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  • Leah Outten

2017 in Review + Word for 2018

Ah, here we are once again.

A new year approaching.

This is always my favorite post of the year. Though I blog less and less here (because I’m over at places like Babble, Big City Moms, and Your Care Everywhere more so), I always feel drawn to write this post every New Year with excitement. I love reflecting and seeing what God has done, and where He is leading me.

2010 was the year of greatness.

2011 was the year of meh (it was okay?)

2012 was the year of healing.

2013 was the year of learning joy.

2014 was the year of grace.

2015 was the year of joy (because it was so joyful!)

2016 was the year of trust.

2017 was the year of being more present.

I truthfully had forgotten what word I had chosen for 2017 until looking back, but while I had forgotten the word in my head, my heart did not. And while I certainly had moments of living in the survival mode of PPD and Anxiety (which I didn’t write about here yet, but I have here and here and here) it urged me to slow down and cherish my kids. Some days, forgetting my dishes and taking the time to cuddle on the couch to read a book with my little ones was a dose of happiness I needed. I’ve felt my heart whisper at times to go connect with and love on one of my children, which then helped my attitude and curbed their tantrums. Having 5 kids, it’s easy to connect with certain children over others because our personalities or interests click more. It’s also easy to be too busy to miss those opportunities. But, this year showed me the effort to connect with each in our own way is precious time and changes the whole atmosphere of our home when they feel more loved. Our pastor says kids spell love T-I-M-E. I agree.

This year I’ve learned those moments are priorities. I highly recommend reading The Hands Free Mama book! It’s a good kick in the pants and gives practical steps to make those changes. I’m no where near perfect, I do love my phone a little too much still. But, progress is progress!

While anxiety just plain sucks, it was a season that helped me actively search for the joy within my children and my life once more. The darkness isn’t fun, but it is refining. It taught me to care for myself physically more and created a deeper relationship with God and my family.

And, I found that when I invite God to be present within me and our home daily, the joy is present in my heart towards my family too. My anxiety forced me to slow down my mornings and spend time with Him, because everyday is easier– however it turns out– with Him being my strength.

2017 otherwise was a fantastic year!

Lylah was born in February and Mark had an amazing 6 week paternity leave. At 10 months old Lylah is now taking steps…gasp! She’s such a strong, joyful presence in our home. She’s very determined and knows what she wants! Her older siblings still adore her, which is such a blessing to my momma heart. I couldn’t imagine not having her in our family. She’s my little mini-me and I love it!

Mark and I celebrated 10 years of marriage! I grew up in a split home, plus having the statistic of a teenage marriage being higher in divorce rate, we were thrilled to meet this milestone. We truthfully are more in love, understand each other, and enjoy each other more than ever. God brought even more healing this year to my heart, just as I felt He promised during Lylah’s birth.

We went on family adventures (again, us being more present!) like hiking to waterfalls, the beach, and more picnics at local parks. Time in nature is healing and slows down time, taking off pressures of life.

My road trip to Florida with Callie from Talk About Adoption for the Pro-Life Women’s Conference was bonding and we made wonderful new connections. Overall this year, I made new friends and deepened other relationships. The community my soul craves only grows wider and stronger!

I had another wonderful long visit with my birth daughter, with more meaningful conversations in our one-on-one time and watching her grow into a beautiful young lady inside and out. And, so, so talented in art!

I grew my first ever garden. So exciting to produce our own little veggies for the summer.

I turned 30! It was a little scary to move up in decades but I feel like I’m finally the age I feel on the inside– and the lifestyle I’ve lived since I was 19 years old as a young mom. I’ve been a mom and wife long before many of my peers were even thinking of families! I’m excited for this new chapter in life, one where I can focus more on taking care of myself since my kiddos will be older this season of life.

Writing wise I made the most income through writing ever so far and met some goals I made for myself! Getting severals pitches accepted by Babble being one of them, with my biggest story yet spreading awareness about PPCM, which my friend Erin passed away from in 2016. It was an honor to be able to share her story and hopefully save some lives.

What’s in store for 2018?

I honestly don’t know. I’m at a place, after the Lord teaching me about trust, that my plans are laid at His feet. There are some possible plans like flying to the United Kingdom with Talk About Adoption for an event (how exciting that would be!), but I’ve learned to make plans tentatively now. The Lord knows what is best for us and usually His plans are far greater than my own!

Unfortunately, the nature of freelance writing is up and down with jobs. Right now I am in a low season and once again waiting on the Lord to open doors for more income and writing jobs. This time, I am not anxious as I was last year because I know God will provide for us and when the time is right the perfect opportunity will arise. So, I wait and move when He says, “Move.” I do feel like one door closed so that something new and exciting could come, so I look forward to what God has in store.

My word for 2018 I feel is Faith.

Isn’t faith similar to trust? Haven’t I been down this road before? I suppose it takes trust to have faith, and you must have faith in something in order to have trust in it.

I do know that there is always more to learn, even if it’s a continuation of a lesson. We will never be done learning here on earth! As my spiritual senses have grown over the recent months, I’ve felt torn trying to figure out how it all collides together with what I believe in. Perhaps, this is one area that will be revealed or prompting to keep my faith where I have always believed.

Either way, 2018 is about to begin with a beautiful new beginning and I am so excited. It’s tangible! Here on the other side of PPD/A, I’m breathing in fresh renewed hope and an uplifted soul. It’s going to be a good year, even if there will be challenges, faith will anchor me as it always has.

The Lord is good and faithful! I will have faith that He is faithful. I have faith that He will provide for our needs. I have faith that He will open new doors. I have faith that he will be faithful in His promises. I have faith in simply who He says He is.

Happy New Year, folks!

May your New Year be filled with blessings and hope found only in Jesus.

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