4 In Faith/ Seasonal Sketches

2017 Year of Remembering

I have been naming my years for seven years now because of a quote I read once by Ann Voskamp:
“I name years like I’ve named babies because each one births a different life that needs to be raised up and remembered.”
2012 – Year of Moments
2013 – Year of Connection
2014 – Year of Celebration
2015 – Year of Contentment
2016 – Year of Delightful Courage
But even before that, ever since I was a little girl, my years have taken on a theme. You see, each year my parents would invite us to give a gift to the Savior. We would write it down on a little note card and place it in a gift box under the tree. It was the last gift we opened on Christmas morning, and always the most memorable.

I have continued this tradition in my own little family and each year we also write down a gift to the Savior on little note cards and then determine to live out these gifts during the year.

And so, for me, my Christmas gift to the Savior becomes the theme for my upcoming year and the foundation for all of my goals.

And this year, upon this bright white canvas of 2017, I wish to give the gift of remembering. Remembering all that my Savior has done for me. Remembering how far I’ve come on this life’s journey, and remembering all of the lessons I’ve learned.

I have lists of lofty goals for this year, but the ones that are most important all revolve around “remembering:”
  • Remember by reading all of my past journals and blogs {my journals are extensive and I can’t wait to see how far I’ve come as I read back through the pages of who I once was and how the Lord blessed me}
  • Remember by sorting through and organizing our photo library {this will be a staggering project, but so freeing}
  • Remember by creating more family memory movies {which are compilations of video footage I shoot with my phone, edit, cut, and put together to music…we love to watch them on New Year’s Eve.}
  • Remember those who have blessed my life and thank them in some small way

It is good for the heart to reflect. It is good for the soul to ponder on the past in gratitude – because it is only in looking back that we most easily see the hand of the Lord – and how He has always been there right by our side. I haven’t always known this lesson. There was a time, a few years back, when I wondered if the heavens were shut to me. I was walking through the furnace of affliction, and I couldn’t understand why I felt so alone. Where was my Savior when I needed Him most?

About this time, my sweet mother gave me a painting for my birthday; she was inspired. It was one I had admired in her home, and longed to look upon every day in my own small apartment. Christ Walking on the Waters, by Julius Sergius von Klever, was the answer I was seeking.
Many a day I gazed at this painting, basking in the spirit I felt when I contemplated this great New Testament story of Peter walking on the water to meet His Savior. And then one day, I happened upon a blog that was playing a song. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to these words:
Walk out on the water
Where you have no control
Scared to death of failure
Sacrifice your soul, please let that go’Cause you have climbed an uphill road
You have worn a heavy load
You have cried through endless nights
Nearly given up the fight
Watch your dreams like fallen stars
Heartache made you who you are
Looking back you see that I have always been there’Cause I am on your side
Though the wind and waves
Beat against your faith
And you were on my mind
When the world was made
Trust in me my child,
Trust in me my child
(~excerpt from I Will Show You Love, by Kendall Payne)

And at that moment I knew without a doubt that one day I would look back and see that He had always been there. This was a pivotal point in my life. It deepened my faith in the Savior and gave me a reason to hope. And thus, these years later, I want to practice the art of remembering. This year, I want to go within the stillness of my heart to the dormant parts of my memory, back to the stormy waves I’ve crossed — so I can see my Savior walking by my side.

“Therefore, hold on thy way…thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do…for God shall stand by thee forever and ever.” {D&C 122:4,9}

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  • Deborah
    January 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    In the spirit of remembering, I want to tell you now (before life gets in the way and I forget) what an incredible inspiration you are. This weekend as I nourished my winter cold with lots of rest, soup, and herbal tea, I nourished my soul by reading your blog from beginning to end. It was exactly what I needed at this time in my life…. and even though my children are grown and the rhythms of our days my be entirely different, I feel encouraged, uplifted, inspired and moved. Thank you for sharing your light!

    • Jamie Johnson
      January 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Oh Deborah, you have no idea how much your comment means to me!! I hope your winter cold is improving! How wonderful that you were able to take some time for self-care this weekend. I’m so grateful that you found my posts encouraging. Thank you for sharing your light with me this day. Sending you hugs and lots of smiles!! Thank you for reaching out and connecting with me!

  • Deborah
    January 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Also, I tried to subscribe but it’s telling me that my email address isn’t valid.

    • Jamie Johnson
      January 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I am working on trying to get you subscribed manually. I’m not sure why it’s not working for you!! I will keep working on it! 😉