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  • Leah Outten

Reflections: 2015 the Year of Joy

I like to make a post each New Year, not for resolutions necessarily, but to reflect on growth and see where God has had His fingerprints on our lives this past year. Each year God gives me a single word that I pray over for the year and His lessons are often wrapped around that word.

2010 was the year of greatness. So many amazing milestones!

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

2012 was the year of healing. More counseling, more growing, more learning, more forgiveness.

2013 was the year of learning joy.  I named it that because I desperately wanted more joy in my life-- I wanted to find the joy again in motherhood. Little did I know I would actually sink lower and I was be grasping for any joyful moment I could get! But it taught me so much. About myself, about my priorities, about God.

2014 was the year of grace, very fittingly. I spent most of it in a pit of long lingering PPD after our 3rd child from the previous year. The second half was redeeming as I climbed out of it one step at a time. I went to counseling, I used the tools that helped me, I asked for help when I needed it, I took off my super mom cape. I took steps in not only accepting God's grace for me...but grace for myself.

2015 was the year of joy. It honestly is up there with 2010 as the best year ever. While I worked hard to learn joy back in 2013, this past year truly was a gift of those hardships--- the gift of joy. No, it wasn't always easy the whole year, I still have moments of moods and feeling the chaos around me, but overall my heart swells with the blessings God bestowed on us this year. The amazing birth of our 4th child surrounded by dear friends.  Joy in small moments and big memory moments like going to Disney World. My birth daughter turned 11 this year and while it isn't always joyful for me to experience since I feel her loss even more some days....the relationship we are forming as she gets older does bring so much joy. We've had a 4 days sleep over and hours of FaceTime and texting together in-between. That is priceless. There also was tremendous growth in my writing work which fills my soul and speaks to the calling God has given me (I'm at YourCareEverywhere, Adoption.NET, and Binti now)! Plus, success in my work with doTERRA that help keep us a healthy family. The opportunities to share our adoption story and touch lives around me blew my mind.  The connections and friendships made this year mean so much to me! And, I consider it a HUGE blessing that I stayed out of PPD this time around thanks to my tools and oils (plus a great sleeping baby!), with the exception of a few days here that scared me. Not to mention the most recent event...God gave us our new home this year (post coming soon as a follow up to this waiting post!). I'm still walking around here pinching myself that this is really ours.

2016 will be the year of trust. As usual, I want to dig deeper in my relationship with God. I have a feeling trust will be needed this year. Even if it is just in the small opportunities of everyday that faith & trust is needed, I want that. I constantly feel God whispering when I want to take over control, "Do you trust me?" So this is me claiming I trust Him. I trust Him with our finances, our family, our parenting, our jobs, our friendships, and whatever nooks of my heart He is asking me to release to Him. Maybe it will be tested this year in a big way, maybe it won't, but ultimately I trust God to see the big picture. I want to join in a small group in a church that feels like home to our souls.  I want to grow intimately close to new friends around us within our neighborhood and church. I want to expand my village. I want to form roots within this new home, make new joyful memories, not worrying about the little things in life like red mud on my carpet. As a parent I want to have less yelling, more gentle guiding. I want to be an example of faith to my children so they can form their own roots deep of faith.

What are you thankful for in 2015? What do you hope to see in 2016? Happy New Year!

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