Just after midnight on New Year's Day, Kyle and I were laying in bed, mulling over the year just passed, staring wide-eyed and wordless at the ceiling contemplating the year to come.
It's a lot to take in.
How many people do you know who will (God-willing) bring home two newborns the same year they celebrate fifteen years of marriage? What is even happening here?
And here we are, right on the cusp of it. 2013. What will we do with this wild and wonderful year? What will 2013 do to us?
Since 2009, I've welcomed a word in January that promised to give a little direction and some meaningful intention to the days ahead. Some years I've done better than others in terms of really, truly allowing that word to direct the course.
I had joked with friends that my word for 2013 was going to be SURVIVE. But deep down, I knew God wasn't going to let me get away with that. I know that He has intended so much more for the next twelve months than sheer survival, although there is no doubt I'll be operating out of survival mode for much of it.
I actually kind of began to know my word for the coming year way back in October. Our church has camped out in Acts for a long time, studying and discussing the ways of the early church and how those practices apply to us in the twenty-first century in Oklahoma City.
In one talk*, our pastor Jonathan talked about the calling of the first deacons, of how without question the practice of essentially waiting tables was vastly important, both in the early church and on a larger scale in the wholeness of the Kingdom of God.
I've been thinking about that a lot. The calling and the ordination to wait tables.
It's taken me a long time to mentally come to peace with expecting twins. Sure, the practical logistics of it are mind-boggling, and I somehow suspect I might never fully get a grasp on that. But internally, it's been quite the adjustment in thought.
When we decided to bring another child into our family, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. With the big girls in school all day, there was no reason why I couldn't just pack up a little one and tote him along with me in whatever it was I wanted to do. Having finally moved past the Years of Little Ones, I was so anticipating the freedom before me.
Without a doubt, I could write while the baby napped; I could drop him off at Mother's Day Out while I did hands-on activity with ministries that are so close to my heart; I could even leave him with his father whose parenting confidence has grown great leaps in the past few years.
One more baby? No worries.
But I was so excited to finally be leaving behind the season of life where the work of my hands, my mind, and my energy was limited to the goings-on within our own home. For nearly eight years, I had tenderly devoted myself to the daily work of mothering and sweeping under the table after every meal and the fine art of Play-Doh clean-up and stacks of picture books.
And I was happy to do so. Truly I was. But I was also happy to grow and move beyond that stage of life into something bigger, something more fulfilling on a personal level, something - anything! - I had been waiting so patiently to pursue.
And so when it was revealed that the one little zygote that had formed in the beautiful, hopeful month of June was just so full of life and energy that it had to split into TWO, all of the pretty, glittery plans I had made fell into a tiny puddle at my feet.
I'm nervous to even share this because I know there are so many reading who are hopefully wanting and waiting for the season I was in such a hurry to end, but this is the context that I need for you to know as I say out loud that my word for 2013 is
* * * * *
In Spirit-Led Parenting, Laura and I speak often to the philosophy of laying down our lives to serve our wee, helpless babies in the first year:
We in the Western Church often give great lip service to the idea of servanthood. We understand that if we are to model our lives after the life of Christ, then we must choose the path of service. The New Testament letters are filled with admonitions to consider others more important than ourselves and to serve one another wholeheartedly and in love. And so we agree to serve God by serving others, right up to the point where service encroaches on our comfort. When confronted with the cost of sustained servanthood ... well, this is when we start to squirm. (p. 53)
And I've done a lot of squirming as I've begun to accept the reality that I'll be spending most of 2013 waiting tables once more. But with the great gentleness and encouragement, God the Father has been working in my heart to help me find peace in this.
And I have found glimmers of excitement, too, in recalling Madeline L'Engle's words about art and what it means to serve the art that comes to you, to give it flesh and bones. I know I crave more art in my life, and I know there is such potential in the joining of serve and art.
And finally, I know that this is a year in which I'll have to allow others to serve me. By virtue of being both the oldest girl child in my family of origin and then a fiercely independent coach's wife for over a decade, it is very, very hard to allow others to serve me. I've been feeling all contract-y the past few days and I've agreed to stay off my feet until my next check-up, and just in a few days of family serving on me, I've squirmed and resisted and felt incredibly uncomfortable in my weakness.
(Actually, now that I think about it, uncomfortable is probably a fantastic alternate One Word for 2013!)
In that talk on waiting tables, our pastor pointed out the the requirement for service in the Church was to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. It is no small thing to serve - wherever we are, whomever we are serving. It requires a filling of the Holy Spirit and an unquenchable thirst for wisdom.
Oh 2013. May you overcome the unfortunate burden of bad luck packed into your tail end. May you be, for all of us, a year filled with the Spirit and wisdom and grace and peace.
If you look for me, you'll find me: hair piled high in a messy bun, sweaty-browed, fighting my way through the weeds with a beleaguered smile, waiting tables in the service of our Lord.
* click on Podcast and go to the talk from 10/21/12 to hear the whole message. It's the first of several in which Jonathan speaks to the idea of serving tables in the Kingdom.
original image by ~ggvic~