2018 was a pretty big year for us. If you have been following our podcast for any significant amount of time, you have heard some of our toughest challenges and some of our favorite moments. We’ve had some pretty big hits, but we’ve also had some pretty exciting things happen as well.
In this week’s episode, Cody and I talked reminisced over this past year. One of the things we mention in this episode is the specific word we had for 2018. Every new year, Cody receives a new word from God that seems to reflect how that year is going to be. This year, his word was “cultivate”. I remember laying down with Cody and discussing what this year was going to look like. We were both trying to figure just what cultivate meant for us. The word cultivate isn’t even a word we frequently use so we had to literally look up the definition.
prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.i.e. “till, plow, dig, fertilize”
Honestly, we were a little taken aback after reading the definition. What did it mean to “dig up and till the ground”? We simply could not think of how the word “cultivate” as going to play out for 2018. We were excited because we thought this meant the growth of new things. However, little did we know that God was literally telling us that He was going to uproot us, dig up our roots, and till our foundation.
January seemed to be an easy month for us, as the start of a new year typically is. We had little expectation with 2018 because we didn’t know how the word “cultivate” was going to play out for this year. However, due to some unforeseeable events, the first week of January was a crazy start for us.
We were forced to leave our Church due to some negative circumstances. This actually had been something Cody and I had been praying about for a while. However, I think there were a couple of things that gave us clearance on what needed to be done. I know it hit hard for Cody since he had poured 8 years into the ministry there. So, in 2018, we got off on the wrong foot. February was also a pretty weird month for Cody and I. We experienced some emotional turmoil and grief due to family problems. We were forced to have to take a mental break from some family members in order to find some peace.
The early months of March, April, and May seemed pretty easy going though. We had just seen one of our favorite bands that decided to add our city last minute on their tour. We were in preparation for the new ball season. I was finishing up the final semester of my undergrad career and graduated with my Psychology degree. But still, we couldn’t shake the idea of what cultivation meant for us. Maybe it meant the Spring season and the new experiences blossoming?
June was probably one of the worst months of our lives. The first day of June, I was sent to the hospital with severe health problems. If you heard the episode about my week-long stay at the hospital, you know it was a really rough time for both Cody and I. We both faced some serious anxiety and depression as the doctors were unable to find out what was wrong with me. After finally being able to go home, I still had a long month of having to rest. I wasn’t able to go to work or lift things properly so it took a toll on me mentally. There was also a bit of tension between my parents and Cody and I following the hospital stay so it had been a rough month in general.
If June was one of the worst months of our lives, July was a close second. This was the month that Cody’s mother had passed away.
As a child, the idea of surviving your parents is always in the back of your mind, but nothing can help you prepare for an unexpected death. I think the hardest part about the whole thing was that in regards to the situation, we never truly knew when it was going to happen. It was really hard to process the whole situation, especially knowing that the last few conversations were met with resistance and anger. The way things had played out that month was very rough and it is very hard knowing that some of the situations could have been prevented.
However, I don’t think we had ever felt the amount of love and emotional support from friends and family we had until that time. We were met with so many friends and family who wanted to help out. It almost seemed overwhelming at times. Just having friends and family surrounding us helped tremendously. We also know that so many people knew and loved Cody’s mom as well. It may have been a hard situation, but we didn’t have to go through it alone.
A couple of months following were pretty rough for us as well. We had to endure a lot of family drama based on the previous month’s events. There had been so much heartache, guilt, shame, and misunderstanding from different sides of the family. The only great thing that happened was that Cody and I were able to buy a brand new car. But I honestly don’t recall a lot of what happened in those couple of months other than simply existing.
Come October though, things had definitely settled down. We felt like the latter half of this year was finally starting to make a turn. It has only been uphill since. Of course, I think it helps that October through January is our favorite time of the year. Though we had to change a few things around, we were able to fully enjoy the start of the holiday season. I was even able to see my favorite band live so I think that was a major highlight of the fall season. Though there is still some tension in the family, we were still able to celebrate Thanksgiving and enjoy each other’s company. Cody and I were able to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary on a weekend trip. It felt nice to be able to sit back and reflect on 2018.
And now, as I am writing this blog post, it is the day after Christmas. Honestly, we had a really great Christmas as were surrounded by family and friends. This holiday season has been full of belly laughs, copious amounts of candy and cookies and really good food. We are also about to take a mini-vacation and travel to Chicago to ring in the New Year. What more could you ask for?
Though we are excited for this new year, we are praying and expecting a year of growth. We thought 2018 was going to be a year of growth. However, you can’t bloom before you are planted. God seriously tilled and dug up our roots. But I think it was all part of His major plan. I think the cultivation process allows us to trust in God more than we trust in ourselves. We obviously have no idea what we are doing. And life has a great way of turning the tables on you when you least expect it. However, without God’s guidance, I don’t know how we would have gotten through this year.
As I write this, I know that no matter what happens, God is always with us everywhere we go. Though we are praying for a year of growth and positive experiences, we are also trusting God. We trust God that even if this next year is a bust, we will still follow Him.
Cultivation isn’t so bad when you know that God is your firm foundation.