If we're lucky, with each year that passes we witness positive growth within ourselves and our families. Children grow, jobs are gained or lost, finances are tight or tighter, but the one thing that remains certain is that we're all on this journey together.
As I reflect on a year that passed much too quickly, I remain both thankful and humbled by what this year has given my family - faith.
You see, a lot of people think that faith is one of those things that comes about from intense tribulation. Something that's born or exercised out of a place of desperation. I'm happy to say that my family's step into the faith was far less dramatic.
We decided to start going to church as a family last August when something in my 10-year-old son's heart told him that it was something we needed do. This, coming from a kid who'd rather get a root canal than sacrifice even a moment of his weekend gaming. Friends, I never expected what happened next. We began to look outside of ourselves as individuals and into our faith as family. No amount of fancy family vacations, extravagant Christmas gifts or personal yearning could ever transform my family in 2012 the way God has.
We're new believers just beginning our journey of faith, but the process of talking faith-filled steps together has changed us in ways not easily put into words.
We're kinder, more patient, selfless - and not only with each other.
Every family holds principles they hold dear, striving to make their family a team. I've written countless articles, participated in numerous research studies, and read what feels like dozens of books on developing and strengthening the family bond. Friends, no amount of education or practical application of research findings can take the place of a family who shares a common vision rooted in love.
I can't tell you what your vision for your family is or whether religion is the answer for you and your family. All I can do is share what religious faith has given mine.
For the first time in my decade as a parent, I feel hopeful for the state of my family's future. I'm no longer riddled with the crippling self-doubt of not being good enough, present enough, or worthy enough to handle this job. I'm honored by the opportunity to not only be a part of my amazing family, but to help lead my young people as an example of faith and gratitude.
Yes, hard times will come - they always do, but for the first time I know in my heart that we can handle them together.
Friends, I wish for you and yours a year filled with blessings, hope, and a shared vision rooted in love.
Mommyfriend goes by Lori Garcia in real life and is a Shine Parenting Guru. She writes at www.mommyfriend.com where she's busy finding perfection in imperfection daily. When she's not watching infomercials she's an editor for GalTime, blogger for Babble's Kid Scoop, and one of the sexy founders of Project Marriage.