What I Learned in 2017 {Lois Ormsby}

What I learned in 2017  {Lois Ormsby}

For some reason my entire year has been on my mind a lot this December.  I have been thinking a lot about what God was able to teach me, what I need to work on in 2018, and where our family is emotionally and spiritually as we enter a brand new year.  Here are a few things that I’ve learned in 2017.  They are in no particular order, and this list certainly does not include everything I learned!  I hope that theses things might inspire you to look back on your own 2017 and consider what lessons God has been able to teach you.

  • I need to be ok with God telling me to rest. As a teenager and into my college years, I was the type of person who thrived on being busy and involved.  I knew how to maximize a day and could stay busy doing a long list of various activities.  Fast forward to 2017: this year marked five years since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.  Until this year, I’ve always despised and loathed the way UC makes me feel.  Most of the time I have next to no energy and tire easily.  Adding pregnancy, nursing, and pregnancy again to that mix has only made my chronic illness harder to live with.  This year, though, God finally got through to me about my spirit concerning this weakness He has allowed in my life.  At 6 weeks pregnant with baby #2, the morning (all day) sickness hit me really hard.  I was so incredibly discouraged, because I literally was doing nothing.  I couldn’t even make it to church and ended up in the ER for a few hours one time, too.  During this time of severe baby sickness, God was able to speak to me despite the low feelings I felt.  He reminded me that I needed to stop comparing my pregnant self with that of my friends, and that He didn’t expect me to keep up “normal life” like so many of them seemed to.  In 2017 God has shown me over and over that I simply need to accept the days that I wake up feeling wiped out instead of being frustrated the entire day that my to-do list is sitting untouched.
  • The importance of reaching out and touching those that God puts on my heart will only be fully realized in Heaven. I cannot tell you how many times in 2017 God put certain people on my heart.  Heeding God’s prompting to do something for them – a card, a prayer, a gift, a few minutes’ chat, some flowers, a song – showed me over and over just how important it is to look out for each other.  Usually when reaching out to these people, I had no idea that they had gone through something horrible that very day or week, and how desperately they needed reminded that God loved them.  Doing things for others is something I’ve always loved to do, but this year God gave me even more insight to how those promptings of someone being on my mind is His Spirit directly communicating with my heart.
  • Margin in everyday life is of utmost value, a very essential application of wisdom. Some of you have perhaps read Pastor Paul Chappell’s book, Stewarding Life.  I read this several years back and highly recommend it!  One of the things that stuck out the most to me from this book is that of margin in life.  Simply put, having margin in life is having time that is unscheduled in our calendars on purpose.  Our American culture has driven us to a life with no margin – it’s so easy to live that way, because we feel the pressure of being busy every day and filling every free time slot with some fun family activity, church commitment, school event, work opportunity…the list goes on.  Watching other families’ lack of margin, I’ve realized that I do not want my family to be the same way.  Thankfully, my husband shares this value with me.  And so, as we worked our way through 2017, I always made sure we had margin scheduled in our life.  If I had one or two busy days in a row, I tried very hard for the next couple days to be more free and quiet.  If we already had a commitment for a particular day, we usually did not schedule anything else for the same day to avoid the day becoming too packed.  Looking back on 2017, I’m pleased to say that our year was much less stressful because of the margin we planned on.  The margin in our life also helped unexpected situations become easier to fit in and deal with.
  • What I say about people and situations really impacts my husband’s view of people and situations. In 2017 God taught me to talk less than ever before. It is easy for me to count my husband as my avenue for “venting” – but, what is the venting going to do in the long run?  Is what I’m about to tell him going to drive him to protector mode and cause him to think unkind thoughts about the person who frustrated me?  Is what I’m venting about going to change his good opinion of someone we both love?  Josh and I talk about a lot of things, and oftentimes I do still “vent” to him…but I have been striving to avoid telling him things simply with the subconscious reason of getting him to be “on my side” of the scenario.  I don’t want to stand before God someday and be told that I was a malicious woman full of guile.
  • Making the most of moments with Malachi now (he’s almost 2) conditions me towards a habit of doing the same when he’s old enough to realize whether or not I’m really present in his life. In today’s society it’s so easy to be involved in our kids’ lives just long enough that they’re fed, changed, and happy entertaining themselves (or so we think) while we go back to our to-do lists, work, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, and so on. But, choosing the better way of prioritizing life will render such better rewards in the long run.  When I’m spending time with Malachi, I leave my phone alone.  I try to be completely present in whatever it is we’re doing together, be it eating lunch, playing with balls, or having a tickle war on the couch.  Sure, there are times when I slip up and become engrossed in other things – but, I try really hard to remember that my life IS Malachi.  My life IS my home.  If I make a habit of multitasking now, when he’s little and “doesn’t realize it”, I’ll still be doing that when he’s bigger and trying to engage me in real conversation.  At 10, he’ll clearly see that my to-do list is apparently more important than my desire to be fully present in his world.  Or, perhaps at nearly 2, he is already beginning to discern where my priorities lie.  I want to have good habits now so that by the time he is 10, he knows that he is a huge priority of my life and not just a necessary part of my every day that is to be checked off my to-do list.
  • Saving money is not always the most important thing. My time is more valuable than my money.  I’m a girl who LOVES a good deal and gets excited over saving more than I spent on a purchase.  Yet, between the busy schedule American society calls for and the fatigue my chronic illness burdens me with, I have come to realize that my time is much more valuable than my money.  Don’t worry – I still do what I can to stretch our paychecks and spend less where I can.  But…at the end of the day, what is more important: that I have $15 left in my purse after spending 2 extra hours scouring the stores, or that I am well-rested before my husband comes home from work, whereby we might enjoy some time quality together as a family?  Sometimes that extra $4.28 spent at Chick-Fil-A while running errands is exactly what your child needs to get through the ordeal of grocery shopping cheerfully (I mean, really, who wants to be strapped in a carseat for 3 hours?!).  Instead of worrying about the money to the point that I’m always thinking or saying “we can’t afford that”, I think first of how this purchase – or the lack thereof – may affect my time and thus affect the spirit of my home.

