Go ahead, call me a party pooper. We didn’t even try to stay up to bring in the new year. Aaron was on call for the hospital, and as you moms know well, I was on call for my children. Between Aaron’s pager and Levi thinking he’d wet the bed, we didn’t sleep much. (Fortunately, Levi made it to the potty and his bed stayed dried.) When we woke up this morning, we felt like we’d stayed up until midnight, but we weren’t partying.
This method of ‘celebration’ is our typical way to welcome a new year. We just love sleep too much. While some people use this time of year to make resolutions, to reflect on the past year, to party, I usually don’t give it much thought. In the past I would treat it like any other day. This year, however, I thought I’d at least take some time to reflect and process the year 2013. Otherwise, though, January 1, 2014 is like any other day.
This new-found desire to reflect is primarily brought on by the fact that 2013 has hands-down been the hardest year of my life. The previous years have not been all sunshine and roses, but nothing compares to the twists and turns we experienced this past year. We moved to Kenya, to a home we’ve never seen, to work in a place we’ve never experienced, to live in a community where we knew no one. Then, we had to usher our baby girl into heaven, fly back to the States to bury her, and then move back to Kenya with a huge void. If that wasn’t bad enough, the remainder of the year brought us two more deaths in the family (both of Aaron’s grandmothers passed away), a long list of new friends who were experiencing the loss of one of their children, and countless deaths at the hospital. Then, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
While I knew this year would be challenging, because the first year of being a missionary is supposed to be characterized by a roller coaster of emotions, I never would have expected all the trials we encountered. In the midst of processing death and illness, we had to process the calling God placed on our lives. We’ve had the call of missionary for quite some time, but we ARE missionaries now. That means we are walking the walk, we are challenged to live out our faith in a different culture, we are grieving all the things we left behind in the States, we have to process realities to which most people never give a second thought. Some of these things we anticipated. Some we did not. The combination of assimilating to a new home and mourning the loss of a daughter has caused a complex, messy year.
As we begin 2014, I wish I could say that God has promised us a year free from trial, an easy road to 2015. But I can’t. Instead, I can say, “Good-bye 2013! It has been a hard, devastating year. One where we made many mistakes and cried too many tears. But we were victorious because God was glorified!” And I can determine in my heart that no matter what 2014 brings God will continue to receive all the glory!
I Peter 1:13 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
Praises and Pray Requests:
1. Praise God for His faithfulness to us this year! We would be a giant mess, never getting out of bed, curled up in the fetal position, if it wasn’t for the God of Comfort!
2. Praise God for the MANY blessings He brought in the midst of much suffering and sadness.
3. Praise God for a larger than expected support group. (That would be you!) We are humbled to have such a far-reaching ‘fan’ base. Thank you isn’t enough, but that’s all I can say. I so appreciate the time you spend uplifting us in prayer!
4. Please continue to pray for my dad. He has daily treatments (Monday-Friday) until mid-January.
5. Please pray for the orphan ministry, especially now that I’m in charge of financial record keeping! While I am organized and detailed, I am still a little intimated by this seemingly big role.
6. Please pray for us this January. The 22nd is Hannah’s birthday. She’d be turning 2. We have a birthday celebration planned. It’s sure to be bittersweet, maybe a little heavy on the bitter that day.
7. Please pray for Noah! He’ll be turning 8 on the 18th! He is doing so, so well. We are quite proud of the way he is maturing and learning and growing. (Am I really old enough to have an 8 year old??) Please pray that God will continue to use him to comfort (his name means ‘comfort’), that he will learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and have the courage to obey what he hears, that he will guard his tongue and grow into a respectful young man of God.