Merry Christmas and blessings for the new Year! We understand the true meaning of the season in a whole new way this year. We have drawn great strength from the peace, joy, and hope that Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection give us.
A year seems more like only a few months to me now. I know I’m sounding old but it amazes me how fast time is passing by. Caleb turned six this year. He still loves baseball and superheroes, but he is certainly developing his own “big kid” personality. He likes to put on shows with his friends or perform solo (his favorite show is called “The Acrobat Caleb Show”). He also likes to preach (with his Sunday clothes on, of course) to Heather or anyone else he can get to sit and listen to him for 20 minutes. He loves a schedule and making lists and checking them off when he is done. That comes in handy for home schooling. Caleb is in first grade this year. Math is his favorite subject. I’m not sure if it’s because Dad teaches it or he just likes numbers. Probably both. He’s enjoying the new world of reading especially when he’s working for a free ice cream cone or a pizza reading award. Heather and Caleb both attend Classical Conversations every Tuesday. Ben and I are thankful for this program that helps us stay academically accountable and on track. Heather enjoys learning with her girlfriends and loves when it’s her turn to show and tell! She loves to skip count and sing her history songs. Heather also enjoys doing shows with Caleb, but definitely does so with more drama. Heather enjoys people and loves to make sure everyone is having a good time. Heather and Caleb enjoy playing together; in fact, Heather is quite the accomplished apprentice of “Jedi Knight” Caleb. (Caleb was made a Jedi Knight from “Master Conner,” our next-door neighbor. Caleb is quite proud of this.) Ben says Heather is a force to be reckoned with during wrestling matches on the living room floor. Thankfully she still has a fancy for pretty dresses and combing her baby doll’s hair. She even enjoys combing her own hair.
I’m still finding more things to do than there is time for.
A new thing this year has been teaching Kindermusik. I got my license at the end of the summer and was able to teach for a studio close to our house. I really enjoy it and I’m looking forward to future teaching opportunities as we relocate. Yes, we are relocating once again. I sure hope you write our address in pencil and not pen! Our house is up for sale and we are planning to move to downtown Oklahoma City very soon.
I’ll back up a bit and fill you in as much as a paragraph will let me. At the beginning of this year we were without a church home and specific direction for where Ben should work in ministry. We were pursuing church planting initially after resigning from our former church, but we were very frustrated tying to do it on our own. We did not anticipate the several months of having to wait for God’s direction in the midst of many uncertainties for what step to take next. It was a hard time, yet looking back we can see how God was working in ways we couldn’t see…primarily on our own hearts. Around Easter, still in search of a church home, we visited Council Road Baptist Church. Ben’s first meeting with the pastor, Rick Thompson, revealed that God was having our paths cross for a specific purpose. Ben shared with Rick our desire to plant a church in Oklahoma City’s downtown area. That meeting proved to be a divine appointment. Rick told Ben that Council Road had a desire to plant churches and that they would be interested in partnering with us to start a church. In a matter of a few weeks we had a wonderful church family, direction for what ministry work to pursue, and a wealth of pastoral and people support from Council Road. Financially God had provided for us in amazing ways. Ben turned his video graphic hobby into a business, Saturn Light Productions. He has done some work for a local funeral home doing memorial tribute photo montages. That income met some urgent needs in the spring and now is a nice source of extra income. We were shocked in May when we received a check for the amount of almost 2/3 of an annual income for our family. It was designated to go toward getting the church plant started. With that donation and our church’s financial help we began our church planting journey. We’ve been gathering a core team and our goal launch date is around Easter 2008. We are still rejoicing in God’s faithfulness to provide and direct us.
The last major event of this year has been one of the most difficult experiences in my life. In September we received the news that my mom had been diagnosed with stage-four kidney cancer. It was difficult to watch her endure so much pain and bad news from the doctor day after day. I’ll never forget the week all the tests results came back revealing how bad the cancer was. She told us that she wasn’t afraid because God only allows things to happen for our good. She said she was not afraid to die because she trusted in Christ’s promise of eternal life. From the moment she was diagnosed to the last hours of her life she never forsook her faith in Jesus. In fact she gave a triumphant testimony of God’s grace to go through significant affliction with a hope-filled soul and joyful outlook. Mom was such a giving person throughout her life and in her death she gave me the assurance that there is nothing God allows that His grace won’t either deliver us from or deliver us through. God safely delivered Mom to her glorious home on November 23. I miss her terribly yet I have the assurance that she is with her Savior.
So this year has been one of the most faith-building seasons of my life. But the truth that God became flesh means so much more to us this year. What a wonderful gift God gave us that very first Christmas. He gave us Himself.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)