Wet. Fuzzy. Socks. Those three words describe my 2019. I love fuzzy socks especially in the winter time. The feeling of warm fuzziness wrapping itself around my feet like a tiny blanket is divine. I long to wear them each chilly season until the warmer days come and start making my feet sweat so bad, they slip themselves off during the midnight hours.
Having wet and fuzzy socks is just horrible! Those who know me fully understand that this is a huge pet peeve. I abhor the thought altogether. The words wet and fuzzy, in my mind, are oxymoronic. They don’t go together at all. It sends me to a place of discomfort and disgust.
Fuzzy socks, in a tangible way, bring me comfort and joy in the same sense as all the possibilities of a brand new year. I love looking ahead, praying and thinking about a new year. I love dreaming of all the possibilities and opportunities that may come. But if I am honest, 2019 was a year that was filled with many moments that felt more like I had been walking around in wet, fuzzy socks all day.
Stepping in your kid’s random milk puddles, or having excess water accidentally splattered on your feet are unpredictable moments that you cannot strategize or prepare for. It just happens. I know for some wet socks aren’t even a thing, but maybe it was something else that caught you off guard this year. Sometimes we need time to just stop, take the wet socks off, and try again. The truth is, we have all experienced seasons that differ from what we had in mind and have often felt like we’ve been walking around with wet socks.
Maybe for 2019, the hardships kept coming and your marriage took a hit. Let’s be honest, we all encounter those non-preferred wet sock seasons of life. It’s okay to stop or even just slow down to reflect on those moments that may have brought strains in communication or togetherness with our loved ones, instead of barreling ahead as if our troubles don’t exist. I’ve been guilty of both.
I want to take a moment to share a few things we’ve learned as a couple for 2019 and things we desire to do better in 2020. My husband and I have had quite the year. Normally in hard seasons my tendency is to look so far ahead as an escape, that I don’t even make room for retrospection. This year we’ve spent more time reflecting on the past in order for us to see how the dark times pale in comparison to the goodness and faithfulness of God in our lives. I know people tend to say don’t live in the past because it often stops us from being present or looking toward the future, but for us, reflecting on the hard times has given us a deeper faith and has even drawn us closer to each other. God has been the very anchor of our souls even though the waves have been a little too high and the waters deeper than before.
Being retrospective is a great conversation starter versus rehashing the funny but yet ridiculous things that can come out of your children’s mouths sometimes to pass time. This provides an intentional opportunity to take the focus off the kids for a moment and go head-first into recounting the ways God has been good to you this past year. Go ahead, look back together and start counting His blessings!
Secondly, in 2019 my husband and I did better at dating each other and putting forth effort in planning dates. And guess what? We made many new memories together. He joined me in a pedicure for the first time, meaning his toes were actually in the water physically not just figuratively. We biked and hiked together and even watched a handful of movies during the day while the kids were all at school. One time, we chose to order in and catch up on our favorite Netflix show. We choose a day that works best for both of us and work hard on keeping that day open. Also, if there were days we’d prefer to spend time alone, we’d go our separate ways to enjoy that time alone and come back refreshed and ready to re-engage. Here is some friendly advice: Try new things together. Get out of your comfort zone and think of the things you know would bring a smile to the face of the one you love.
Lastly, this year has taught us the importance of what it means to uplift each other. Five years ago, I faced a diagnosis that put me on my heels. Initially it was hard, but it was the steadfastness of God that carried me through each wave of emotion, along with my husband reminding me that he was in the ring fighting the disease with me. This year we faced a new diagnosis together. It has not only challenged both of us, but it brought to the surface areas in our hearts that we needed to surrender to God. For me it was feelings of fear, control, and ignorance that kept me from uplifting my husband on the days he needed it the most. I started realizing I was more focused on myself and my weaknesses instead of just simply getting in the trenches to be with him in his fight. Listen, it shouldn’t take a diagnosis to compel us to be more uplifting. Uplifting the spirit of my spouse in various ways is good medicine for the soul. From Scriptures, love notes, voice notes, funny videos, surprising him with his favorite cereal or snack, or even just seizing the opportunity to pray over him are ways I was challenged to move into action this past year.
Even though 2019 brought many trials and lessons we each had to endure and learn from, I am thankful that God has entrusted us to carry the responsibility of nurturing one another’s hearts in the good times and in the bad times. I am often reminded that Jesus meets us, even at our lowest point. Paul reminds us in Romans that we all fall short. We all struggle. Each of us have frailties. Remember that and remind each other to hold on to Jesus even tighter. Even though we will still love each other imperfectly, thank goodness we are loved perfectly by a perfect God who will see us through.
I think I’ve found three words to start off our 2020: Retrospect. Date. Uplift.
What three words would you use to summarize your 2019? What words are you starting 2020 with?
Elicia Horton is currently serving alongside her husband, D.A. Horton, in Long Beach, California, as church planters. They have been married 16 years and have known each other since they were 7 and 9 years old. She is the mother of 3, a former homeschool mom, author, basketball coach, Bible teacher, conference speaker, and writer. She has received both her M.S. in Religious studies & M.S. in Organizational Development from Calvary Bible College & Theological Seminary. She co-authored her first book with her husband titled Enter the Ring released in 2018. She and D.A. serve as marriage coaches for Lifeway’s Woo Marriage series and Elicia, along with many Christian women of color, contributed to an exposition on Psalms 119 titled, His Testimonies, My Heritage, which was released in September.