Monday, December 28, 2015

A Firm Foundation

Today I finally had a quiet moment to sit down and savor all your wonderful Christmas cards and letters.  Thank you to all of you who still carry on that tradition.  I thoroughly enjoy your family news and well wishes.  However, as much as I enjoy sending out cards, this is the first time I've failed to get that task accomplished, and so this will have to do.  

Last January, God pressed upon my heart this phrase, 'prepare the way for the Lord'.  I can now look back and see God's faithfulness to carry it out.  The hard ground of our hearts has been painfully plowed, the rough clods stirred up, broken and humbled, so that the presence of the Lord can be more evident in our lives.

For once upon a 2015 there were six little sheep belonging to the Shepherd.  They looked tasty to a big bad wolf seeking whom he might devour.  That wolf huffed and puffed but he could not blow the house down, for those sheep had built upon a sure foundation, anchored in Jesus Christ their Savior. When trouble came they ran pell mell to Jesus, who is not ashamed to call them brothers.

The year started on the mountain top with our annual youth winter retreat.  There we learned about being salt and light in the world.  But at the time of green grass and budding flowers the path plunged downward into a dark valley where shadows of shame loomed large. A crisis with a children's minstry, discovered the big bad wolf creeping down the chimney, totally unexpected. But he was met by the boiling pot of truth.

Later, I was tested in the orchard's of my lush Oregon stomping grounds where I visited my family. With my daughter Heather, we went on to attend my youngest brother's wedding in Seattle. The wolf was lurking in our travels but we hopped in the butter churn, our faith in action, and rolled all the way back home, safe and sound.

Not long after, my husband took the youth to the inner city of Chicago where the wolf sought to wreak havoc, but even there he could not break through, for our hope is fixed on the Shepherd.  He remains faithful.

However, the big bad wolf was not easily deterred.  He showed up again at the kitchen where my husband tore his rotatory cuff and found out that he has no cartilage in his shoulders. Because of the missing cartilage, the rotator cuff could not be repaired.  Hence, pain medication was prescribed. And the pain medication led to an ulcer which threatened to take his life.

Yet, God has done more than we can ask or think in His great provision and healing.  In the midst of these encounters with the wolf, we have been led to green pastures and been refreshed by the presence of our Shepherd.

In June we spent a glorious day at the sweet pea patch near a creek close to home.

We had a special time with Jeff's parents at our friend's luxerious cabin.

Jeff and I celebrated 25 years of marriage in our own beautiful mountains of the San Juans.  Earlier in the year, (before the injury to his shoulder), we coached a volleyball team together.  It was such a rich experience and good for our marriage as well.  We still keep in touch with those kids.

Heather was chosen for her dream job at a children's hospital in Ohio, where she is finishing her senior year of college in nursing.

Tyler recently received a job in his field of computer science.  After taking the fall semester off to work, he will be back to college in January.

Ivy is adjusting to high school while Summer is holding her own in 8th grade.

The year has certainly weathered our house, but it still stands, for no one, not even the big bad wolf, can snatch us from our Shepherd's hands.  We are weary from all the huffing and puffing, but not dismayed, for our lives are hidden with Christ in God.  We take shelter under the protection of His wings.

Christmas brings us full circle where we are enjoying the season with family and friends.  Thank you for touching our lives, each in your own unique way.  We are truly blessed beyond measure.

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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