Today’s guest post comes from missionary mom Shannon Kelley. Here, Shannon shares a practical idea for being intentional as family as we leave last year behind and look forward to the New Year.
I’m a big fan of the New Year. There is something hopeful and exciting about it. I love reminiscing over the past year and dreaming about what will be in the next. This New Year was very different from years past. Instead of hanging with family and watching the ball drop went to sleep at 8, since the sun goes down here at about 6pm and we now think 8pm is late. We celebrated by pumping water into buckets for a shower and trying to not jump every time a homemade firework went off right outside our window.
Before we moved to Haiti our family made a couple promises. One was to sit down yearly and have a family meeting where we are truly honest about: where we are, what needs to change, and are we still aligned with what God called us to. In an effort to spice up New Years in a little remote fishing village in Haiti, and keep our promise of sitting down as a family to really talk about where we are in this crazy journey of following God, we did just that on New Year’s Eve.
It’s not really about resolutions. It’s about coming together to be honest and take inventory over the past year and prepare as best we can for the New Year. It’s about realizing life is too short to not really dive in to what God is calling us to. Want to join us?
Make it fun. Make snacks, give everyone fun paper and a pen to write on, make it a game or sharing time. Give the kids crayons so they can draw their answers if they want. Or if your kids are older, designate a “scribe”. Take is seriously but make it fun! If you are single or want to do this alone, find your favorite place to cozy up, grab your favorite journal and make it a special moment just for you.
Write it down. Don’t just talk about it. Writing it down makes it a memory, holds you accountable, and helps propel you after this exercise is over.
Pray. Ask for blessings and honesty during this time. Take time for the questions; force yourself to authentic answers, past the pat answers.
Here’s the list we use. Feel free to modify the questions to suit your situation. Grab some pens and paper, get some popcorn popping and ask your family some or all of these questions.
-Think back over the past year. What would the theme of the year be for you?
-Where did you see God specifically move?
-What worked for you and your family and ministry?
-What could have been better?
-Set aside 5 minutes of brainstorming big dreams for the New Year.
-What are you letting go of in 2013. Quit something.
-2012 was the year….
-2013 is the year I will…
Now share some of your answers, even if it’s just with your immediate family. Telling others has boldness in it and inspires others while empowering you.
You can leave a comment here with some of your family’s answers so we can motivate each other. I added some of the answers from our family below.
Shannon Kelley – lives in a remote fishing village in Haiti working with Harvest Field Ministries. blog: www.shannon-kelley.com/blog twitter: @alohashannon