It's been a year of paradoxes in many ways... a year of respite after all the drama of 2017 (scary illnesses, complicated pregnancies, traumatic births, a premature baby, broken down cars, Heidi coming off meds, new jobs... you name it). In comparison, 2018 has been remarkably drama free, and yet, respite is probably not a word I'd use to describe this year... its felt, in many ways, like the busiest of my life... with growing children, three school runs a day, a business taking off and ministry opportunities, and there have been points where I've wanted to jump off the treadmill for a while.
We're still trying to figure out the balance on that one.
It's been joy-filled, really - family weddings (which I haven't even written about yet!!) and births, deepened friendships, new opportunities and seeing dear friends coming to Christ. It would be easy to view this year as one of blessing... and in many ways it has been (thought not entirely without drama!)
And yet, has this year really been any more blessed than the heartache that was 2013? Does "blessing" really depend upon the rollercoaster circumstances and emotions of life?
Dave and I spent last night leading our church in prayer and praise in response to Ephesians 1:1-14... and our Pastor reminded us of all the blessings we have in Christ. A drama free year was a welcome reprieve... and yet in all the highs and lows of the last few years, every single year has been blessed. Truly. Even in the valleys. Because our blessed-ness does not depend on our circumstances, but rather on the sacrifice of God's only son on an old wooden cross.
And that means, friends, that whatever 2018 has looked like for you - whether it has felt "blessed" or not... we can enter 2019 trusting that we will know and experience allllll the blessings of Christ if we are trusting in him... His blessings do not shift and change... they are not wavering. They are steadfast and sure, rooted in history and certain in the bedrock of God's faithful promises.
There is no greater hope and assurance as we enter a new calendar year!
So here's a little update on who's loving what, just because I like to document where we're at in 2018!
* Georgie (his snuggly bunny) that he got as a gift from NICU when he was born
* Books, books and more books... he loves a good story!
* Trying to stand on his head
* Bundling his brother
* Randomly going up to his siblings and thumping them for no apparent reason
Jonas (3 years, 6 months) is loving...
* Paw Patrols (woa, oa, oa!)
* Praying for his school friends by name (which makes his prayers pretty epically long at the mo!)
* Asking us every night (after he's been put to bed) how old he is
* Singing "Wriggly Nativity"
* Lego... for hours!
Heidi (5 years, 9 months) is loving...
* Performing "Mary Poppins Returns" numbers
* Sylvanians galore!
* The colouring book that Ava made her for Christmas
* Breakfast in bed
* Sleepovers with Ava every night in the holidays
Ava (7 years, 4 months) is loving...
* Board games - Cluedo Junior, Monopoly and The Orchard being the favourites!
* The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis - totally in Narnia-ville
* Finishing the 3rd Harry Potter book (we're on hold til she's a bit older with the rest!)
* Her church kids group
* Wobbling her teeth vigorously until they fall out! (she and Heidi have lost the same number so she's determined to stay ahead!)
* Cuddles with her cousin
Parenting these littles is an exhausting joy, and has taken up the vast majority of my energy and head-space in 2018. It's the hardest, and most wonderful, job I've ever had, and utterly humbling in the day to day... as we enter a new year, I feel like I'm more aware that ever of my weakness, and more reliant than ever on God's sustaining grace for the day to day... he is a good provider... and I'm so thankful to know that he holds them, ultimately, in his hands. It makes the baby steps to their increasing independence more bearable!
Thank you for your faithful reading this year... I'm so sorry it has not been more regular than it has been...a testimony to the busy season of life we currently find ourselves in... but I'll live, ever hopeful, that in 2019 I might show up here a little more than I did this year.
No promises... just a hope!
Happy New Year everyone!