Faithful and true

One of my closest friends is a girl I’ll call M. She was a youth leader when I was a student, lived with my family briefly, and has been a source of love and encouragement to me for over half of my life. She is family.

Beautiful and kind, I watched her navigate the rough waters of remaining single despite her desire for marriage. For years I prayed for a wonderful man, but the Lord didn’t answer that prayer the way I thought He would.

Yesterday, M became a mom. A few years ago, she started very cautiously asking for prayer and if we thought adoption would be a wise choice for her. We immediately and completely agreed with this idea and felt it was from the Lord. M loves children, is a school teacher, and sees the good in every child like nobody I’ve ever known. She was made to be a mom.

But adopting as a single woman was a huge step, and a huge leap of faith. My beautiful brave friend sought the Lord, and when He confirmed His call on her life, she obeyed. The Lord provided strong male leadership in her father and her brother-in-law. He provided a way for her child to go to the school where she works. And M had room in her heart and her home and love to give. So trusting the Lord, she took a leap of faith.

Yesterday a beautiful 7 year-old little girl got a mom. For the first time in her little life – she’ll know stability, safety, unconditional love. They are a family. They know that life won’t be perfect, but that together they are stronger and with the Lord as the Father of the fatherless – they can live the abundant life He intends for them.

Any of you who read this know this year has been tough on me. But Friday when I heard the word that this was happening – I praised the God who made me and who has a perfect plan. I worshipped Him for the miracle I knew was happening in a tiny town north of here. My sweet friend and a beautiful little girl had found a family – and I am so grateful.

Lord You are faithful and true.

Beautiful Colorado

So I am a little obsessed with Colorado. Some (my husband) might say I’m extremely obsessed. Growing up, my grandparents loved it and we camped with them in Cripple Creek, and then my parents carried on the tradition and almost every year we spent at least a week up in the Leadville or Breckenridge area riding bikes, hiking, fishing (dad fished – we distracted him and scared the fish away), and loving time together as a family.

Colorado has a smell – a delicious pine-scented, rainy, smoke-from-a-campfire smell that some days I wake up and I just need to inhale (like a wonderful and not-unhealthy-at-all addiction :)). And the 70 degree mornings and sweaters in the evening, even in summer, don’t hurt at all.

When Justin married me, he had no idea what he was in for. Seriously. I love that place. He says it is where I want to go on every vacation, and I have no defense against that truth. When my brother and sister-in-law moved there, the love grew. When they had precious twins, it grew exponentially, and when I had kids who adore time with their kids, it exploded into an unmanageable force.

Bekah loving hour 12 of the road trip

Justin and I had a few catastrophic trips to Colorado early in our marriage (we tend to attract natural disasters when we travel there – did I mention that?) and so he has never seen or experienced the Colorado that I love. He’s experienced blizzard Colorado twice and snowed-in with a stomach virus Colorado one lovely Christmas.

This year – we were determined to remedy that, break the curse, and take a summer family vacation. As the date drew near though – Justin’s work schedule seemed to close in while mine opened up, so I asked my sister to join me and off we went, two children under 5 in tow.

(By the way – Justin not being allowed to go ended up being the grace of God when one of his closest friends very unexpectedly passed away the day we left for the trip. We were so grateful Justin was able to attend our friend’s homecoming celebration and say goodbye to the man who was such a light in his life. Even in things like this – God is faithful and He knows what we need.)

So my sister and I piled into a car with entirely too much luggage, determined to make this a memorable experience for the kids like our trips were when we were young.

And I think we achieved memorable. Exhausting, but memorable.

We hiked a small mountain. We went to the amazing YMCA facility in Estes and it was beautiful.  As you can see from the photo, hiking was more strenuous on some than others.

We camped (me and the girls sharing a futon in a tent, which really deserves an entirely separate blog post for the funny parts, but the sweet parts included me hearing Grace sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in the dead of night in her sleep and the multiple times I had to get up and move Bekah back onto the Futon because she had scooted off). I was quite busy that night. We quickly realized that camping with kids is SUPER fun… for the kids. For the adults, it’s a ton of hard work and maybe the most strenuous sleep-over ever, where you don’t really sleep at all. This gives me a new appreciation for my parents and grandparents. They made it look so easy!

Sweet Bek off the futon - onto the pillow I placed after the 2nd time I heard a thud.

