What a year! 2011... a year of lots of firsts for us! We have SO much to thank God for. This year we have seen his faithfulness and goodness through some of the most challenging and exciting times of our lives...
I thought this would be a good opportunity to actually put into words what I am thankful for... I float through life so often unaware of God's daily common grace that he gives to us in so many small ways.
This year I am thankful for...
Our beautiful daughter - 2011 will be a year we never forget because it signified the arrival of little Ava Margrete and changed our lives forever. Gone are the days of being able to go where you want, when you want... but you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world. We are SO blessed with this precious little bundle. Her arrival has made me feel emotions I have never experienced before - uncertainty (what is wrong with her? Why is she crying?) fear (what if I ever lose her? How will I cope when someone hurts her?) Frustration (Why won't she feed properly?) but also incredible depth of love for this little helpless person who is so reliant on you for everything. My hearts prayer for her is that, while she is still very young, she will learn to love the Saviour for herself. We are so very grateful to God for entrusting us with this precious gift.
My marriage - This summer, Dave and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary... on christmas eve it was 4 years since we got engaged. I thank God every day for such a godly, generous husband and its been wonderful to see a different side of Dave as well since Ava has been born - Dave has become so protective of his little girl.
Family - I love being with family... we are so blessed to get on well with both sides of the fam and we love spending time with our Northern Irish, English and Norwegian family. Family is where we can be ourselves, where we can be completely relaxed, where we can laugh and cry and shout and smile. Family is where we're raw and real. I thank God every day for our families... for wonderful siblings and godly parents who are such an example to us. Thanks for all you are.
Friendship - We are so blessed with some wonderful friends who encourage us, pray for us, hold us accountable and are there for us through thick and thin. Friends like that are hard to find, and when you find 'em, you don't let them go... so thanks to all our friends. You know who you are and we are so grateful to God for you. Thanks for the good times this year - we look forward to many more!
Our Small Group - We are part of a small group at church who study the Bible every Tuesday evening together. This group has been such a support to us. We love studying the word together, praying with you guys and spending time with you... we feel very blessed to be part of a group which is so open and honest and real and we know how much we've grown as a result of being with you guys.
Beautiful creation - We have been privileged to see some more of God's beautiful creation this year - we holidayed in the Cotswolds in May, travelled to the fjords of Norway in October and had great time in Germany and Austria in December. This world is full of beautiful places and we took the opportunity to stand back and admire God's handiwork on a number of occasions... there's nothing quite like soaking in creation for restoring the soul!
Music - I'm so thankful to God for music - I appreciate music so much. Listening to it, playing it, singing along to it. Music speaks to my soul and I can't imagine a world without music! This year we had the immense privilege of playing/singing alongside Bob Kauflin at NWA - what a gifted and humble man he is, and what an incredible songwriter. Its inspiring to meet guys like Him and exciting to see how God is using him to write some great music for the worldwide church.
Creativity - I am so grateful to God that when he created people, he created us with the ability to create as well. There is something so satisfying about looking at something you've made yourself... all those hours invested are so worth it when you see the pleasure your creation brings someone else. Thanks to Nicole and the kids, I now have my beloved craft room where I while away many happy hours being creative. I'm grateful for the ability and resources to make.
The Gospel - I'm grateful I have someone to be thankful to... I realise I am totally undeserving of knowing the creator of the world personally... its pretty awesome to be able to say thank you to the person who flung the stars into space and allowed his precious son to die on my behalf... ultimately, that is what I am truly thankful for, because without Him, my life would be meaningless; all of the things I am thankful for would be great, but wouldn't have the meaning they do... so I'm thankful to God for sending His Son to die for me, for allowing me to know him personally, for blessing me beyond belief and for being my heavenly Father who I can run to with everything - the highs, the lows, the ups and downs.
So its been a big year, and I'm grateful to God for so much more than I've been able to talk about in this post. God is good and faithful and generous and blesses beyond our wildest imaginings.
Hope you are able to find the time to reflect on God's goodness to you this past year too,
Enjoy New Years Eve,