Man, what a year. I, for one, am glad that the world did not end in 2012. If I had to characterize this year as one thing, I would say it was the YEAR OF LEARNING. I’m getting older and, I actually feel it, a little wiser. Yes, I still have BIG FEELINGS but I’m learning how to control them, or at the very least, point them in a helpful direction instead of stampeding like a wild stallion into the wild blue yonder. It’s interesting to feel myself getting older. Anyway, here are some things that I have learned this year:
- I feel like I was born to host and this house was made for hosting. Which is weird because Alex and I both are actually introverts and being around other people drains us of our energy. Our post-party tradition is to ignore each other for a good two hours. But that doesn’t stop us from hosting because we really truly love it. I’m not sure I can describe how I feel when, mid-party, I pause and see that there are 20 people that are having a good time, connecting, interacting, laughing. It’s pure joy.
- Piggy-backing off that, we’ve learned that bigger is not always better. We backed off our collegiate international student ministry this year in favor of smaller groups meeting more often (as opposed to having 54 people trying to take turns with two pinatas). It’s been such a blessing. We’ve really gotten to “dig in” to the lives of these people who are thousands of miles away. They call me now if they need to know about towing their cars or if something weird happened at work and they don’t know how to interpret it. While we started out trying to be a blessing, as is often the case, they have returned it to us ten-fold.
- I took this year of waiting during the adoptions to research and read and listen and absorb. I have learned a whole lot about adoption ethics, race relations and white privilege, birthmother and adoptee rights (and voice), and tons of other things about supporting our kids. All this learning (combined with a few other circumstantial things) have resulted in some pretty big decisions regarding our Thai adoption, which I’ll discuss in a later post. Our domestic adoption is trucking right along. We had our home study last week and we actually finished it up feeling super encouraged, which is weird considering we’d just been grilled for four hours. Our case worker says the average wait after licensing is about 9 months so it’s quite possible that 2014 will be THE YEAR THE WISE’S EXPAND THEIR FAMILY (FINALLY). Dang, I sure hope so.
- We’ve been at our church about a year and a half now and we really settled in this year. God has taught me a buttload about living in community with people and what that really means. Our generation tends to jump ship when things get uncomfortable or “we don’t like” something. God has really shown us more about walking with people and offering grace (and being extended grace, which is really helpful for me). It has been utterly and completely refining and I love it. God is using my church to make me more like Jesus and I couldn’t be more pleased.
- I’ve officially been working part-time at my job for a year and a half. When I went part-time, I had a minor existential crisis about who I was. I didn’t realize how much my self-identity was wrapped up in my job. Now that I’ve had some practice, I’ve realized just what God was doing when He presented that opportunity. Me working part time has freed up some time for Alex and I to get stuff done. I’m able to grocery shop and do laundry and clean while Alex is at work so that we can do some of the weekly things that we do. With kids, it will be even more of a blessing, I’m sure.
- Alex and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in August. It’s been a new experience to see him as “Pre-Adoptive Parent” Alex. This process has been so strenuous and emotional for me but I am in awe of how much Alex is willing to do for our kids. He has gone way above and beyond what most men would do as far as baring his whole life for several strangers to evaluate. I could not be more proud of the man that I married and I can’t wait to see him in the dad role.
That’s all for now, folks. I’ve had some pretty severe writer’s block over the past several days and I’ve written this post about 19 times. I enjoyed 2013 but I’m ready for 2014 and all of the fun it will bring.