Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Year Reflection

The start of a new year always puts me in a reflective mood.  I like to look back on the past year and think about the changes and evaluate what went well and what didn't.  I like to look forward and set goals for the next year.  And I didn't want to let the year slip away without sharing at least a few of those reflections here.

2015 was a year of change for our family.  Change has, of course, defined our family for many years, and the 3 1/2 years since Bryan died have brought massive transformation.  I think, though, that the change of 2015 was unique in that it represents our family getting settled into what will be our new normal.

The Lord has been gracious in allowing us to make our changes somewhat slowly: first a move, then mom working part-time, then the kids going to public school, and, now, mom working full-time.  Each step has been challenging at first and then more manageable as time went on.  (The only step, ironically, that ended up being extremely easy was the kids transitioning from homeschooling to public school.  They did great from day one.  They love it and they're thriving.  This was the step that I was most concerned about, but I suppose I had forgotten that children are far more resilient and open to change than we adults are.)

Now that I'm working full-time, my children are growing in independence and maturity in some beautiful ways.  It's not always easy- in fact, it's extraordinarily difficult.  Raising seven children alone is a full-time job all by itself.  I really do have two full-time jobs at this season in my life.  But now, I don't just tell my kids that they're an indispensable part of our family team- they really are.  If anyone fails to pull his weight, everything crashes.  They are beginning to see that life takes work and that leisure is a welcome reward for that work.

We still have a long way to go.  There are a lot of areas in which we can, and indeed, must, improve in the coming years.  But life has taken on a new dimension, a new direction.  The Bain family isn't living in  a state of transition anymore.  We are, believe it or not, settled into our new life.  The years to come will bring many more changes, I know, and I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us in the future.  But for now, we're where we ought to be, and although life is exhausting, it's good.

As we feel more established as a family, I hope to share more here about grief, loss, suffering, and moving on; about single parenting; about family identity; about approaching life as a mission and a calling.

Thank you for your faithfulness in reading my scribblings, however sporadic they might be.  May your lives see many blessings and much growth in the coming year.