Peace out, 2016!

I can’t look back over 2016 without feeling deep gratitude. Not because it was easy in any sense of the term! But, because we made it through! “The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength.” {2 Timothy 4:17} #thankyouJesus

2016 started with some major blows that left us feeling knocked down. A year ago, I couldn’t even stand to ring in the New Year; we were kneelin’ in the New Year. Turns out it’s right where we needed to be to face what we would face. The blows kept coming and we found Shelter and Strength on our knees.

One of my favorite New Years’ traditions is taking time as a family to share our highs and lows of the year. We fondue and reflect. Then for the next couple days, they keep telling me, “Oh, I thought of one more.” Too many highs to count!
But here’s a few:
~ Xtreme weekend (Miles)
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~ Hiking in the creek with dad (Jack)
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~ Riding the crowded bus (Jude)
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~ Finishing up the 6th grade (Miles)
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~ Camping with friends (Jack)
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When I caught 2 gars (Jude)
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Going to grandma and grandpa’s house (Miles)
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Staying at other people’s houses (Way to look on the bright side, Jack 🙂
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~ Star Wars Marathon weekend with mom (Miles)
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~ LeCrae Concert (Jack)
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~ Finding shells (Jude)
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Their list goes on…
Hocking Hills with Maddie, all the fish we caught, Silver Beach with friends, Vacation Bible School, Saída da Liderança, campfire with our Brazil grandparents, using a port-a-potty, City BBQ with Maddie, going to Wisconsin to see our cousins, basketball camp, turning 13 and getting Facebook, when we went to that couple’s house for tacos who had the tiny doggie and pool, jumping on the trampoline with Laina and Landon, watching Rogue One with friends, the vinegar store…
Of course, they all said their birthdays; and that they liked each other’s birthdays.
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We were given another year, full of uncertainties and disappointments.
And yet, each day was a fragile and precious gift, to be fully unwrapped and enjoyed. 
How grateful we are for the gift to be here, to do this!

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[Xtreme]
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[Andy speaking at Peniel’s graduation]
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[Rio 2016, which happened to be 7 hours from our house]

This year, my highs were more about the beauty in the everyday. Like that time we were on a date and rounded the bend to see this– a timely reminder of the greatness of our God:
All the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10)
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OR like the humor our 13 year old brings into our days,2016-01-06-11-03-51
the tender side of our 12 year old (of all the places he could sit in the house, that he would snuggle right up next to me);
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that every flower our 8 year old sees is for his momma,
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and how this man has stood by my side, for better or worse.
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Thimg_20160404_154553460_hdren there’s the lows…
For me, it was when my 4-6 week recovery turned into 4-6 months when they found a blood clot 4 weeks after surgery and I had to go on blood thinner injections, which made me very sick, like couldn’t even drink hot tea-sick; and we prayed and prayed and prayed that I would be able to go off the injections by my birthday, but my levels weren’t where they were supposed to be, so I waited in the car (because I also couldn’t walk without feeling lightheaded and dizzy) when my hubby went to pick up my prescription refill. And nabbed these pretty hydrangeas while he was at it. It just amazes me that even in our lows, there is evidence of grace. Even if the grace is “this life is not all there is.”

Andy’s lows included spending extra to buy what you think is a better van… only to have it break down again and again and again… leaving us stranded yet again (below). AND being the one to give me the injections.
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But that was all SO 2016.
Turn up the music. It’s time to ring those bells!!! We’re happy you’re here 2017!!!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true…
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
{Alfred Tennyson}

Time to resolute! We’re thankful for second chances.
There is a word that keeps coming to mind.

It’s how I want to respond when my teenager rolls his eyes and mumbles under his breath, when things don’t go “my” way, when I disagree, when there are muddy fingerprints on the refrigerator door… yet again.
It’s what I want to be when I feel misunderstood, unappreciated, hurt, insulted.
Who I want to be when confronted, intimidated, opposed, challenged.

meek
/mēk/
adjective
 
  1. an attitude of humble, submissive and expectant trust in God, and a loving, patient and gentle attitude towards others.

    πραΰς, πραεῖα, πραΰ
    Transliteration: praus
    Phonetic Spelling: (prah-ooce’)

John MacArthur writes, “Pride has been redefined in American culture as a virtue. The strong, the beautiful, the powerful, the intelligent, and the privileged take every opportunity to put themselves forward. Politicians manifest pride in speeches and debates; entertainers glamorize pride in their movies and lifestyles; educators teach pride by emphasizing self-esteem and making every child a winner (whether they deserve it or not); and sports icons reinforce pride as the path to greatness.

Probably the least admired character quality in America is meekness. And yet the greatest Person who ever lived was a meek and humble man — “learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus exemplified meekness during His first advent, even as He ministered in the power of God. Those who follow Him will also demonstrate meekness, or gentleness as fruit of a Spirit-filled life (Galatians 5:22).

“Meekness” is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32).” {John MacArthur}

“Picture a wild stallion that has been broken and is now tamed. That stallion still has as much power as when he was wild, but now that power is bottled up for the master’s use.” {Rick Warren}

If meek had a theme song, pretty sure it’d be this. And if meek had a manual, it’d be Psalm 37.

I don’t know what all #meek entails. 
I just know I’ve got my work cut out for me! Because this does. NOT. come. natural.
BUT, it seems worth it:

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5

Thank God for second chances. A new year, full of hope!

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One thought on “Peace out, 2016!

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