‘Tis the season…this has been the theme for our family this year. As I reminisce over the past 12 months and wonder where the time has gone, I see that it has been a season of uncertainty, change, and joy. Then I am reminded that, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
The first of January we took the children to Gatlinburg, TN for a week. We hiked, played games, sat in the cabin and watched it snow. It was a great way to start the new year. When we returned we embarked upon a new season of life. Dana began bi-vocational work for the first time in his ministry. Since 2004, he has been so blessed by being able to focus on ministry and pastor full-time, but for reasons we cannot fully see yet God has seen fit to bring about this new season. He has always directed our path and this year has been no different. God opened the doors for Dana to be able to start up a mowing/landscaping business for a friend. It has been a great opportunity, but also quite consuming. We are learning to adjust as a family and are most thankful that our church has been so understanding as Dana is learning to balance it all.
Aaron began working with Dana in April. He has proven to be a trustworthy and diligent worker. He turned 18 in September, bringing about another season of life for all of us. He is learning some responsibilities of adulthood and we are learning how to parent an 18 year old senior in high school. In July Aaron spent 2 weeks in Los Angeles at YWAM. It was a good, eye-opening opportunity. We are very proud of him and nothing brings more joy than to see him following the Lord and turning into the man God has called him to be.
For the past 6 years I have spent most of my extra time on research and writing, but this year most of it was put on hold to have more time to help Dana with the business. So, for this season I have been given the title of “office manger” to my already “beloved wife & help meet” and “mother & teacher” titles. In March the children threw me a surprise 40th birthday party at Olive Garden with family and friends. It was a week early and completely caught me off guard. Abigail and I spent our birthday on the road with friends. I set up a booth and sold books for three days at the St. Louis Homeschool Convention. We had some great girl bonding time. Then this summer a friend from church went with me to the gulf where I spoke at a ladies retreat. It was 4 days on the beach studying the Word of God – another great trip.
Dana and I took a couple of trips alone this year. The first was to Mississippi where he was asked to preach at a preaching conference. We then headed to the coast to check on our house and spend a few days relaxing on the beach. In October we were blessed with another get-a-way to the Pastor’s Oasis in Branson.
Abigail turned 15 and started driving this year. She is in 10th grade and doing great in school. She loves to read, sing, and (when I encourage her) play the piano. She is a huge help around the house and has been blessed with the gift of organization, which we all appreciate and benefit from. I depend upon her a lot and am truly grateful to have such a sweet daughter. Every year we see her living up to her name which means “Father’s Joy.”
Andrew turned 12 this year and is in 6th grade. He loves being a part of Trail Life USA. It is a great organization that meets at our church once a week.
In January he started Taekwondo and is currently a blue belt. So in other words, you will either find him in the woods with camping gear and his guns or bow and arrows, or you will find him wearing his dobok practicing patterns and sparring with Aaron. One of our greatest joys this year was his salvation. We celebrated on Resurrection Sunday with Dana baptizing him. We rejoice greatly that all of our children are saved, baptized, and growing in the Lord.
We have been living back in Northwest Arkansas for 3 ½ years now. After much prayer and some open doors we decided it was time to buy a home. So one week before Christmas we moved into our new home embarking upon a new season of life that we are very excited about and truly thank God for.
What I have learned this year is that the only thing that never changes is the Lord God and His love, truth, and promises. Everything else in life will change. Sometimes it is good; sometimes it is bad. But nevertheless, change is inevitable. But this I know, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him,” Ecclesiastes 3:14. What a sobering reminder that God is in control of every aspect of life and that we should daily acknowledge Him with holy, filial fear. He alone is worthy!
May you and your family have a wonderful New Year and may 2015 bring about changes in each of our lives that continually conforms us to the image of His precious Son, Jesus Christ.