December 31st, 2017! Moments ago, we ran outside in freezing temperatures catching big Texas snowflakes in our hair while Shiloh snuggled comfortably with her Nona indoors, reveling in the joy of a rare Southern occurrence as we usher in a bright new year. And what a full collection of days and weeks and months we’re leaving behind…full of old things and new things, the anticipation of pregnancy and the arrival of new life, the joy of relationship and the pain of loss, the struggles of ministry life and the blessings of it.
In 2017, the very first two weeks of it, I unsuspectingly took a pregnancy test and stared sleepy-eyed at two bright blue lines. After a few minutes of staring, grinning, and staring some more, I ran down the hall and jumped back into bed with Cameron. Snuggling up close, I whispered, “I think we’re pregnant!” (A full-on obsession with those little tests developed over the next few weeks, each one confirming that we were, in fact, pregnant.)
In 2017, Cameron started and finished his second year of full-time ministry at our church (thanks to a January 1st start date that makes keeping track extra easy), and I finished my second year as pastor’s wife. I think we’ve both grown in our roles as part of this ministry—I’ve watched Cameron excel at leading and nurturing, learning and mentoring, and I’ve enjoyed more and more the partnership that comes with being his wife.
In 2017, we traveled far fewer miles than in previous years, but thoroughly enjoyed our brief getaways to San Antonio for an anniversary trip and Siloam Springs (Arkansas) for a week with family. We pined for places and peoples and cultures across oceans, continued surrendering hopes and dreams to God’s timing, and broadened our ideas of home.
In 2017, we lost sweet H from our youth group and grappled with the repercussions of suicide, both in our community and in our hearts. We cried, tried to comfort hurting kids, and cried some more.
In 2017, I watched my belly get absolutely gigantic (and I do mean gigantic). I discovered things I liked about pregnancy and things I didn’t, had my sweet husband rub my feet almost every night, and drank pitchers full of lemonade (which, thanks to cravings, tasted like the best stuff on the planet).
In 2017, we began to learn about rhythms of work and rest, read books that encouraged our souls, and took the time to celebrate a weekly Sabbath. We ate delicious meals, played good games, and had long talks.
In 2017, nearly ten months of pregnancy culminated in the healthy delivery of baby Shiloh Grace with big blue eyes and and squishy cheeks. We struggled through the initial adjustments, wondered if we’d ever sleep again, and fell head over heels in love with our beautiful little Shiloh—who remains the highlight of my year.
Thank you, God, for a year full of good things and bad things, and your presence all the way through.