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In the past few days as I have been reflecting on the past year, my heart has been filled with gratitude for the simply beautiful and impactful moments that I have shared with the amazing people that have come into my life.

I have had the honour of sitting with them and listening to their stories, of crying with them as we share in our brokenness together, of laughing with them as we share special moments and create meaningful memories, of seeing them for who they truly are and being fully seen by them.

There have been moments of true and deep connections that reach the core as our spirits connect and we are all better and our lives fuller because of the moments we have shared. When these moments happen, I want to share them, I want to tell others so that they too can be impacted in the same way.

As I reflected more on this, my gratitude turned to guilt. You see, our family is on a journey right now that has been like nothing else we have experienced. When we set out on this journey we promised that we would share stories of the people we meet, that we would communicate regularly to invite our friends on this experience with us so that together we can learn and grow from these experiences.

But something in me has kept me from posting in recent weeks. Something has not allowed me to share stories that I desperately want to share because they have so deeply impacted our lives.

Today I realized why. The realization came from a verse in the Bible where it is talking about the birth of Jesus and all the commotion and excitement that was going on in the stable as the shepherds and others came to see this new King. Mary was in the midst of an incredible moment; a moment where her heart must have been overwhelmed with joy, excitement and gratitude.

What really got me was Mary’s response to this amazing moment in history that she had the honour to be a part of. Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Mary didn’t take a selfie and post it on Instagram, or write on her twitter feed, or post pictures on Facebook and stay glued to her phone while checking how many likes, views or comments she got. Of course, we know she didn’t have these options, but how many times do I get caught up in this instead of simply staying in the moment to pause and ponder and recognize the beauty and majesty of the moments I am given?

What if some of the moments I have the privilege of experiencing are just meant for me to simply be present, to enjoy, to learn, to be challenged, to sit with and to ponder? What if the best gift that I can give to others is a place where they can share their deepest thoughts, struggles, joys and pains and know that they are safe?

Maybe I would do well to spend more time pondering and less time posting; more time being present and less time getting the perfect picture. Because in that moment the best gift I can give to the people I am sitting with is my time, my full attention and my unconditional love.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many who post on social media and inspire me daily. They are purposeful in the way that they use social media to encourage, uplift and inspire. I’m not saying any of this is wrong. For me, I am learning that I function best in one on one or small group settings where we have the chance to talk about deep life experiences and these are most often not moments to post, they are moments to ponder.

So as we look forward to the year to come, we do so with much gratitude for the beautiful people that God has brought into our lives and the many special moments we have shared. We are forever changed and always grateful for the ways that we have grown because of these encounters.

We do look forward to continuing to share stories of our journey, but will be intentional about waiting for the moments that seem right to be shared. And for the moments that are maybe just meant for us to experience, we will ponder and reflect on them because we know they are teaching us valuable life lessons that are shaping us and changing us.

Here are some of the moments we did capture on camera some of the people we met this year. For those that we didn’t get on camera, we have those memories forever in our hearts.

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