We swam, and swam, and swam. Joe and Lori live in the plains just East of the mountains so you can see, from their house and the neighborhood pool, an incredible view of the Rocky Mountains. It was amazing. I cannot imagine living with that as my view every day (although it is my most sincere prayer that someday I would discover that reality for myself. Please Lord!) Brody and Annabelle are absolute fish, swimming underwater and bravely learning more everyday. Grace wanders around the pool in her floaty swimwear, meeting friends and swimming/floating by herself, and Bekah terrifies every adult in sight by thinking she can swim by herself when she cannot, in fact, do anything but sink like a rock.

Aunt Jess being soaked (the kids' favorite game in the pool)

We went to an amusement park and rode bumper cars, go-carts and bumper boats, went down a huge slide, played games, collected tickets for awesome prizes, and had a wonderful time.

We ate like kings, thanks to Joe and Lori’s amazing cooking, and laughed until we hurt.

Spidey-Brody and Spidey-Grace rescuing Princess Annabelle

It was a great trip, very much the Colorado I am obsessed with. Family, fresh air, God’s amazing creation, and not taking anything too seriously. It was everything I love about that incredible place and was good for my soul. Again Colorado was the gift to my heart that the Lord knew I needed.

Now we just have to work on getting Justin Wells up there to experience it… sans natural disaster or traumatic illness. Until then, Colorado and the Colorado Sims family, we love you dearly and are grateful for every second we got to enjoy your company. We will see you again soon, I promise…

The four wonderful kids eating ice cream in Estes Park

Streamlining

I have read that when the body has endured trauma, it automatically shuts down organ systems that are unnecessary to survival to conserve energy for the ones that are. Because of the way the Creator formed us – the body instinctively knows that it can’t do it all when it isn’t in optimal condition, so it streamlines – cutting the excess and focusing on the essential until it knows it will survive and can heal.

In small measure, this is the lesson the Lord has taught me the past couple of months. Despite our challenging circumstances, for many months I still tried to do it all. And I was unsuccessful. I became exhausted and depressed. I kept expecting our circumstances to get better overnight and so I was just trying to hold it all together until that happened. But as the months turned into a year, holding it all together became an impossible task.

During this time, the Lord began to teach me that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom to say no. Freedom to get help. Freedom to shut down the things in our life that caused unnecessary stress so that we could function better for our kids, for each other, and for the things that Jesus said were truly necessary. Freedom to fail. Freedom to fall apart for a while and then allow the Lord to put me back together while my husband guarded over our family.

It was a tough time – but highly necessary. The Lord was teaching me the lesson of how He created our body. He was teaching me to streamline.

So one day, not so long ago, I let go of trying. I fell apart. I went to a doctor and got some help for depression and for the ulcers that have made me sick for the past 18 months. I turned down a few events and work opportunities that were causing me stress. I made some decisions to streamline our finances. I even streamlined my Facebook friends and Twitter connections, eliminating people or causes that were sources of anxiety.

I wrote down what was vital: Justin, my girls, loving the Lord my God with all my heart, feeding the hungry and caring for the orphan and widow, my friends and family who love us, the work relationships that enhance our lives.

Six things. That’s it.

And everything else I shut down.

I battled with guilt (especially over walking away from relationships), but the Lord confirmed my decision with His Word. My Baptist upbringing conditioned me to see everyone, even the difficult, as a mission field. So to walk away seemed like choosing my good over their eternal destiny. But in this season time and time again the Lord confirmed this idea with His Word. Even Jesus took time to walk away and commune with His father or with the 12 who He loved when facing difficult challenges. So I asked the Lord to take care of those who I couldn’t – and I walked away.

I am living a streamlined life  – hiding in the shadow of my Father’s (and my husband’s) entirely capable wing until I can recover. And frankly, I like this so much, I may hang out under here for far longer than is necessary.

Because the streamlined life is the passionate life. This streamlining has brought me a new boldness for the things that do matter. I now have energy to fight for my six things that are truly important. I believe, for the first time in a while, that the Lord will use me to accomplish the work He has given me to do.

Streamlining. I’m grateful for it. I hope some of you will join me in it. I truly believe it has saved my life.

Grace & Bekah School Pics

Oh these kill me.  Although the quality in these pics is terrible, the subjects themselves could not be more adorable, in my opinion.  🙂  So I am sorry, family, that these are watermarked – but our budget did not allow for the purchase of these little beauties.  However, they were too cute not to share.

Team Sims Rocking the World

The Lord is doing a GREAT work in the Sims family (my side of the family), and I am so grateful – so I thought I’d share for those of us who love us and pray for us.

