1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. Job 22:21 Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. In so many ways, the song is accurate… Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s the celebration of our Savior’s birth, after all! It’s chock full of family, traditions, food, parties, gifts and good cheer. Maybe that’s exactly the problem… it’s overflowing with fullness, and the very need to replicate favorite family traditions (and promptly document them on Facebook and Instagram, of course!). Frankly, it’ll drive any woman crazy. This Christmas was a challenge for my spirit, personally. With five adults and 1 almost-adult under one roof, admittedly, tensions ran high at times, and I found myself losing my joy amid kids bickering, too many to-dos, not enough time and a calendar full of obligations. I found myself operating from an empty emotional fuel tank, and feeling the effects. Several days after Christmas, we hosted a party for some of our closest friends and neighbors. When the team arrived to assemble the tent in our backyard, they did it in a deluge (we’ve been experiencing the days of Noah here in Charlotte for the last few weeks) with more rain in the forecast for the oyster roast the next day. I realized I needed to examine my heart, and I walked under the tent to reflect on the events of the holidays. And something inside me broke. I finally let my heart listen closely to what God was saying, and I heard Him whispering, “just surrender to me, Anne.” I spent time repenting for spending Christmas so focused on the tasks that I had missed the meaning and stripped away the joy. When I hurry so quickly from thing to thing, I position myself as pace-setter, goal achiever, life planner instead of submitting that role to God. I need time to place myself back where I belong – in submission to the Lord, to reposition myself into a posture of surrender. During my time with God under the tent, I also sneaked in a prayer for no rain for the party. That evening the clouds broke, and we enjoyed an oyster roast free of rain. The following morning I woke up to another day of potential downpour, and I smiled to myself that God had given me that raindrop free night to enjoy. As we enter 2016, my constant prayer and focus will be for surrender. Personally, I want to maintain that posture of surrender at the feet of the Lord to guide my home, my faith, my kids and my marriage. And for my business, our team is prayerfully surrendering to the plans God has for our Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery and our Anne Neilson Home line. Only by surrendering to Him and shedding our own plans and pride, can we enter this year prepared to walk the path that God has planned for us. Happy new year, friends!