I am so grateful this year because though there have still definitely been some hard things to walk through, this year, I think we turned a corner. The good things were more frequent than the bad things, and the good things were bigger good than in a long time. I know I personally learn so much more through the hard times, but with the stretch we’ve had, I am just deeply thankful for this past year’s goodness and peace.
Jack is a sophomore and turned fifteen. He got his driver’s permit on his birthday. With a half year to go still, he has already racked up his required fifty hours, driving every single time we’re in the car together. Jack went to camp this summer again in Wisconsin. He participated in his fourth and final free-throw fundraiser for Feed My Starving Children, with a four-year total of over $10,000 raised which translates into just under 46,000 meals provided. He is continuing to play basketball this year for school and loves it. I am so grateful for the young man he is turning into.
Sara is a junior and just turned seventeen. This has been a huge year of firsts for her. She got her ears pierced, got baptized, and went on her first mission trip to Nicaragua. She and I also took a quick girls’ trip to New York City this summer, which was an absolute blast. She is the assistant yearbook editor (interesting…just like her mama was). And it’s looking-into-colleges time. Scary, but true. She is beautiful inside and out, and she continues to bring so much joy to my life and our family.
I am so proud of and totally adore both of them. They are such gifts to me. Together, we started the year in Las Vegas (and will end the year the same way), this summer we spent a few days in our favorite little town in Michigan, and we went to California for my brother’s beautiful wedding. Lots of travel and fun experiences.
And despite some continued bumps, I have had a really wonderful year. I just celebrated one year at my new church, where I was asked to be a part of a panel on creativity & pain back in the spring, and where I just wrapped up leading a sweet small group of women. I’ve also spent the year focusing on helping hurting women by continuing to speak, write, lead retreats, host small groups in my home, and even some radio and TV interviews to support my book coming out. But I’ve also had some quieter, sweeter moments as well with my kids and friends and family and God, and that is what I’m most grateful for.
These words from the Christmas story have continued to amaze me and come to life for me this year, and my hope is that you will find encouragement for yourself as well.
“…you have nothing to fear…God has a surprise for you…” (Luke 1:30, The Message)
Much love and gratefulness this holiday season,
Beth, Sara & Jack