This has been an interesting year to say the least…lots of unexpecteds–some good, some hard, all purposed.
1. The truth and the focus of the gospel EVERYDAY as our hope and purpose. This has been the greatest theme of the year through readings, sermons, conversations, ministry, etc. My life continues to be transformed daily as I learn to preach the gospel to myself daily instead of thinking God has saved me and now I have to prove myself to him. It is all by the grace of his gospel–the righteous life and death of Christ and the forgiveness and freedom that I LIVE in in him. His cross and the truth of God’s word have been elevated as I am learning to fall on his mercies everyday. Worship has been more rich and hope continues to be fresh as he is glorified mightily.
2. Greg’s diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in March. Who knew that in our 30’s we would be given a diagnosis that is life-long, life changing, and challenging? The rest of this year has been filled with learning to pace life, draw boundaries,love in new ways, and readjust our expectations. We have seen God’s provision and faithfulness so much in the midst of this (from medicine to strength to communication to emotional strength and spiritual rest), and we know that he continues to be faithful. Forever Greg will make the joke that he has the “woman’s disease.” You cannot get through hard times with Greg without a joke.
3. Jen’s starting a non-profit ministry–Women’s Discipleship Concepts. God is always stretching and growing us, and this is definitely that. The whole start-up has been a faith journey that was unexpected, and it continues. Again, God has shown his faithfulness in bringing a board, finances, legal help, women with hearts for growing, learning and serving, and opportunities for service. What I looked at and thought was impossible is growing to fruition.
4. Dealing with fertility issues. Millions of couples deal with some issue of fertility in life. The most common question that we get asked (or rather is asked about us) right now is about children. “Why don’t you/they have any?” “Are they selfish or having issues?” I have always kind of been different, but it is kind of weird for everyone around us our age (33, 38) to have started or completed their families. We, as humans, naturally identify with people in similar circumstances or situations in life, so having no children is something that tends to isolate you from peers naturally. Because of the medicine Greg had to take at first, we were told that it might be impossible to try to conceive (we had been trying prior). A few months into treatment, the medicine was changed and miraculously God provided a very expensive medicine for a year. We then went to the infertility specialist to try to conceive during the window of time we were provided with this medicine. In the midst, we found out that I have some fertility issues. So, we continue to be on a faith journey. All of life is for our molding to be more like Christ (sanctification), and I am learning to trust God in the disappointment of the moment and in the temptation to compare to others. He is good, and I am reminded (when in the truth) that this is all in his love for our good. Our hope is found in him and not children or perfect health or circumstance.
5. The sickness and death of my college friend, Daniel Smith. In April, I heard that one of my favorite people from college (and let’s face it–life), was diagnosed with cancer. In the course of the summer, through communication over the internet on his blog, facebook, and email, we reconnected in his journey of this horrible disease. At the end of October, Daniel was healed as he entered the courts of his Eternal Father. The depth of emotion and thought and prayer that went through all those months for him, his family, his dear friends, aquaintances, and even strangers on the internet cannot be calculated. He recorded his thoughts, praise and encouragement to all through his blog, and it continues to bless people and point them toward Jesus. To say that all of his life was impactful might be an understatement. Please pray for his family and friends in this holiday season.
(Bonus # 6 for Greg—the shafting of the Longhorns:))