As I thought ahead about the words left on my heart to share during my first year of blogging, I knew I wanted to save space for thinking ahead to my one word resolution for 2023. I have embraced the “one word resolution” philosophy since the end of 2013. If you want to check out last year’s blog, so you can explore the backstory on the “one word resolution” process, here’s the link.
The funny thing though, is this year, instead of moving on to my word for 2023, the Lord kept stirring my soul to think of what word would best characterize 2022. I can be a bit stubborn at times, so when I first felt that gentle nudge to look back and summarize the season with one word, I thought, “I already chose the word for 2022. It was ‘write.’ I have written almost one blog post a week for the year.”
Then, as my stubbornness faded, I opened my mind to the possibility of pausing to look back instead of always looking forward as a new year approaches. I realized that the Lord had written my word for 2022 throughout the days, weeks, and months of the past year: “healing.” Through writing weekly blog posts, without realizing it, I documented the many ways the Lord has healed our family this year.
Healing Central Nervous Systems
When I thought about the possibilities of 2022, I had no idea the high-highs and low-lows we would experience this year. Sensory Processing challenges were a brand new concept for us as a family, and although we knew our child’s central nervous system wasn’t receiving and integrating his senses efficiently or correctly, we didn’t know how to help make his neural pathways straight.
I never dreamed that as I wrote “If You Give a Child a Flair Pen: Blogpost #12,” that later this year our child would have met all but one of his OT goals, and we would be able to set bigger goals for him. Instead of going to OT twice a week, now he only goes every other week. Instead of avoiding music, now our sweet boy sings all the time! A few weeks ago when we were getting ready to sing “Happy Birthday” to our nephew Kam, we heard our sweet boy starting to sing all by himself. My grandma even commented, “Who is that singing? He is right on pitch!” I hope I never experience a day without hearing him sing.
The Lord has taught us so many things through walking this sensory journey, and it has changed us in challenging, but also beautiful, healing ways. We are all more aware of the internal signals that our bodies send us throughout the day. Instead of ignoring or stuffing down our big emotions or the signals that make us want to move in to fight, flight, or freeze, we are learning to lean into what our bodies need to flourish. We see these neural signals as triggers, but not dictators. These sensations no longer define us; they help us notice our needs and choose healthy ways to respond to what our bodies need to thrive. This sensory journey hasn’t been easy. However the worthwhile things in life are worth traveling through the valleys, so we can experience the mountain top views.
Experiencing My Own Needed Nerve Healing
In August of 2021, when Nathan and I made the decision to move back to our hometown, we thought the move would allow us to be physically present for our families as several experienced health scares that month. We didn’t want to be a phone call away when our families needed us; we longed to be right down the road, so we could be there for them in a few minutes instead of a few hours. Thinking through this possibility, I never dreamed that I would be the one facing my own health challenges requiring back surgery. I thought this move would allow us to be there for our parents, but it turns out that we needed to be here, so that our parents could take care of me.
Although I learned so many things about our central nervous systems through learning how to support our sweet boy, I never thought I would have my own nerves and neurons that would need fixing, too. The nerves in my back, legs, and foot sent all sorts of mixed messages and needed to be fixed in order to be healed. Before this year, I had no idea how important our central nervous systems were to our daily lives. This season has taught us the value of early intervention and trained medical experts whether you are 4 or 37.
This Is What Healing Looks Like
The moment that cinched the word “healing” to characterize 2022 for us came when I posted a picture of us last week before we went to our church’s Christmas program. I noticed that several friends commented on what a good picture it was. Why was this such a good picture when it was a simple indoor photograph taken by an iPhone? This wasn’t a professional photograph with a specially curated scene.
Deep down, I know this was a great family picture because if you look closely, you will see the look on each of our faces is one of healing.
Being with extended family and getting to do everyday life authentically together has been healing for our souls. In this picture you see 6 people who have all stretched beyond their comfort zones this past year and tried new things we didn’t imagine that we ever would try. You see 6 people who are growing deep roots in a community we didn’t think we could get the opportunity to be a part of more than our once a month visits.
Healing may not be the easiest path to take, but healing is the path that brings deep joy. I’m thankful that the author of our life stories knew exactly why and when He would lead our families back home, so we could all experience our own unique journeys of healing.
Friend, I wonder what word you might use to be the theme of 2022 as you look back on your year? For me, my resolution to show up and “write” taught me that writing can be healing for the soul. These 44 blog posts are each stones of remembrance to guide me when I doubt or need encouragement for the next season of life.
Sometimes looking back can be a beautiful launching point for the new year. Maybe the “reverse one word resolution” will be a new end of year reflection for me. Taking the word that the Lord impressed on my heart at the beginning of the year, and then seeing how He moved in even more beautiful ways than I Imagined that it could be by the end of the year. Until tomorrow, enjoy those last days of 2022. 2023 will be here soon enough. There is beauty in slowing down before starting anew.