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Reflection

by Allison Martin, Anita Miles, Brittney Chan, Shayla Asselin


What was your favorite memory of 2022?

Anita: I have so many amazing memories from this year… but my favorite was probably the night we drove up after the framers had left and there were stud walls standing up at our new house. Watching the wonder of my little boy's eyes of what was happening and the feeling of dreams becoming reality were pretty indescribable!


Allison: Two things come immediately to mind! The first memory was the Alaskan cruise we were able to take with my parents! An Alaskan cruise was a longtime dream of ours, and getting to experience it with my parents was even more meaningful. We had excitement right from the beginning, when we almost missed our boat- but that’s another story! (Please be advised that while a one year old may not have to have a passport to get on a cruise ship, they DO have to have one to fly into Canada. Oops!)


The other memory is of the Wednesday night service of our youth camp. I can’t even describe what my heart felt to see so many of the young people I have loved and tried to pour into, getting an experience with God for themselves. I truly watched God do the impossible, and I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life.


What was a goal you achieved?

Anita: Our family has had a YEARS long desire to move out of Savannah and back into a more rural area with a little more tranquility than Savannah offers. Late last year, we purchased a 7 acre lot that would allow us to do that. It included beautiful old live oaks with moss and the historic Savannah feel without the noise, crime, and traffic. The adjoining 3 acres belong to my brother in law and sister in law (which makes me very happy)! So technically we all have 10 acres of shared peace and quiet.


In February we began construction on our dreams that started on a piece of graph paper. We created a house plan that worked for our family - taking into consideration the 10 year gap between our 16 year old daughter and 6 year old son. It’s been an unbelievable experience watching those dreams come to life. Lots of blood, sweat and tears involved - but pure joy as well! This New Years Eve we got to usher 2023 in on my big front porch lined with friends and family. My heart was so full!


Brittney: I asked myself some hard questions at the beginning of 2022 and the answers I came up with directed me to the path I’m on right now. I feel like there are things in life that are beyond my complete control and being single provides a unique - sometimes challenging - opportunity when it comes to mapping out the future. It’s important to live intentionally; with purpose. So that’s what I tried to do. Last year, I wanted to absolve small debts and set myself up to be financially ready to start graduate school. I’m thankful that I was able to follow through with those goals. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the support and counsel of my friends and family.


Who inspired your life the most and why?

Anita: I simply cannot narrow this down to one person.


My parents were ministry minded and incredibly compassionate people from before I can remember. They laid a wonderful foundation for me to love Jesus and people.


Professionally, from the time I was a very young girl (12-13 years old), I wanted to be a Registered Nurse just like Lana Holden. She was hands down my greatest inspiration in what I do every day. I still have a gray ribbon on my desk that I wore every day during her battle with brain cancer. I think of her every time I sit at my desk. But every day that I clock in, a piece of her clocks in with me.


Past that, I’ve always been relationally driven. God has blessed me to have had some of the most wonderful, beautiful, and powerful mentors, teachers, and friends who have inspired me beyond words and poured endlessly into my life through the years. They have each contributed to my growth in different areas and successes I have had. I’ve picked their brains and sought counsel until they were probably ready to wring my neck at times. I wish I had the time and space to tell you about the players that have helped shape me. My heart is filled with gratitude for them.


What is one of your goals for the upcoming year?

Anita: One of my goals for 2023 is to be more intentional in contributing meaningfully to the relationships in my life. That also means being a better listener without only the motive of answering…


Shayla: I love reading but over the past couple of years I rarely set aside time to dive into a great book. So this year, my goal is to read at least one a chapter a day. My first book of the year, the one I'm reading right now, is Atomic Habits. So far, I'm loving it and would definitely recommend it. The main idea behind the book is that we do not rise to the level of our goals but rather we fall (or rise) to the level of our systems. One of the quotes that have really stood out is that "Winners and losers have the same goals. We concentrate on the people who end up winning—the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed." We assume that it was the big goals that helped winners succeed, but in reality it was the systems they established and the discipline they exhibited that helped them reach their goals.


Do you have a word for the year?


Anita: My word for the year is “Discipline.”


2022 was an incredibly challenging year for my family. Jeremy and I spent the first half working our regular jobs during the day and then working on our house during any spare minutes we had in between. We did most of the finishing work ourselves. Lots of late nights working and lots of sleep lost. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day to get stuff done. Not to mention kids to feed, keeping up with church life, school life, and whatever else that I can’t think of adding to the list right now. Many things got neglected. Email inboxes overflowed. Nothing in my life felt like it was organized and it created a sense of inner chaos for me and was exhausting. Physically and mentally I wanted / needed / craved to stop, breathe deep and set everything back in order every time I turned around - but there simply wasn’t time for that. There were deadlines to meet and obligations to be fulfilled.


The second half was spent trying to get settled again and finish the odd jobs that we couldn’t finish before we had to move in.

With all of that in mind - my goal is to hit the reset button really hard, declutter my entire life and recreate the order that I have longed for. I desire to have less to do, rather than having more time to do what needs to be done. My biggest goal for the year is to be intentional in the “discipline” it takes to fulfill that order in my life.


Shayla: "Rest" is my word for the year. Now I'm not talking about taking more naps or being lazy. But I am talking about taking time to really enjoy the present. Taking time to slow down and let my daughter Adalyn's imagination lead us on a wild adventure during the day. Setting aside time to go on walks around the neighborhood with my family, or cozying up on the couch with a good book, soft blanket, and a warm candle. The Bible tells us often that God gives us exactly what we need for each day. Sometimes, I feel like I "exhaust" God's daily grace and provisions by trying to fit entirely too much stuff into one day. So this year I want to procrastinate less, prepare more, and make room for moments of "rest" in each day.


Brittney: I follow Morgan Harper Nichols because I love her artistic and inspirational content. She posted a reel of meaningful words the other day with instructions to take a screenshot at a random moment. Sort of superstitious, right? I know. But I was interested, so I did it. The word I snapped was “loosen” with the description of “releasing from restraint.” At first, I thought about writing this off. It didn’t seem pertinent to me at the time. But regardless of how happen chance it feels, I can’t really seem to shake it. I’ve been prayerfully reflecting on some parts of my life where I need to loosen my grip of control. If you didn’t pick up on it from the first question I answered, I like to have all of my little duckies in a row. Truthfully, it makes me nauseous to think about taking my hands off these areas, but maybe there’s a lesson for me here. Maybe my attempts at control work in direct opposition of my attempts to trust God. I’m not sure what the objective is, but I’m here for it.


Allison: If I could put my outlook on this year into a few words, it would be “The Process”. My theme for the year is becoming a woman of God. I’ve read about them, watched them, learned from them- but how do I become like them? And I don’t mean to become a carbon copy of any one person! But how can I see the passion and anointing that defines their life, become a defining factor in my own? I’ve talked to enough of these women to know that becoming a woman of God is a process. This year, I want to allow any challenges, transitions, or trials I face to be the making of a better Allison. Whatever 2023 may hold, I want to let it shape me into who God has called me to be.

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