We had a completely amazing year. We have seen God work wonders in our lives like never before. There are so many things to praise Him for. Here are just a few highlights.
February: We are praising God that He instilled in my daddy a dedication to stay in shape. Because he ran nearly every morning for twenty-seven years, he did not die from the heart attack that struck him early in February. We are also praising God that He orchestrated events in Dad's life in such a way that he works at a company that gives its employees LifeFlight insurance. Dad was able to be flown free via helicopter from his small town to the Big City, where the cardiologist on call opened the blockage in one of Dad's arteries and saved his life. Dad's been given a 1% change of having another heart attack, which is quite a bit better than the rest of us. We are so very thankful that God's plan includes more rich fellowship with my daddy.
May: We are praising God that He allowed our family to come away from an unhealthy situation. He picked us up and moved us out from the place we were, in the process focusing our hearts and thoughts on Him, whispering to us to follow Him, leading us step by step. As we learn to obey that command, we experience a view of faith and God's presence we have never seen before. He has turned our world upside down and shown us a new glimpse of Himself, and all glory and honor are His. One of the most beautiful blessings He gave us in May was a family to live above that has been where we are. They understand us and care about us and love us completely. We are so thankful God brought us to them.
June: We are praising God that He provided a way for the boys and I to spend a couple of weeks with my family, which was just the break we needed after our recent move. The boys went to the most fun VBS known to man, and they've decided it must now be a family tradition to travel to Grandpa and Grandma's house every summer to participate in the best week of their lives. They still listen to the VBS music CD every night before they go to bed. After VBS, the boys spent another week with my parents while I traveled to Canada to visit my brother, his wife, and their three precious children, one of whom was very brand new, born just three days before I arrived. This was a once-in-a-lifetime treat for me, and I'm so thankful I was able to experience it.
July: We are praising God that He enabled several members of my family to join together for a backpacking trip. There's nothing like spending four days surrounded by the majesty of God's creation. Standing at the foot of the giant edifices that are God's mighty mountains really puts your own minuscule size into perspective. The world and everything in it is bigger than you and I. But the beauty of this truth is that God chose to pour His love out on our tiny selves. He loves us more than all of the physical universe He created.
August: We are praising God for the new church family He has given us. We were able to really start getting to know them in August, and we are just in awe of God's ability to provide exactly what we need right now in a church family. Jeff has joined a men's group that has spoken quite specifically to his current needs, and the boys are really loving their Sunday school classes and the new friends they've made. I'm soaking up the awesome worship and incredible teaching each week. God has quenched our thirst for all these things in our new church oasis.
September: We are praising God for enabling me to travel to Seattle for a few days to be with my cousin as she went into pre-term labor at 27 weeks with the twins she carried. When I arrived to her hospital room, I found a determined mama, relaxing as hard as she could, strung out on magnesium, fighting to keep her sweet sons nestled a bit longer in her womb. I watched as God performed miracles for those twins, stopping my cousin's contractions, encouraging the sweet baby on the bottom to stop pushing against his sac of waters, and eventually sealing up my cousin's womb so tightly that she was able to end her hospital bedrest and go home to prepare for the arrival of her new family members. In fact, God answered our prayers so completely that the twins stayed in utero until they were full-term, and they entered the world via scheduled c-section in December, completely healthy. And contrary to what we had all anticipated, they spent no time at all in the NICU. This event is really my cousin's story, but what it taught me about God's power, and what it taught me about the power of prayer, changed me forever. As I stood in that same hospital at the beginning of December and held those brand new boys, I knew I was holding precious, tiny miracles.
October: We are praising God for teaching us about His ability to move heaven and earth to provide for His children. When He promises to provide everything we need, He ain't just a-kiddin', as my mom would say. October taught us that our great God keeps His promises. He sees everything we need beforehand, and provides for us in advance.
December: We are praising God for helping James transition to our new life by having a lead role in our church's children's Christmas program at the beginning of this month. He did such a great job as Sergeant Smarter in Operation Christmas Child. We all saw a new side of him, and he found a new passion for theater. Really a complete turnaround from his younger self who stood stock still, paralyzed with fear, on every other stage he ever graced. I love watching him grow.
December also brought us for an extended stay at my parents' house for Christmas. We would not have been able to enjoy this relaxing time if our circumstances were different, and we are so thankful that God's step-by-step leading included this respite. The best part is being surrounded by family we rarely see. This is my first time home on Christmas Day since I got married, and I'm soaking it up, because it probably won't happen again for several more years. However, it's Jeff's first time away from his family on Christmas Day since we got married, so he's a bit wistful, but he teaches me all the time to put your all into wherever you are, and I'm thankful once again for his strong leadership and guidance by example. We celebrate nine years of marriage right after the New Year, and we're amazed all the time by God's divine design in giving us to each other. We are so thankful to Him for the grace He has poured into our marriage and our family and our lives.