This mama needs to take a hike. I will explain the hike part later, but first thing to know is that today is New Year’s Day. January 1st, 2019. I am a fan of New Year’s. I love goal setting and dreaming up big plans for the next year. I love the chance to start new patterns and fix old ones. I love cleaning and organizing and putting away all the christmas decorations. I also love reflecting on the past year and taking the time to really examine it. This morning as I put out my new, blue and floral planner; I flipped through my 2018 planner. I was instantly drawn in, as I turned the pages of each month and was taken back. As I paged through, I was struck with a feeling of disappointment. The months from January-May were covered with events, important to-dos, and meetings. As I looked through those months, it felt like I was looking at the planner of a different person. I had forgotten how full my teaching days were. The calendar for each month had 10 different colors of ink on them, arrows were drawn, and each little box was bursting with words. By June it was blank. Of course, June and July had nothing. Hudson was born. But then August-December looked so much less important than January-May. A lot of days, the boxes were blank. The to-do list section had changed from planning lessons and meeting with parents to cleaning floors and organizing the spice rack. At first when I saw these differences in calendars this morning, I felt unimportant. Do my days matter as much as they used to? This is a terribly sad question to ask and I think it makes the Lord feel sad too because I know deep down that He loves me with a great love that is absolutely unrelated to what I do. He loves me because I am His daughter. I am clothed in Christ. His love has nothing to do with how full my calendar looks or how busy and important I appear on paper. Thankfully I have a husband that can also point me to this truth and pull me away from the lies that I so often fall trapped in. This is where the hike part comes in.
We hiked at Will Rogers today. When I say we, I am also including everyone else that chose to hike on New Year’s Day. I guess that is a thing. It was the most crowded I have ever seen it. Anyway, our hike started rocky. Actually, our day started rocky. I let that calendar comparison eat away at me. I let the lies of “I am not enough” take over. I let it affect what was supposed to be a happy hike to start off 2019. I even suggested to Lance that he should just go without me and I can suffer alone in the freezing house (heater is broken). I can be very dramatic. Despite my sour attitude, we managed to leave the house. We were warmed up by the heat of the car. It is amazing how being extra cold can affect your outlook. As my freezing hands and toes began to thaw, I felt better. When I had hot peach blossom tea in my hands from Alfred’s, I felt even better. As we drove through the beautiful Brentwood neighborhoods and dreamed about our future, I felt light and happy. However, when we got out of the car and began our hike, it was freezing again and that poor attitude again so quickly returned. I find it amazing how quickly I forget. How quickly I turn away back into my sin. It is scary. Sin is scary. This is just another reason why we so desperately need Jesus. While we almost turned around, we kept walking. Once on the trail, Lance suggested we both say what we are thankful for. At that point, he was hoping to salvage what was left of our New Year’s hike. At first, I did not want to. I did not feel like it. But, I could see he was just trying to turn things around so I went. I told him that I was thankful for him. For loving me despite the fact that I can make it really hard sometimes. Then he went. He told me he was thankful for me. For the fact that I stay at home with Hudson and care for him. He told me how much it means to him and how he knows it can get overlooked and not feel as important but that he sees all that I do. This hit my heart in such a raw way because it was exactly what I needed to hear. It released tears because all morning I was crying out to be seen and heard through my poor attitude and Lance (through the Holy Spirit) fed me the words my soul thirsted for. It took away the lies that my 2018 planner told me. I went on to explain to Lance how I had been feeling and my experience with the planner earlier that morning. And again he gave me another truth. He told me all that I do with Hudson, those types of things cannot be put down in a calendar or in a to-do list. This does not make them unimportant. This again spoke so directly to my heart. I was taken to all the late night nursings, the holdings, the shushings, the soothings, the playing, the changing of diapers and outfits, and all of the loving. Those things cannot be put on a planner. They typically are not what we write down in our to-do lists for the day, but that absolutely does not take away from their great importance.
I needed that hike today. Actually, like always, I needed Jesus. It just so happened that Jesus spoke through Lance on that hike, so I guess I needed all three. For those of you who also were in a funk at the start of the New Year, I hope these words can encourage you that the shaky start does not need to define your 2019. I hope that you can see through my sin and silliness, that grace can enter in just a moment when you least expect it and that hike you thought was going downhill can actually be the very thing that starts your year off in the best possible way.