Our family has made it a tradition to go on a big road trip in the summer for the last two years. This past summer, we made it all the way up to the shore of the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories. Even though our journey to Newfoundland and back had been longer, in some ways it felt like we went further this time. Not many people, relatively, cross the Arctic Circle, and I think the feeling of going to such a remote location leant that extra sense of adventure to the trip. We were going further north than many had gone before.
Last year was a year of uncharted territory in more ways than one. The Lord has been teaching me about listening to His Holy Spirit more intentionally for a while now, and 2022 was no different. Though I wasn’t consciously aware of it at first, He has led me into a bigger role of ministering to the women of our church. It’s one of those beautiful things that I know is completely of Him, because I never sought to get into women’s ministry. And yet, starting with our pastor asking me and a friend to lead the evening ladies’ Bible study, step by step God, has been growing a heart in me to serve the women of our church. I’m not always sure I know what I’m doing, but He gives me what I need in each situation He leads me into. Such has also been the case in both my marriage and my parenting, as I learn more and more to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit and pay attention to the things He prompts me to do in the moment. I can’t help remembering back to those Christian bracelets that were all the rage in the early 2000’s. You know the ones? “W.W.J.D.,” “P.U.S.H.,” “F.R.O.G.”… There were more, I’m sure, but it’s that last one I think of often these days. I had no idea what fully relying on God really meant back in junior high, but these days I’m starting to get more of an idea as I practise day by day. Jesus is a good and gentle teacher.
This coming year will bring even more opportunity to practise trusting God to lead us in unknown situations. My husband will be finishing the second degree he’s been working on for the last five years, bringing a multitude of possibilities for how he will use his time moving forward. In the fall, my daughter will enter grade one, and we will officially be homeschooling two children. I also keep thinking that, as both kids enter the school-age season, it’s time to level up in our parenting. We will certainly be creating a new normal, if life can ever be called normal! As much as those big changes carry some uncertainty and challenge with them, the word I keep coming back to as I consider this year is “adventure.” My husband and I will have been married 15 years this coming August, and over the period of our relationship, God has led us through many. We know that He has good things in store for us and have come to trust Him more with each one. More than anything, I’m excited to see where He will lead us through these big life shifts! We also have some other adventures planned, from helping to implement new endeavours at our church, to lots of travelling in the summer (can anyone say, “Grand Canyon?”). Lord willing, those will also be wonderful opportunities to step forward in faith and see what He has for us.
I am so grateful for the life God has given us. From the stresses of university and the roller coaster of parenting to the sweet times spent connecting and growing within our literal and church families, He is with us. After we returned from our Arctic trip, my grandma gave me a little angel ornament engraved with the apt phrase, “Faith Over Fear.” As I reflect on 2022 and envision the rest of 2023, this phrase settles in my heart as both a summary of the past year and a motto to practise more deeply moving forward. God is good, so here’s to this new year: bring it on!