As 2016 comes to a close, Lyssah & I sit down and reflect on the year that was…
When you think back on 2016, what immediately comes to mind?
CF: There are two answers to this question: The first and most obvious is Caeden. His arrival into the world was by far the greatest moment of the year. The second and not as obvious is the word, ‘horizon’, as in there’s much change on the horizon. In short, I believe the events of 2016 were foundation-laying for the season to come.
LF: The first thing I think about is Caeden being born. That moment set the stage for 2016 as a whole given the year of laboring it’s been. In previous years, certain things came easy. This year everything has had a learning curve. Everything from pushing through the pain and discomfort of labor to pushing through my work when I really wanted to be home with Caeden, pushing through and learning new skills that have enabled me to be start my own side business, pushing through church/bivocational challenges, etc. Basically, there’s been a whole lot of pushing this year.
What were some of the highlights/defining moments?
CF: When I consider the year’s defining moments, I can’t help but think 2016 was really two years in one. As mentioned, the highlight of all ‘Fry-lights’ (sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 was January 7 when Caeden was born. Progressing chronologically, I’d say Winter Storm Jonas (January 22), moving into our new home (February 27), the Messenger Fellowship Summit in Orlando (March 14-16), the #LoveAkron Tour (June 22-26), #LoveMexico (July 15-24), our west coast adventures (September 10-17), and completing my first devotional all rank up there. After a grounded 2015, we definitely got away a lot more this year. Pretty remarkable considering we became new parents only a week into the new year…
LF: Not to sound like a broken record, but our son being born…and finding out I’m stronger than I once thought through the labor process. I feel like I definitely reached the end of myself in August and the Lord was very faithful to give me greater strength to keep going. I feel like landing my first virtual assistant client was pretty defining as well…not to mention reaching the three and five year marks in our marriage and ministry together respectively. I guess a lot of things hit a culmination point this year.
How would you compare this year of marriage to the first few?
CF: I definitely think major life changes have compelled us to be more proactive in being on the same page emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. While I was tempted to post this under ‘highlights’, I’d say the relational high point of 2016 was the overall sense of struggling and thriving together. As amplified as 2015 was, 2016 was even more challenging in the sense the highs felt higher and the lows felt lower. Yet, all in all, what we experienced this year was in large part a continuation of what we experienced in 2015 with God tightening us together through stretching.
LF: I think some stuff has been easier and some stuff has been harder because now there’s a whole new dynamic. We’re not just married; we’re married parents. So we’ve had to be much more intentional staying connected.
What lesson from 2016 are you eager to apply in 2017?
CF: A couple lessons stand out. First off, even in the darkest trials, God’s voice is just as clear if we choose to press into him. Second, God’s grace is often the change he initiates outside our control. Thirdly, success isn’t a measurable concept. As Winston Churchill once said, “success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” And it’s this courage when applied to prayer that enables us to persevere to the next level.
LF: I’d say not trying to be the one to take care of everything. I have a natural proclivity to independence and trying to take care of myself. But now as a wife and mom, I’ve learned I need to lay that burden down since there’s so much outside my control. I have to allow myself be free from feeling like I’m responsible for everybody and everything.
What do you hope you’ll be saying at this time next year?
CF: For some reason, that’s a hard one this go-around. I imagine some derivative of: “We made it through and we didn’t quit.”
LF: “We’ve made it! We’re debt-free! I’m home with my son and able to support my husband the way I Want to. We’re free!”