This year has flown by with one turning from a tiny baby to a little toddler, a growing girl starting preschool, a husband working hard to provide for his family, two girls growing up fast, a little one who loves her “little mama” role and a wife and mother who is thankful for all of life’s blessings, big and small.
As the snow falls this December night, the most snow we’ve seen in a long time around here, we feel like we have a chance to stop, rest, spend time with each other and reflect on what we’ve learned in these past few months. Here are the most important lessons that come to mind:
1. Our children are growing up fast. Ahzryia ventured on to middle school this year and it has been truly amazing to see her transforming into a responsible young woman. She enjoys singing on the worship team at church and figuring out who she is created to be and what special purpose she is created for. Shariah also has grown incredibly this past year, developing a definite interest in the Spirit through a summer kids’ camp and also growing in her gifts as an athlete. When we watched the Olympics I asked “Do you think you could do that someday?” (win the gold). She shrugged and said “Yeah, I could.” As our children grow so quickly we keep in mind that we don’t have forever to influence their lives as we can now. We choose to look at them through our Father’s eyes and encourage them in their stepping upward.
2. No life is without value. As a mother of five, I feel society's subtle message that says what a person’s life is worth depends on how much they contribute to social security. Yet, I have learned some of the most amazing lessons from listening to the gentle breathing of my sleeping baby. With Brayden being our fifth child and first boy, Bill and I are both more ready to learn to slow down and spend time laughing, cuddling, singing and enjoying the gift that he is. Ruby as well, has taught us to pay attention, spend time and notice the wonderment behind the quiet. Ruby has embraced her role as my little helper. She is so attentive to Brayden’s needs, gives him sweet kisses and tickles, runs to intervene when she feels he may be in danger of falling, feeds him snacks and makes him laugh. Watching her we see that she has a true servant’s heart and she’s a joy and blessing to ours.
3. God is present in our lives today. Emma has had a busy year, starting preschool, turning five, growing in her role as a big sister. She’s got spunk and it’s been a joy to persuade her in the way she should go, treasuring her imagination and ability to lead. She said at dinner one night that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. Ahzryia and Shariah led her to do that and prayed over her while I tried my best to keep the tears at bay.
4. Nothing is more important than family. This lesson was learned after going down the “what if” trail one too many times. What if the economy failed? What if we lost our home like so many? What if the world as we know it changed over night? We would have each other. We would have the courage to face anything. Bill and I are so blessed to have five healthy children and a wonderful relationship with each other.
5. God is our Father. He longs for us to allow Him to fill that role as we learn to depend on him for our daily bread as well as jobs to come in for work, gifts for Christmas, health for our family, joy in our relationships and wholeness and abundance for our lives. He’s given us the simple commandment to love one another. As He has loved us, so we must love one another.
May you be filled with hope, encouragement and love this Christmas and New Year.