I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I prefer to look back over the previous year and note the lessons I’ve learned by God’s grace.
As I look back over 2021, I see God’s faithfulness throughout. There were many changes for our little family (like moving from California to England!). But God was faithful throughout each one.
The smallest change turned out to be the biggest one for me: Aletheia stopped napping in 2021.
Of course, I knew this would happen eventually. After all, adults don’t function with a daily, 3-hour nap. But I didn’t realize it would be a difficult transition. I mean, my blog is named Naptime Theologian for a reason!
It was not difficult for Aletheia. She has loved being awake all day long. It was difficult for me! Those hours while she slept in the afternoon have been the quiet time that I need each day. That’s when I would pull out my Bible and read. When I would read a systematic theology book. When I would type out my blog ideas and plan new posts. And, suddenly in 2021, it was gone.
Having this small shift in my day-to-day routine made me realize how much I depended on those quiet moments with the Lord in order to have a good attitude the rest of the day. When she first started having quiet time instead of a nap, I would fill it with chores, you know, the things that are harder to do when she’s awake. A few weeks in, I had not read my Bible or studied for any significant length of time. No wonder I was upset about life and looking for joy elsewhere… I wasn’t taking the time to find it in the Bible, in Christ!
So, I had to really shift my quiet times around this year and that was good for me. One of my first blog posts I wrote was about prioritizing time with God, read it here. That mindset kicked in again and I was encouraged by how God changes my attitude with His Word and it renewed my thinking about quiet time. It doesn’t have to be “quiet” or at a certain time every day, it just needs to happen.
The biggest change turned into the smallest one: moving to England.
In the days leading up to 2021 I was sure the transition to England would be really difficult. And, while there have been a few days where I’m overwhelmed with all the new things and longing to scrunch my toes through the Malibu sand, moving to England has not been hard.
Of course, this is only through God’s grace. He has provided wonderful community in our church. I have friends that live close-by with children the same age, perfect for play dates! God also provided two homes for us to live in. Though we weren’t planning to move within England, our new home has proved to be a prime location for my husband’s studies and for my adventure with Aletheia.
We have really enjoyed living in England. Sure, it’s different than America, but it’s great.
The most unexpected change became the best: riding my bike everywhere.
I can’t reflect on 2021 without mentioning my bike (maybe I should’ve named it by now!). But this has been the most unexpected change in our move to England. We decided early on last year that having and riding a bike was more efficient for me than a car. Parking in Oxford can be very difficult and insurance is expensive, not to mention driving stick shift (which I don’t know how to do) and on the other side of the road! So, we purchased a bike early in 2021 as a result of that decision.
Let me tell you, I was NOT excited about riding a bike everywhere. It was cold, windy, rainy, and overall not ideal biking conditions. But, of course, God changed my heart (thankfully!) and now I actually love riding my bike around Oxford. Aletheia happily rides in the trailer that I pull (don’t worry, we bring a blanket and rain cover for the weather) and I get a good amount of exercise while we are adventuring around Oxford.
Honestly, I think the quiet time that I have on the bike is the biggest blessing. Because I have to be alert while riding, listening and looking, I don’t listen to music or podcasts or anything. It is just quiet. Occasionally at a red light I’ll turn around and ask Aletheia if she is okay. But apart from that, it’s quiet. Just me and my thoughts and/or prayers. Maybe God has given me this “quiet time” on my bike to replace some of the nap time I lost before. Only He knows.
I look forward to riding more often in 2022 and using that time to think through my days, processing God’s faithfulness and work in my life.
I hope that these lessons I’ve learned have been encouraging to you. I realize they’re pretty personal and may not reflect what your 2021 looked like, but be encouraged that God who was faithful to me in 2021 was also faithful to you. His grace and mercies are new each and every morning, not just January 1.