December 31, 2006
Scrolling through my archives for my entry one year ago, I was amazed to see that I actually managed to record a month-by-month summary of the year. I don't have it in me this year. To go back and piece together the days and activities seems like too much work. Instead, I will call this simply a year of living well--a year of healing, freedom, and joy.
The healing comes mostly in our church life. Previous years, especially 2005, were tumultuous, usually gut-wrenching and extremely painful. And yet it's amazing how even a tiny bit of expectation can keep one coming back. All of our years of struggle have finally settled into something good. A year ago this week, we were introduced to our potential new minister, and shortly thereafter, he was voted in with 100% agreement by our congregation. Unity itself was a word that, until then, was foreign to our congregation. With our new minister came healing. The day that Jesse was baptized, March 26, brought it all together: our new minister's first day, our interim minister's last Sunday, and the day that our former minister and his family--precious friends of ours--moved to Indiana. Randy baptized Jesse; my father presided over his first communion; and old became new in so many ways. Throughout the months since then, the healing has continued. In the summer, a prayer was answered nearly immediately. I began to pray that a family would come into our church that would be good friends for Randy and me, and I continued my prayer that the Lord would send a friend for Laurel at church. Who knew that the answer was right in front of me? As I told my friend Tammy of this one hot day while we watched our children play, she said, "We are looking for a new church." They've been coming ever since, and we are still amazed every week when we look at the pew next to us and see our sweet friends. So the healing continues, as does the sense of expectation. Beauty from ashes.
The freedom comes in two parts: finances and responsibilities. A year ago we began Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover in earnest, and the freedom that comes from being financially responsible is amazing. No longer do we nervously write checks or pull out the credit cards with a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs. Taking control of our finances is the most freeing action we've ever taken. The second part of the freedom comes from giving up so many responsibilities this year. For years we've taught Sunday School and been Small Group leaders, and I've been in double leadership in our support group: as part of the council and as part of the enrichment team. In the summer I turned in all my badges except for American Heritage Girls--and I've been relishing this shedding of skins.
And the joy seeps through the whole year. Joy in my sweet children in so many ways. Joy in my marriage. Joy with friendships that just keep getting better and better. Joy in my parents, and in the deep blue of the mountains in the mornings. Joy in this season of life, when sweetness is tangible and prolific, when one child still needs his bruises kissed, when another wakes you with the smell of coffee she's learned to brew, and when one joins the adult table for conversation, crossing easily from child to young man. Joy in simply living this good life.