Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

2012 was a crazy year for our family.  We were married 8 years this year, Tobin started Kindergarten, we found out Caroline needed glasses, and we got out of debt.  Our priorities were completely shifted after we had to start our lives over when our home burned in the Oklahoma Wildfires in August.  What a reminder of how our life here on earth is fleeting, but our purpose is to tell others about Christ, so they too may live eternity with Him.  Our story is not a story of tragedy, but a story of overcoming faith and unending gratitude.  With the protection and provision of our heavenly father, and the support and prayers of our friends and family, we can start again knowing that he has a plan for us.  Thank you for your kind words, gifts, hugs, support, and prayers.  Our marriage is stronger, our family is closer, and our vision for the future is focused solely on what HE wants for our lives.  We look forward to celebrating our Savior’s birth this Christmas and we have confidence that 2013 will be filled with His blessings.  We hope and pray that your new year will be filled with the hope, joy and peace that only our Savior can bring.

We have the best friends and family anyone could ask for!  Thanks for being a part of our amazing life! 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Little Lonesome Shepherd

We had a little nativity scene that I used to get out every year.  It was some sort of resin or plaster-like material.  The kiddos played with it, and loved pretending with the bible characters.  Last year, when I put up the manger scene after Christmas, I realized the shepherd was missing.  I thought he would show up but alas, I never found him.  Fast forward 11 months.  I took the vacuum out to the car to clean it out, after a nameless person filled the back with hay that we had to have for a certain birthday party.  Anyway, hay was everywhere.  I laid down the seat to vacuum.  Oh, to my surprise what I found!  There was the lonesome shepherd!   I’m sure this little shepherd got loaded into the car by some tiny hands, and never made it out.  He is missing both hands, his shepherd's staff, and he is all alone.  No Mary, Joseph, or even Baby Jesus to keep him company.  However, after loosing every single Christmas decoration I had to keep him.  You may think I’m nuts that I didn’t just toss him into the garbage with all that hay.  He now sits on top of my desk in the dining room.  I love him.  I think I shall pack him up with the Christmas stuff every year, and he shall come out once a year.  “Why?” You ask.  To remind us of another promise God has for us.  

With the most recent events at Shady Hook Elementary school in Newtown CT, I have been resting in Psalm 91.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:1-4

I can’t help but imagine the thoughts that go through the minds of those mommies who lost their precious babes last Friday.  My precious son is 6, and I cannot comprehend how empty their hearts must be tonight.  How can they possibly function, sleep, or eat.  Then I remember how I felt after our fire.  Even though our experiences aren’t the same, I remember not tasting food, or sleeping, or wanting to function.  I just did.  I rested in the fact that God still had a plan and purpose for my life.  Regardless of how I felt, I had to trust him. 

Today, as I kissed my son and sent him to school, I immediately put myself into those mother’s places.  “What if this is the last time I see him?  NO!  I will not flood my mind with fear!”  Each morning, whether Tony or I walk Tobin to school, we pray for him.   We pray for him to be a light to others who may not know the love of Christ, for him to make good choices, and for God to protect him.   After I said goodbye this morning,  I opened my bible and read Psalm 91 again.   His warmth and peace and Joy came flooding back to me.  I will keep this little shepherd because when I see his little lonesome self, I will remember how God scoops in, picks us up, and hides us in the shadow of his wings. He is MY refuge and MY strength, and I will TRUST in Him!  

I will not try to manufacture hands either.  He is perfect the way he is, because even his broken hands remind me why I need the Lord.  Just like that little shepherd, we are all hurting, lonely, and incomplete without Jesus in our lives.

My prayers are with all the victims of the Shady Hook tragedy.  May you find peace and Joy that only our Savior can bring to you this Christmas season. 

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