It came in the mail...and I couldn't wait to get started.
I'm not just a mom; I'm a planning nerd. Always on the lookout for tools to simplify life, my journey with planners has been an evolving story. This year's search of the latest and greatest planning tool, brought the "Artist of Life Notebook" from Lavendaire into my hands. (I'll keep you posted on what I think of it later in the year)
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I eagerly set aside a day to delve into its pages and embark on my 2024 journey.
Looking Back to Move Forward: The Discipline of Reflection
Leafing through the pages to prepare for my set apart time with my new guided journal, ready to plan for my best year ever, I remembered the importance of looking back before moving forward. (I actually teach this practice in my Well-Spring Workshops). As a visionary, this takes discipline and is essential.
While reflecting on past years usually brings a sense of accomplishment, my initial reflection of 2023 offered a different experience.
Words for 2023: REST - REFRESH - RESTORE - RECREATE
The words guiding my 2023 were unconventional. I had more than "One Word" to guide my year. I was given an invitation in January of 2023 to
enter into - REST,
and RE-CREATE through recreation.
Silence, solitude, and stillness took center stage. Conversations with my husband revolved around embracing a true Sabbath, and our commitment to family led to extensive travel.
Unexpected Outcomes: The Unseen Riches
As I sat in a space of reflection and went through my calendar month by month, listing all of the 'dos' we did, I didn't find much in the area of accomplishments. I came to the conclusion that 2023 must have been a waste of time for me...a big fat F marked the pages of 2023.
Where was evidence of my personal and professional growth?
What impact was I having for His Kingdom here on earth?
What were my accomplishments?
Did God even use me?
I became discouraged and downcast.
Despite this, in the weeks that followed, God began revealing a different story.
God's Unfolding Story: A Different Narrative
Contrary to my initial assessment, 2023 wasn't devoid of achievement. Personal growth, business impact, and measurable accomplishments took unexpected forms.
While business profits and home renovations fell short, the richness of restored relationships and rediscovered joys spoke louder.
As I looked with His eyes, I began to rethink success.
Unexpected Riches: Restored Relationships and Rediscovered Joys
Over the last few weeks, through letters, visits from children, visits to see and celebrate grandkids, holiday gatherings, unexpected phone calls, and more, I have begun to SETTLE into the success stories of 2023 and CELEBRATE His Faithfulness.
Providing as Sanctuary of Solitude for a Friend
Supporting Children Through Challenges
Reconnecting With Long-Lost Friends
Making Time To Be With Extended Family
Building Relationships With Neighbors
Mending Strained Relationships
Celebrating Victories With Loved Ones
God's Gentle Reminder: The True Measure of Success
Today, as if to add an exclamation point to the end of my reflections, I received the following from one of my sweet soul sisters.
Isaiah 49:3-4 - "You are my servant, and you will bring Me glory...I leave it all in the Lord's hand; I will trust God for my reward."
2023 may not have been what I planned, but it unfolded in ways I couldn't have imagined. The true treasures weren't in profit margins or renovations but in restored relationships, moments of solitude, and the joy of recreating life's simple pleasures.
In the end,
success wasn't about what I did but
about what God accomplished in the midst of my intentions.
As you spend moments of reflection of 2023, please share in the comments some of your unexpected successes that the Father is speaking over your life.
Here's to 2024, embracing the unexpected riches that unfold in the journey ahead.