First – My brother, Joe, and sister-in-law, Lori, are expanding their family through adoption! I cannot TELL you what an encouragement it has been to see the Lord call them to this, confirm this call in them, and begin to fulfill it. It has knit my heart with theirs even more to share this calling and to understand the urgency of caring for precious children that the Lord loves. They have faced the opposition we are all warned comes with obedience to this call – but I have loved seeing them handle it with grace and assurance that Jesus is bigger.  So – allow me to “cyber” introduce you to them, and if you can, check out their blog and if the Lord leads, give them some encouragement through comment love. It’s a hard road, and in times like this support from the “church-at-large” becomes invaluable.  http://teamsims.blogspot.com/

Second – my sweet sister, Jess, is coming home from the World Race! If you don’t know what that is – it is an 11 month mission trip through 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.  I’ve written about her before – when she began her journey 11 months ago, and I’m so proud of how she has finished strong.  She returns home next week and if you would, keep her in your prayers. She has big decisions to make, and wants to follow the Lord in courage wherever He leads her. I am so excited to again be able to pick up the phone and call her whenever I want to! She is my best friend – and I have so missed being able to share my days with her. But I am also so proud – she followed the Lord in obedience (like Joe and Lori have) and I know He is going to continue to use her to change the world.

Third – my parents are doing better than I’ve ever seen. The Lord has done a HUGE work in both my dad and my mom’s heart, and consequently in their marriage and our family. They are very active at Gateway Church and I have seen the Lord use that church to do a new thing in their hearts (Isaiah 43:19).  It has been amazing to experience and it has confirmed what I always have known to be true (but so easily forget) – the Lord pursues our hearts and when we surrender, the blessing of His Spirit flows to bring life into death and light into darkness beyond what we ever imagined possible.

He’s a good, good God. We’re blessed and I am very very grateful.

Counting and Dancing

I am on the 10th straight day away from my family (2 more days to go!) in one of the longest stretches yet that I have been on the road.  I have been counting the days because I miss Justin and the girls.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced something like our past year, but I have learned something I find interesting, and it involves counting.  When you are living with some degree of uncertainty and you are mourning a change in your life you weren’t expecting, there are these strange milestones you live with in your head.  You keep count (or at least, I do).  I realized I would start to grow anxious and stressed as the first of each month neared because it was another month in our struggle.  I could always tell you exactly how many months it had been since Justin was laid off and then later, since I was, because these monthly deadlines defined our journey to some extent.

Yesterday I realized that during this stretch I’ve been out of town, we passed the one-year mark for my layoff.

And I had missed it.  How very unlike me.  🙂

I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude.  This internal clock seems to have finally switched off.  Thank you, Father.  I think that means I’ve healed.  That quietly, under the surface, the Lord has been working to release me from any pain attached to that event so that it isn’t a defining reality in our world anymore.

We have moved on.  We are in a new place.  Justin is working for a wonderful church.  The Lord is providing for us through that and through my travel.  He has given me a new vision for my future.

And He has provided.  Over a year without fulltime employment in our family.  We never thought we could have survived that – and yet He is faithful.  In our weakness He is strong.

So I think that this anniversary is worth celebrating.

You have turned my mourning into dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11

For all of you who have prayed for us and loved us, THANK YOU.  You will never know the blessing you have been.  I’m highly tempted to throw a little dance party to celebrate all the Lord has done, and you are ALL invited.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

Elbows and Knees

One of the many reasons I began this blog was because of my awful memory and the precious reality of my little loves.  So I determined to write some of these things for my review later, for their eventual reading pleasure, and for my family.  So with that in mind – here’s another little blog about my tiny people.

Nighttime with my girls is an adventure.  The bedtime ritual is hilarious and exhausting and oh so specific for Grace (we literally have exact phrases we must say in a proper order or it all falls apart).  Once they are fed, bathed, dressed, teeth brushed, prayers prayed, water fetched, and finally quiet,  Justin and I typically collapse on the sofa completely spent.

And I confess, I am one of those moms who waivers on how much I allow our kids into our bed.  When we were childless, this is one of those things I arrogantly stated – “We will never be those people with kids between us in bed.”  But the reality is much more lax, and it started when Grace was so sick as an infant.  We try to never let our kids, no matter how sick or insistent, begin the night in our bed.  They, and we, just sleep better in their own space.  And we try to move them to their bed if they wake up in the night.  But some mornings, like this morning, that ideal flies out of the window and I’m stuck between the elbows and knees of two children.

