At the heart of the gift of every new year is hope.
We all set aside time to dream a little about what we hope to move toward in the coming year. And I get that. I do it too.
I can look back at 2018 with such fond memories and experiences that I simply hope that 2019 will be a continuation of the same. If you haven’t had a chance, take a look here to read about my reflections on the past year.
But, 13 years ago when I was learning how to breathe in my new widowhood, I became deeply attached to the first of January 2006, because it meant EVERYONE had to start over. No matter what they had experienced in the year before – burying their spouse like me or promotions, moves, new children, whatever it was, good or bad – they had to face a new start. Which made me like them. It felt like the playing field of life had been leveled again and I grabbed hold of that sentiment and have felt strongly about the new year since.
JESUS ALL UP IN IT
I have walked through some complex challenges and have had some amazing experiences. People often look into where I am now and marvel or exclaim how strong they believe me to be. And I’m grateful for that.
But, I must be quicker to attribute that strength, gift, lesson, growth, etc. to the One who remained with me when the path and my next steps were too dark to see. To acclaim the One who loved me when I wanted to quit or give in to the wicked thoughts in my soul. To publicly praise Jesus for being a daily miracle worker in my life and bringing me to this point where I am even able to be the woman I’m becoming more proud to be.
EMBRACE THE CREATIVE ME
My Instagram profile (@reginasather) is filled with highlight icons that will allow me to dabble in the creative. Things that speak to and help me tend to my soul. Activities that require me to make a mess or explore my individual take or perspective on the community I’m a part of.
This morning, I started one of my goals for the year – to complete The 100 Days of Grace & Gratitude Devotional Journal – and wept as I was doing it. It taps into my greatest goal for 2019, which is to put Jesus at the center of more of what I do (I’d like to say “all of what I do” but I’m still human y’all – a work in progress.), I was overjoyed to be painting with watercolors and using glue sticks to express what’s happening inside me.
I’m incredibly grateful to have a husband who pushes me to make room for the margin. To not be compelled to fill my schedule with busy things to build a business or brand (which I was striving toward in 2018). It stresses me out, overwhelms me and makes me miss the whispers of Jesus to love on and help others to tend to what is happening within them.
There will be gardening attempts (yes, again!). There will be movies to watch, books to read, treats to bake (and share!). I will write, share, post and am excited about looking back on those Instagram highlight reels and here in this space to reflect on the journey taken as a result of stretching into this less than tidy, liberating space called creativity.
SOUL CARE: RETREATS + WORKSHOPS
Last year, I became consumed by building my new business: Simply Sather. I was focused on building a brand, finding ways to make money while remaining authentic to my experience, able to give the best of myself to help others. By the time December rolled around, I could tell that my compass was a bit astray.
God used my recovery time from surgery (which I’ll share more about in a later post) to settle my anxiety. My role at my current contract job as an executive assistant became more clear, helping me to hone my services to offer soul care retreats and workshops. No more coaching, no more online courses. The best thing I have to offer is what has made me who I am…my personal relationship with Jesus.
The soul care retreats I create are for individuals, couples and small teams. You can learn more here. What I so appreciate about doing these retreats is that clients can live anywhere in the world yet we can still work together. I can meet with you digitally, learn your preferences and needs then make all of the arrangements for you and your spouse, roomies or teammates. The retreats are to help break away from stress, stuck and overwhelm for intentional time to hear from God about taking next steps and tending to one’s soul.
The workshops will be both face-to-face for Metroplex Locals and digital for my far away friends. They will be designed to help women take their next steps in several areas.
Women considering online dating. Women parenting pre-teens and teens. Women in the relationship they believe they’re supposed to be in, but who are still struggling with insecurity, fear, and doubt. Women wanting to improve the way they are showing up in their female friendships, family dynamics or in the work environment.
The website will be updated by the middle of January with information about these hopefully very helpful workshops so stay tuned.
It is my hope that as I plan the retreats and facilitate the workshops, that something I share, say or do will resonate with one woman and help draw her closer to the voice and heart of Jesus and His perfect, unending love of her.
ONE LITTLE WORD X 2
I’ve been linking my year’s resolutions to one little word since 2014. The word that I land on is usually connected to an area that I believe I need to grow in or understand better.
A lot of my experience in the church has come with a lot of control. I take responsibility for how I’ve shown up and been drawn to those environments, but this year, I’m doing something different. I’m intentionally delving into what the Bible says about “grace”. It’s something I’ve struggled to understand and live by for so many years because it seems like a get out of jail free pass to this rule follower. Like people can “play their grace card” after committing egregious sins against you. As someone who has spent years seeing things as right or wrong/black or white, I see the need to live in and extend godly grace.
Additionally, I believe I need to understand God’s concept of beauty.
Mister (my nickname for my hubby) calls me “beauty”. He has for most of our courtship and still does almost daily. At best, I tolerate it because I don’t see it. What he sees.
I am convicted though. I’ve wanted to be called beautiful by a man who knows and lives with me. A man who sees me with my hair wrapped and greets me the morning after I’ve forgotten (or been too lazy) to brush my teeth. He does that and I shrug it off as love blindness or something wrong with him.
God has made it clear to me that I must learn to walk in this gift from Him. So I’ll be delving into the scriptures to better learn what God deems beauty or beautiful. And then I want to walk in it.
Every little thing I want to do: get a new camera to take high-quality photos, grow a healthy balcony garden, find a way to experience natural hormone therapy, read a trunkload of books, the list goes on, ought to be tied to these overarching goals and hopes for 2019.
It’s here soul tender! I hope you’re excited like me; open to all that God has stored up for both of us in this new year. Please leave a comment below sharing a little about what you’re focusing on in 2019.