Looking back on my year has both encouraged me and exhorted me.  It’s sobering to think of how much my outlook on life impacts my husband and children.  I already have a small list of things I want to work on in 2018 – not exactly New Year’s resolutions, but more like things I want personally improve in whereby I may be a better woman, wife, and mom by the end of 2018 than I am right now.  Perhaps throughout this new phase of blogging with my sister, I will share some of those things with you.  Until then, I pray that this blogpost has encouraged you towards considering your own life as God instructs us to in Ephesians 5:15 and 16: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Comments · 16

  1. Wow, such an encouragement! Thank you for sharing, I need to start working on myself through God’s word as well. Thank you for sharing and for the good reading.

  2. Dearest Lois, Thank You for being so honest and open!!!!! Truly spoke to my soul. May our precious Lord continue to bless you and ALL your dear family!!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!!!

  3. Happy New Year Lois, great blog, my life is so busy and this blog reminds me that I need to slow down and take time for my self. I don’t like to compromise my time with the Lord so I get up extremely early in the am, but, when I get home I’m so tired and my devotions are shorter. This is a wakeup call for me to slow down. I pray for you daily,but will be praying specially for your pregnancy and your health. Love you and thank you 😘❤️

    1. Amen, sweet sister! Even Jesus instructed the disciples to come apart and rest a while. Amidst His time of ministering on the earth, He still took time to rest! I love you! ~Lois

  4. Thank you Lois! Really great points! I love what you wrote about having margin of time. Although most days I have no choice but to multitask and use every moment to do something and still don’t get everything done, I like the idea of having free time to just relax with family or even by myself! (Yea right hahaha)

    Happy new year!

  5. Finishing the to-do list or spending time with the kids…good thoughts, Lois! I also agree with not always going with the good deal if its not really worth my time. I have started shopping online for more things just to avoid going to the store and taking up my valuable time searching for the best deal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Yes ma’am! These days going to store after store takes so long…especially with little people in tow. I shop online whenever possible 😀 ~Lois

  6. Thank you for posting your blog! ‘Venting to my husband’ has been on my heart as well. I want to speak wise words in all circumstances!

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