Each of our girls sleeps in a certain way.  Grace sucks her right thumb while her left arm is wrapped around Eeyo’s neck and her hand scratches his left eye.  For real.  We actually have to patch the eye with band aids because it is worn down to the stuffing.  So as long as she has him, she can sleep almost anywhere.  We kept a childproof doorknob on the inside of her door until she was potty trained (at 3) because she is a night-wanderer.

One night I woke up and she was silently standing in the corner of our room watching me.  Hair in her face. Silent.  Nightgown on.  Straight out of a Stephen King novel.

Another night I woke up and Justin was sitting on the edge of our bed.  I knew this because he was flooded in light from our hallway.  It was 3:20 am.  I asked him what was going on.  He told me that he was working up the courage to walk around and check out the house – all he knew was every light was on.  We went out of our room together and literally, every light was on and Grace was sitting at the kitchen table quietly eating cereal out of a box.

So for obvious reasons we kept her corralled in her room until we were forced by her miniscule bladder to remove the childproof doorknob.

Rebekah is a snuggle-bug.  Even as a tiny baby she would scoot up to her bumper and sleep with her face and body pressed against the bumper (which increased this momma’s prayer life).  When she joins us in bed, she will scoot over until she is attached to us like a leech – her little arms and legs even tucked underneath.  Hilarious but absolutely not conducive to parental sleep (we are terrified to roll over her).  She sucks the two middle fingers of her left hand and we have loved that little sucking noise since she was an infant.  She is still stuck in a baby bed, and we are eternally grateful for that thing, so at this point we’re not sure if she will join her sister in nightly wandering or stay put.

They are both loud sleepers (which Justin says comes from me but I’m not so sure about that) and both radiate heat like my oven in mid-summer.  Most of the time, when Grace speaks up from right beside my head or Bekah cries loud enough for me to hear, I am so asleep that putting them in our bed just seems the easiest solution to get back to sleep as soon as possible.  But the reality is that sleeping with them in our bed is only really sleeping for the two of them (and Justin – who could sleep through a war).  I always end up hearing every movement, forced half-off the bed, sweating, with a sore back and circles under my eyes the next morning.

But there are moments, like early this morning, when I wake up to Bekah’s face right above mine – big brown eyes staring.  When my eyes opened she laughed and threw herself backwards onto her back, kicking her feet up in the air, then rolling directly into Justin’s side.  It was hysterical.  Or Grace, after pretending to sleep for minutes, will peek an eye open and say “Rebekah – be still – we’re sleeping!” in her most authoritative tone.

And in those moments, I love my kids with everything that is in me.  And I have to acknowledge that there will come a day where I will miss the elbows and knees in my bed.  So I snuggle close and give kisses and we begin a stealth campaign to wake daddy up so he’ll make us breakfast.

 

 

Beloved

I actually wrote this blog about a month ago – but have not had the courage to post it.  But this morning, reading this blog, I was given the courage to tell my story.  I am thankful for a God who reaches out to His girls and affirms that we are, indeed, His beloved.

I had an amazing encounter with the Lord about two months ago.  It came out of hurt and weakness, as many encounters do, and to tell you about it I have to be really vulnerable.  So, as an offering to my King, I will open up about this area of my life and pray that someone will join me in healing and hope because of this story.

One day in December, in a joking manner, my husband called one of my children my favorite.  When he said it, I became really defensive.  My walls instantly went up and I dwelled on this idea for days.  After I had gotten over my initial rejection of this idea, I began to look at my home and at my parenting honestly, and the truth is, he was right.  I was demonstrating some favoritism towards one of my children.  I love both of my sweet daughters – I truly love them equally.  But there is one of my children who was just more difficult for me to be joyful as I interacted with her.  I was more guarded with her.  I parented her more negatively than I parented the other child.  As I started dealing with this, I didn’t know where to go, but I felt the Lord lead me to Abraham.

Favoritism was rampant in Abraham’s family.  You look at the line of Abraham in the Old Testament, the price that is paid even today because of parental favoritism was incredibly costly.  It was a generational sin with great consequence, including competition between siblings, division in families, and marital conflict over the favored children.

So I acknowledged this sin of favoritism and frankly at first I felt powerless against it.  I went to the Lord begging Him for healing and confessing this terrible sin towards my daughter, and as I dealt with it in my parenting I began to look back to my childhood.

