Happy New Year! I’ve been able to spend the last couple days in prayer and reflection. It’s been good for my soul. As I look forward to 2014, this is a brief reflection on the best of 2013 for me and my family.
1. Our Kids
On Thursday, May 16th, we welcomed our son Paul into the world. On Sunday, November 24th, we celebrated our daughter Bethany’s 2nd birthday. What a joy our children have been to us! Bethany’s an amazing older sister. And Paul is a happy, chubby, younger brother. Paul is sleeping through the night and eating well. Bethany’s slowly entering her terrible two’s. Sometimes it can get hard, but she has an incredible sense of humor. During Advent, we tried to teach her to celebrate the birth of Christ. Over time, she began to call on “Baby Jesus” whenever she didn’t want to do something. When we would try to give her a bath, she would cry out, “Baby Jesus!” What a funny girl! We’re so grateful for both of them!
This year has been filled with many joys and many trials. We’ve faced unexpected difficulties and disappointments throughout the year. But I’m thankful for these trials. As it says in James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” I’m grateful to learn the value of perseverance. I read a quote by John Piper written in 1989, “One of the pervasive marks of our times is emotional fragility. I feel it as though it hung in the air we breathe. We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We break easily. Our marriages break easily. Our faith breaks easily. Our happiness breaks easily. And our commitment to the church breaks easily. We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition.” If this was true in 1989, it’s exponentially more true today. I pray that steadfastness will have its full effect in me in 2014.
3. Our Families
We’ve had the opportunity to connect with our parents and siblings over the past couple of months. As our parents get older, I realize these times are more and more precious. I’m praying that we can honor them in this season of their lives. It brings me great joy to see them laugh and play with our kids. As busy as life gets, I’m grateful to soak in these moments.