1 - The wait is worth it. Anticipation. That was easily the theme of 2014. When January rolled around and our church dream was in the embryonic stages, we didn’t know that come April, there’d be a literal baby to expect through the year as well. How uncannily well these two paralleled each other. There’s nothing glamorous about waiting. It can produce impatience and frustration. But the lessons learned in this time are essential and can’t be rushed. And the end result is gorgeous. Hello! Have you seen my little love Theo? 

2 - There’s a time to carry, and a time to be carried. This year, I opened myself up in new ways to this intimidating word: vulnerability. There were hard moments in the journey of 2014 (see lesson 1) and I needed to let myself be carried by my circle of friends and family in new ways. There have been many years where I was the one with the shoulder to lean on. But this time, I needed to talk. Let people in. Have people pray. In December, I honoured this revelation by having my husband Josh and four women who were rocks for me this year present at the birth of Theo. THAT, my friends, is true vulnerability!

3 - Walking in another’s shoes makes all the difference. In early 2014, Josh and I did a major role reversal. I headed to the hospital to work full-time and financially support our family, while he made his home base literally the home for adventures in stay-at-home parenting, higher education online, and church planting. Folks, this was not easy. But now that we know the ins and outs of both roles, we are more sensitive to each other’s needs, more thankful, and more gracious. While we may not be able to literally change roles with all the other people we encounter, being keen to lean in to the experience of another will increase our empathy big time.

4 - Birthing a dream is spelled W-O-R-K.  Back to the pregnancy parallel: the conception of a dream is the easy part. In the following nine months, there’s a lot of challenging factors that are part of the creation of the little one (think nausea, sciatica, varicose veins!!). This year, that last trimester was TOUGH. Now, we find ourselves in the last trimester of this church baby. There’s countless unseen hours invested, and challenges faced. We’re putting in the work, and trusting the outcome will be beyond what we could have imagined!

5 - God is The Master Builder. One of my highlights of 2014 was watching the Lego movie on a huge outdoor screen at one of my favorite community parks, cuddled up with our crew of kids. Much more than the Lego master builders, this year God has proven over and over that he is The Master Builder, he has a grand plan, and he will use whoever and whatever is willing to make it happen. All of our work (see lesson 4) to make a dream happen could never match the way God aligns hearts, people, and resources. I love watching the plan unfold, and am so grateful that he has our back!

6 - Peace is a choice. On our mantel sits a Trust Box. It holds slips of paper inscribed with some of the things we’d be inclined to stress about. It symbolizes letting go of the things we want to stress about and hold onto, and choosing peace. This year we’ve journeyed through learning trust in new and bold ways. When you choose to trust God, the natural outcome is peace. Sweet peace.

7 -Margin creates space for renewal.  Life gets busy. This year it was important for us to relearn carving out margins and making space for the stuff that renews us. In our marriage, date nights proved critical. Emotionally, time with a counselor was so helpful. We also were nourished by time to be outside, read, pray, play with the kids, and worship. We learned and relearned that if margin is not prioritized, its simply not going to happen.

8 - Community is enhanced with an open door. I love the people that we met and got to know better this year, simply because we try to live by an open door policy. All are welcome. Come for breakfast. Stay late. Be warned: my kids may crawl all over you, adopting you as their own. Be warned again: it’s messy at times, and most certainly loud. But it’s inclusive, the relationships are rich, and it’s well worth it.

9 - The Church is dynamic and beautiful and at work.  This year we got to experience a myriad of church communities. Different styles, formats, crowds. I loved the exposure. I loved seeing what God is up to using different people placed in unique positions. And I needed the gathering more than I even knew. Sure, we have work to do to build cohesion in the Church at large, but the arms are many and the reach is wide. It’s exciting to be a part of!

 10 - My husband is amazing. Undoubtedly, I did know this fact 10 years into the marriage journey… but 2014 brought watching him flourish in new ways, taking on crazy challenges. Build deeper bonds with the kids, check. Incorporate a church, check. Work tirelessly sans pay, check. Write epic papers, check. I love the way he’s grown this year and couldn't be prouder. The future is oh so bright my love.