If I am brutally honest, I can look back at my childhood and it is clear that I was not favored when compared to my siblings by one of my parents.  That’s kind of strange to write.  It’s not so PC to talk about parental favoritism.  But I realized last month this is a reality I need to deal with.  This sin of parental favoritism is pretty easily identified in every branch of my family tree – including the wonderful home I grew up in.

Many years ago in therapy, I remember my therapist telling me to not be afraid to face hard truths, but simply to face them, acknowledge them, and move on.  She said that when we fear something and run from it, it has power over us.  But when we acknowledge it and decide whether or not we will give it the power to define us, we can have victory.

So last month I said all of this out loud, for the first time in my life.  I acknowledged that A) – there was favoritism that existed in our family, and B) that I was not the one favored.  I felt bratty and needy in a way that I really was not comfortable with.  But I said it.  And it was freeing.  I realized, in saying it, that it did not have the power to define me.

I had to deal with this truth because in not dealing, I gave it power, and I continued this sin into my family.  Acknowledging this in love and grace was hard, but necessary.  The brokenness in my family had become my brokenness without even realizing it – and acknowledging it was the first step in healing it.  This was a defining reality and likely has much to do with some insecurities remaining in me and with my competitive nature I have to fight to control, especially with my siblings.  So this isn’t something to mess around with – this is serious and I needed help from the Father to understand it and figure out what He was teaching me by revealing this, and then to get healing, for me and my daughter.

Because although it feels bratty to say outloud – I was hurt.  It did bother me.  I felt small.  Unloved.  Unworthy.  Unchosen.  Fundamentally flawed.

As the Lord began to open my eyes to this favoritism and to the history of it in our family, suddenly I wondered if the Lord wasn’t allowing me to feel this pain and this rejection because He was trying to wake me up to the pain I was causing my daughter and the rejection she was living with everyday.  In realizing this, my heart broke for my little girl.  I desperately wanted healing and to stop this sin of favor and rejection.

I didn’t know what to do with all of this.  So I wrote about it to my sister, who loves the Lord and is very wise.  I very tentatively wrote her a long email explaining where my heart was and why I was so broken over all of this.

My sister wrote back and lovingly, gently, and courageously affirmed my view of my childhood.  She wrote “You’re right” and in reading that – I suddenly felt this pain and this weight that seemed to pin me down.  Her words didn’t create that pain or that weight, but in reading her words I suddenly realized this pain and weight that had attached itself to me at some point in my past unacknowledged.  I read on in her email.  She wrote these words:  I have this picture of you where you’re just growing– in every way– getting bigger and bigger as He fills you and breathes into you more and more. Little pockets of poisonous air are being punctured and aired out, and even though it deflates you for just a second, He is quick to come in and start breathing into that part to re-inflate you, bigger and stronger than you were before.

As I read what she wrote, I stopped and closed my eyes.  I told the Lord how hurt I was, and how broken.  I told him that I felt rejected, unloved, and unchosen.  I asked Him to come into that place of hurt and to heal and mend my heart.  And I felt him do it.  I can’t explain it.  The pain and the weight lifted off of me.  Suddenly I heard in my heart “You are my Beloved.”  That is not a word I use, nor a phrase I connect with myself.  I believe I heard the voice of God in that moment affirming His perfect love for me regardless of my background.  I can’t explain, even now, what it feels like to again realize the perfect unconditional love of my Father.

That night I faced my past with the confidence of one who is loved.  I confessed hurt and anger towards my parents.  I confessed the sin of resentment towards my siblings.  I confessed the sin of favoritism towards my child.  I begged the Lord for healing.  I asked him for His perfect love to enter into my parenting.  I begged Him to heal the hurt I have already caused in my child and to give her a foundation of favor and perfect love.  As I went through this time of prayer, I felt weights lift off of me.  I felt light enter parts of my heart that were dark.  I felt cleansing take place in my soul.  It was an incredibly powerful time.  I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced anything like it.  I was delivered from something, and something was healed in me.  It was pretty amazing.

This all happened in the dark of our room late one night and early the next morning.

That next morning, my previously “unfavored” child came into my room.  I am telling you – I looked at her differently.  I felt my heart break for her.  Since that day, I have understood her better, had more patience for her, less anger, less frustration.  It has broken something in me. In the past several months, I haven’t lost my patience with her and my heart has continued to be soft when it comes to her – regardless of her behavior.  I feel her pain and understand her better.  And she is responding to that change.  I am so grateful to the Lord for every moment of this revelation.  He has used this knowledge and this reality to break something in me that needed to be broken.  I am so grateful that He chose to heal this part of me I didn’t even know was broken.

