One of my most favorite things about Christmas is opening up my mailbox and seeing lots of mail from loved ones. I love the letters and read each one. I love the photos and seeing each family grow. With great sadness I find myself without the resources this year to send out a card to everyone on our list. So, I thought I would post it for anyone interested in reading and seeing!
WARNING: I know this is a long post and letter, but so much has happened in the last year.
We do have a new address. Contact me if you need it (through email or Facebook).
Chirstmas Letter 2009
We have had a whirlwind of a year and I thought the best thing to do for this year was to update you on where we are at in our journey of stepping out in faith and waiting for God to show us where to go.
As most of you know we ended up in Hot Springs, AR last year. We assumed it was temporary and lived as such. In May when the kids got out of school, the house we were living in sold. We then packed our stuff up and Sarae and the kids moved back to Michigan to live with her parents for the summer. Acey stayed in Hot Springs working with a landscaping company. The day that we left Arkansas, we all assumed (again too much assumption, I guess) that we would not be back. That God would for sure give us a camp by fall.
As summer flew by, there were camp trails that we followed, but all led to dead ends. We had to make a decision as to what was next. The only option that God has shown us is to stay in Hot Springs. So we packed up again and moved for a third time back down to Arkansas. Acey is now running his own landscaping business. This year has been filled with lots of questions: what God was doing, why this journey was taking so long, why Arkansas, why landscaping? While there have been very few answers given to these questions, God has been faithful to care for our family and show is the very next step…and that is it!
The puzzle that we were building when we left Bair Lake is definitely not the same puzzle God is building in our lives. Where we are today looks nothing like where we envisioned ourselves 1 ½ year ago. But it is still our journey and it is teaching us to have faith for today, for our future is so uncertain!
So where are we at TODAY:
Acey is running his own landscaping company. God has blessed these past few months tremendously with jobs, referrals and even encouragement for him from other businessmen that he is the kind of “business owner” that the Village (Hot Springs Village is the largest gated retirement community in the US) needs. Did we ever envision ourselves owning our own business? No, yet the Lord has trained Acey over the past year and has provided networking for him to do just that.And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Sarae is still able to stay at home with the kids and has pretty much worked at just providing some sort of stability in the chaos of our circumstances. One of her greatest drives is to raise this flock that God has given her to follow His voice. This year has given her opportunities to teach Bible Studies for Scout and Garrett and any local kids that join us. Did she ever think that she would be teaching Precepts to kids instead of ladies? No, yet God has opened those doors wide to be able to do just that for her kids.<And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Scout is 9 years old and is in the 4th grade. She was accepted into the Gifted and Talented program this year. Did we ever think we would have to come to Arkansas to get the education she needed? No, yet she has had her most favorite teacher who has spurred her into a true love for reading and learning!And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Garrett is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. He is excelling in math and of course in social skills! He is loved by his teachers and they truly see the giftedness he has for people. They see his kind heart and his desire to excel at what he does. Did we ever dream that we would have teachers who appreciated who Garrett is and not see him under the shadow of his sister? No, yet his teachers in Arkansas have given him that wonderful gift of admiration.And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Noah is 6 years old and in the 1st grade. He loves all things sports and we were not here 1 month and he discovered the Razorbacks. He will be a forever fan. Our goal is to get him to one of the famous Razorback Games at University of Arkansas before God moves us again. Did we ever think about how sports might impact what God is doing in our lives? No, yet we have a team that we root for and wear t-shirts of that is meaningful to Noah. And for that we say Thank You, Lord. SOOOO-WEEEE!
Addison is 3 years old and is so full of life and hilarity! Everything she does, she does with enthusiasm. Her best friend is her cousin Lilly who is also three. I have never seen two little girls play so well together and enjoy each other so much. Addison is fueled by being around people. Yet did we think about friendships for her as we left to seek the Lord’s future for us? No, yet God has given her a best friend!And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Braxton is 1 year old. As many of you know, she was hospitalized for pneumonia in November. Again, we see how God is in the details of our life. The kids school required doctor’s notes if they were sick. This motivated me to get a doctor set up for the kids. One week after getting Braxton to her new doctor, she was sent to the hospital for a week. Did I ever think that this annoyance from the school would probably save my daughter’s life? No, yet God took care of our little one and she received the care she needed.And for that we say Thank You, Lord.
