The new year is definitely a favorite time of year for me. I’m not big into goal-setting or resolution-listing, but I love the momentum of a fresh start right on the heels of the holidays.
So here it is… my look at last year and what I’ll be carrying with me into this next one.
2017 started in France and, ironically and unexpectedly, ended there as well. Literally, we came full circle in my first full year as a mom.
Every parent tells you time moves way too fast, myself included. But there were moments and mini-seasons in 2017 where time stood still and I begged for it to move at all. I remember vividly my mom telling me when my boys were around 8 months old how much she absolutely loved this age with her own babies. I smiled, wondering if she could tell my “knowing” smile actually didn’t know at all. This? I thought. This was more frightening than fun. And that characterized my first few months of 2017. Still in shock by the new motherhood that, to be completely honest, I never imagined. Those months found me consumed with fear, overwhelm and insecurity on whether or not I could handle the order of twins overseas with a husband often on the road. My feet were firmly placed in France, but my heart was for home and the security and support I knew it could bring. Am I enough? was the question that hovered over my head as I fumbled my way through the first few months of motherhood.
At the end of march and on my own initiation, Trent and I knew we had to choose to make a change. At the time I would’ve told you it was more defeat than decision, and the fault fell on me. I would’ve said I was too weak a mom to wear that hat in a foreign country any longer. But sometimes a clearer truth is revealed over time, and now I’ll tell you the strongest decision I made last year was to own up to my needs and acknowledge my limits. I’ll tell you when I felt it the least was actually and ironically when I was most brave. And I’ll ultimately tell you my husband was selfless enough to sacrifice a few months of ball for the betterment of our family. The rearview mirror is rewriting that story because sometimes true strength means having the self-awareness to make decisions that the world will write off as weak.
Just over seven months in the States provided my family with what we needed and hoped for, but not exactly what we expected. We needed refreshment and recovery and the long awaited joy of seeing our boys with the friends and family who’d only been able to celebrate them from afar. What we expected was that after nearly a decade of living overseas, this time we were coming home for good.
Trent and I basically spent our entire married lives abroad, and although we had no idea what life in the States would look like, we were excited for that to be our next step. Over the course of the next few months, career and job opportunities for Trent surfaced, but whether by our own decisions or unforeseen circumstances, doors closed and nothing stuck. Trent started training kids in the meantime and found himself, in his own words, “participating in more and more of the workouts myself.”
Long story short, after a few conversations with Trent’s agent and more than a few prayers, we ultimately accepted an offer for the unexpected. We decided to finish up 2017 overseas, quite literally, back in the game.
Trent hopped a flight to Boulazac, France in late October with the boys and me following in late November. It wasn’t an easy decision to go back to a place and a lifestyle we’d left on purpose just months prior. In one sense the decision felt like an unwanted re-take on a test I’d failed just a few months before. It meant re-starting a chapter I thought we’d closed for good. In another sense, I knew it could be an incredible opportunity to redeem the way we wanted to walk away from professional basketball as a family, whether that be one, two or five more seasons.
What happened after the hard conversations and the fears and that one long flight was my favorite part of 2017. It wasn’t anything grand or outrageous, but the grace of God showing up in a million little ways in a million little moments to make our transition, unlikely as could be, our smoothest and sweetest in the 9 years we’ve been playing this game of goodbyes and see you laters. It was as if to say, Theresa, did you forget that I’m the God of the unexpected? That I delight in surprises and find joy when you trust Me even, and especially, in the unknown?
And that’s where I leave off. From the outside, it’d be easy to think we haven’t really moved anywhere. It’d be easy to see last year as lacking progress.
But guess what? 2017 taught me it’s possible to make a full circle, only to end in that same spot a different person. 2017? You taught me it’s less about circumstances and more about how I choose to navigate them. It’s less about the end game and more about who I become in the process.
So I’m not sure where 2018 will take us, if anywhere new at all, but maybe it wasn’t ever about getting to new places anyways. Maybe each year is actually more about growing than about going.