He has given me His grace towards my daughter.  His perfect, unending, delightful, overflowing grace.

And He has redefined me in that same grace.

I am His beloved.  And that label, and only that label, defines me.  And with His grace and His help, that will be the only label defining my children.

2010

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but this week I’ve been contemplative about what 2010 was and what I want 2011 to be.

2010 was… complicated. Difficult and deep in meaning. I’ve never experienced more stress and more grace, often simultaneously. Relationships died and new ones were born. Hope rose, was crushed in deep disappointment, and rose again. My sin and weakness was revealed – as was the unconditional love of my Father. He truly was my Sustainer this year.

It’s hard to write about, frankly. I am thankful for 2010 – and for the person God has made me on this side of it, but I am hopeful that 2011 is a new beginning.  I struggled for how to put it into words – and tonight this came pouring out of me.

I am not a poet – really.  So I’m not sure why this came out in verse.  But I hope it encourages someone on this road with us.

Bound tightly
Wound tightly
My hopes and dreams
Always paramount

Stuck in silence
Trapped in isolation
Me and my gods lay
Crushed and broken

Hope tattered
Lying desolated
Friends and family
Miles behind me

These “little” deaths
Weighing heavy
Feeling like everything
Ending suddenly

Reaching yearning
Hoping praying
“Silently” waiting
Screaming internally

“My God my God
Have You forsaken me?
Why is the world
Falling around beside me?”

Not courageous
Fears contagious
Dreams He gave me
Delayed in doubt

In the silence
Trapped in desperation
Heaving breathlessly
Broken heart pounding

A sureness A foundation
Unknown prior
Up out of ashes
Rising silently

Below the quaking
Inside the hollow
Beside the aching
Through the hurting

Stronger than denying
Silence deafening
Stillness radiating
Perspective elevating

Dead are rising
I am stronger
Broken Battered Lonely Shattered
none of this matters

In You

These “little” deaths
Seemingly insignificant
Died with meaning
For my good

A holy sacrifice
Given unwillingly
Used beneficially
For the resurrection of a soul

This has meaning
For me only
Hope is rising
Joyfully silently

This was harder
Deeper than expected
My dependence is terrifying
Weakness suspended

The core of me
After the shaking
On the other side of breaking
A holy God eternal

Peace beyond understanding
God in flesh demanding
The death of my humanity
My sinful heart made whole

Difficult and challenging
Often felt menacing
2010 was deafening
In the silence of my soul

 

A Year Ago This Week…

A year ago this week we were surprised when people from our church blessed us for Christmas.  Decorating the house this year was incredibly sweet as we thought back to the year we have had.

He has provided.  He has drawn us near.  He has moved even in the small details of our life.  He has blessed us beyond measure.  He has shown Himself faithful.

And truly, situationally, not much has changed in our lives.  Many of the things we were asking Him for a year ago we are still praying for today.  But our perspectives and our expectations have changed and this valley has become a place of intimacy with our God that we did not expect.  We are content – and for me, the planner, the worrier, the stubborn one, that is saying more than most of your realize.  But it’s true.  I am really grateful for this year.

It has been a year of drawing near to the Lord out of need.  A year of time-out in which I have realized how in need I am of His grace in each area of my life – my personality, my will, my marriage, my parenting of these sweet girls.  At the beginning of this year I did not know the deficiencies in me that needed to be corrected and the selfishness in me that needed to be rooted out.  I thought I was good and I thought I was ready for the next step.  I wasn’t.  I am so grateful that the prayers I prayed a year ago weren’t answered in the way I desired.  I wasn’t ready for the land I was asking the Lord to give to us.

So, on the verge of 2011, I don’t know if I am ready yet for the things I ask of our God.  But I do ask, and I stand in hope that He will continue what He began when we were married in 2006 – building a foundation in our hearts and our home that is strong enough to withstand the weight of our calling, for our girls and for the future Wells babies from around the world, in ministry at home and in the church we are called to serve.

I am excited about the future.  After the year we have had I can testify to Psalm 34:8:  Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. I could literally go on for pages and document how He has cared for us while we have taken refuge in Him.  The small gifts of grace.  The large blessings of abundance.  I will simply say this for those of you facing situations that threaten to overwhelm – He is good.

I am excited to see what 2011 holds.