Our prayer is that our story would be a testimony to a God who cares about the details of our lives. While we still don’t have any idea what the big picture is in all this drama, we do try to see God in the small details of leading our lives. Our motto for this fall has become, “Today, we are Okay!”And for that we thank You, Lord!
We are currently attending a church that is in the center of Hot Springs Village (the largest gated retirement community in the country). We are not retired. But it has been refreshing to be in a church that does things totally different than what is hip and cool. They sing mostly hymns! And they have an organ (with a band).
As we sing these hymns again, I am really trying hard to concentrate on the words. They are so very powerful. Take the classic, "'Tis so Sweet"
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus Just to take Him at His Word Just to rest upon His Promise Just to know 'thus saith the Lord.'
Jesus, Jesus How I trust Him! How I've proved Him over and over Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus O for Grace to Trust Him more.
I think we have forgotten how to take Jesus at His Word, to rest on His promises, to know this is what God says. There is no foundatin more firm than to trust God's Word.
I have been extremely challenged by Hudson Taylor's insert about debt in his autobiography:
"To me it seemed that the teaching of God's Word was unmistakably clear: 'Owe no man anything.' To borrow money implied, to my mind, a contradiction of Scripture-a confession that God had withheld some good thing, and a determination to get for ourselves what He had not given.... If the Word taught me anything, it taught me to have no connection with debt. I could not think that God was poor, that He was short of resources, or unwilling to supply any want of whatever work was really His. It seemed to me that if there were any lack of funds to carry on work, then to that degree, in that special development, or at that time, it could not be the work of God."
I had never thought of debt in this light. If the resources were not there for me to get IT, then quite surely IT was not something God had for me to get (at that time). I think of the many churches and ministires that are in tremendous debt for their new buildings or new facilities. Could it be that God did not intend for them to have that?
Jesus is…. From Genesis, He is the Ram at Abraham’s altar. From Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb. From Leviticus, He is the High Priest. From Numbers, He is the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. From Deuteronomy, He is the City of our refuge. From Joshua, He is the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window. From Judges, He is our Judge. From Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer. From 1st and 2nd Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet. From Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King. From Ezra, He is our Faithful Scribe. From Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of everything that is broken. From Esther, He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate. From Job, He is our Redeemer that ever liveth. From Psalms, He is My Shepherd and I shall not want. From Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is our Wisdom. From Song of Solomon, He is the Beautiful Bridegroom. From Isaiah, He is the Suffering Servant From Jeremiah and Lamentations, Jesus is the Weeping Prophet. From Ezekiel, He is the Wonderful Four-Faced Man. From Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace. From Hosea, He is My Love that is forever faithful. From Joel, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. From Amos, He’s our Burden Bearer. From Obadiah, He is our Savior. From Jonah, He is the Great Foreign Missionary that takes the Word of God into all the world. From Micah, He is the Messenger with beautiful feet. From Nahum, He is the Avenger. From Habakkuk, He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival. From Zephaniah, He is the Lord mighty to save. From Haggai, He is the Restorer of our lost heritage. From Zechariah, He is our Fountain. From Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. From Matthew, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. From Mark, He is the Miracle Worker. From Luke, He is the Son of Man. From John, He is the Door by which every one of us must enter. From Acts, He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus. From Romans, He is the Justifier. From 1 Corinthians, He is our Resurrection. From 2 Corinthians, He is our Sin Bearer. From Galatians, He redeems us from the Law. From Ephesians, HE is our Unsearchable Riches. From Philippians, He supplies our every need. From Colossians, He’s the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily. From 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is our Soon Coming King. From 1 and 2 Timothy, He is the Mediator between God and man. From Titus, He is our Blessed Hope. From Phileman, He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. From Hebrews, He is the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant. From James, HE is the Lord that heals the sick. From 1 and 2 Peter, He is the Chief Shepherd. From 1, 2 and 3 John, it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love. From Jude, the Lord is coming with 10,000 servants. From Revelation, lift up your eyes, Church, for your redemptions draweth nigh; He is our King of kings and Lord of lords.
ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS' NAME, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME LIKE THE NAME OF JESUS. HIS NAME IS ABOVE ALL NAMES.