Every year, we secretly hope and pray that this will be the year that everything will go smoothly, that everything will fall into place exactly so, and the year when we can finally stop to catch our breath.

But for some of us, 2023 wasn’t any of those things. Or maybe, you had a moment to catch your breath before the wind got knocked out of you again. But there is hope in the messy, hard places: You survived your very worst days of 2023. And better yet, you are a stronger, more capable version of yourself.

We all went through our own tests this year—with some of us passing them with flying colors and others of us…well, a passing grade is a passing grade (and you’re here reading this, so you definitely passed). As you take some time to reflect on everything you’ve experienced and grown from this year, here’s what we learned here at Team Parent Cue: 

It is possible to hold grief and joy at the same time. And it is possible to have the volume turned all the way up on both. —Crystal Chiang

Schedule margin, creative space, and spontaneity (yes, I said that) just as you would a meeting/appointment. Sometimes, if it’s not on your calendar, it won’t happen. —Christina Paiva

Parenting young adult children is much harder than “parenting experts” pontificate about, and ten times more rewarding (mathematics may vary). —Stuart Hall

Childhood is a short season. Enjoy the “little ordinary things”—they really are the BIG things. —Terri Jones

Some seasons of life take a little longer to get settled into. But eventually, you can get to a point where you’re good with the season that you’re in; knowing that God is with you, He loves you, and has an expected end for you. —Ricky Wise 

Choose to be kind even if you think you have the right to be mad. —Jeremey Veal

How we hold our beliefs and opinions are almost as important as the beliefs and opinions we hold. —Lauren Sellers

Aging does not equal the nearing proximity to an expiration date. —Ashley Litton

Sometimes, connection with my kids is as simple as sitting on the same level as them. —Leah Jennings

The things that happened to you when you were younger aren’t always just a part of your story. They are sometimes real wounds that need healing. Be brave. Go to counseling. Ask God to heal you. Talk to trusted friends. Do all the things. God wants to heal them.—Tim Walker

Growth is nonlinear—there are peaks and valleys to learning yourself, learning your environment, learning your kid, and learning your partner. And, that deeply personal journey is a lifetime endeavor. —Joanna Easley

In order to step toward your God-ordained destiny, you may have to step away from your self-prescribed security. —Jeremey Veal

Friendships are truly the dessert of the human experience. —Joanna Easley

Sometimes, you just have to let people be wrong on the internet. —Crystal Chiang 

Building trust and relationships is just as important as teaching scripture. For so many of us, learning about a God that we don’t get to tangibly touch and see can be difficult. But when we build relationships with one another, we give someone the chance to see the effect of having Jesus in their life. —Jackie Raihl

Being “confident,” having “conviction,” and being willing to “speak your mind” doesn’t mean what you are confident, convicted, and speaking about is true. —Jon Williams

When God brings you into a new season, please grieve the old one. Celebrate the growth; laugh and cry over the memories; honor the friendships; highlight the lessons; carry into the new season only what belongs. Know that, as with the loss of a person, the waves of grief will come and go as they please. And that’s okay. —Christina Paiva

Some of your deepest grief and heartache can birth within you an unexpected amount of joy. —Leah Jennings

People are people, humans are going to disappoint, mess up, and fail. But God is ALWAYS God. He is the constant and unfailing source of hope, value, love, and trust. —Esther Gray

Loving unconditionally is an internal strength and conditioning practice. I’m realizing it means that you actually change significantly—to be constant in your kindness and care for someone—. Even more than they do. And it feels uncomfortable at first, like overextending acrobatics. But then the practice becomes more like deep stretches, building strength and balance to be at peace no matter how they (or you) continue changing. —Elizabeth Hildreth

The three most powerful words might just be, “Tell me more?”—Christina Paiva

Find hope in your current season that the best chapter of your life is yet to be written. —Ricky Wise

Hope isn’t betrayal to people who didn’t get what they hoped for. Cynicism isn’t bearing witness to people’s pain. Change happens when we are brave enough to be honest about our world and hold onto hope that it can change. —Lauren Sellers