to make sure that I treat that temple well.  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Financial- So we are in a bit of a tough spot financially.  Even though we paid off all of our debt while we were in China, our savings didn’t last as long as we thought it would upon our return to the States.  We came back to a house that needed many renovations due to damages our renters left behind that weren’t covered by their deposit (between missed rent and damages, it cost us about $8,000 dollars).  After that, we had to buy a car (we paid cash for a used car), buy stuff for our nursery (all second-hand and at a good price), pay for Jedidiah’s birth up-front (because our insurance won’t cover midwives or birth centers), pay for several vet visits for our cat (two unexpected surgeries), and live off of the rest for the four months we went between paychecks.  We thought that Trent would get his first paycheck in August, but it turned out that he didn’t get paid until the end of September.  We also thought that I would be tutoring at his school sometime during late September or early October… that didn’t happen either.  I didn’t look for a part-time job because I was anticipating this one working out.  Anyways, all that being said, our goal this year is to get back on our feet financially.  I am so thankful that we completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University a few years ago at Revolution Church; without it, I don’t know where we’d be!  We’ve burned through our emergency fund and have been on a super tight budget for the past few months but we’re making it work.  God always provides.  He’s blessed us through gifts and gift cards for the baby, unexpected money sent from friends and I trust that he will continue to provide for our little family.

I’d also like to find a way to contribute to our family’s financial situation in this coming year.  My goal is to start offering private Spanish (or English) tutoring and eventually start offering Spanish classes for home-school kids.  This will allow me to work during the day when Trent is at work (so that I’m not missing out on time with my husband), and be able to make my own schedule (that works around the baby).

Relational- I want to be PRESENT in my relationships.  In my marriage, I want to make sure that I put Trent first.  It’s been easy since Jedidiah was born to let him come before our marriage and the time that we spend together, but I really want to make sure that Trent and our marriage come first.  I would like for Trent and I have a date night at least once a month (even though for a while, they will have to be free dates)!

With my son, especially when I’m breastfeeding, I want to make sure I’m talking or paying attention to him. It’s so easy to scroll through Facebook for the umpteenth time or check my e-mail on my phone while he’s feeding, but I don’t want technology to come between me and my baby boy.

I’d also like to have people over to our house more often.  I don’t feel like I can commit to once a month for this one, but I would like to host at least 4 events (game nights, murder mystery parties, etc.) in this coming year.  Look for posts on these events later in 2016.

Spiritual-  I want to read through the Bible again this year.  This keeps me fed spiritually.  I also want to spend more time in prayer.  I participated in several prayer challenges this year through my church (Revolution Church) and they were really blessed times.  I want to get back to that, so I will try to use at least one breastfeeding session each day to pray- Lord knows there are lots of things to pray for (our nation, my family, missionaries, martyrs, friends, etc.).  Lastly, I’d like to memorize more scripture.  My goal is to memorize at least one verse (and its reference) a month.  I can also use Jedi’s feeding time to practice memorizing my verses.

Why am I doing this?  God’s word says: Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children,talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Intellectual-  I want to use my Spanish more often (and speak it more to Jedidiah) to stretch myself linguistically.  If I can start tutoring or offering Spanish classes, that will certainly help this goal (although it’s not exactly quantifiable).  I also want to do the things I like to do to stretch my brain- especially reading.  I’d like to read at least one book a month.  I will be keeping a log of the books I read to make sure that I get at least 12 of them in.  I also want to blog more often.  I have so many things I’d like to write about, but with a new baby, I rarely have two free hands to type (Hence this post written nearly a week into the new year).  Too bad I can’t have some sort of device that transcribes everything that I write in my brain!  I’d have a gazillion posts written by then!

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13

Personal-  I want to spend at least one day a month doing something creative that I love- digital scrapbooking, blogging, editing photos, etc.

 

Now I’d like to add to this post the questions that our pastor posed to us: (if you’d like to watch the sermon, you can do so at:  http://subsplash.com/revyourlife/v/7b01e77)

What one thing do I desire from God?  Passion.  I used to have such a passion for people, for serving, for my time with God.  I’ve gotten away from that.  This is one thing I will pray for this year- that God would ignite this flame in my life once again.

What one thing do I lack?  Self-control.  Especially with food…  This is something I am going to specifically pray for in the coming year.

What one thing do I need to release?  Bitterness.  I have to say that I harbored (and perhaps am still harboring) some bitterness towards our renters.  The damages they left us with and the rent they didn’t pay put us in a bad place (both financially and emotionally).  What made it feel even more unjust is that we had already helped them out and shown them grace in a hard time by lowering their rent (by $300 dollars a month!  That’s $3,600 for the year!), yet they were unwilling to return the favor and simply paid what they contractually owed.  They re-nigged on their word to go back up to the agreed upon amount once she got a job, and then ended up not even paying several months of the lowered rent.  Then they had the audacity to be mad at us for giving them a “bad” reference!  The truth is, we didn’t even say anything bad about them, but were obviously honest about money, rent, and things like that.  But I think the thing that hurt us the most is that they called themselves “Christians,” yet this was the testimony that they left.  No wonder “Christians” have a bad name; they aren’t living with integrity.

However, that being said, I’ve been convicted to pray for them.  Since them leaving without a trace (no forwarding address or responses to any of my messages), a man showed up at our door looking for “the man” (who will remain nameless).  He said that “said man” had just gotten out of the hospital and he was sent to provide in-home care for him.  Another time a man and his son showed up at my door with presents for their grandkids, they were sponsored by a church.  We also received a letter to them in the mail from their son who’s in prison.  All these things tell me that they need prayer.  Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28), so I will try to let go of the bitterness and pray for them instead.

What one promise do I need to claim?  “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”  Isaiah 26:3

 

Anyways, these are my “resolutions” for the upcoming year, what are yours?

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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