Here we are at the end of another year. By the grace of God we've reached this point, to celebrate His hand in our past 12 months, and to look forward to the next 12 months, in all that they will hold.
As I looked back over our year, there were six "words" I found that somewhat described my year.
Persevere // Rhythm // Reach Out // For His Glory // Enjoy // Trust
As I began the year, I was drawn to this prayer in 2 Thessalonians and I wrote it in my journals as the year trudged on. I think I felt that this year would be different. The haze of the past years, transitioning back to life in Canada, was beginning to lift and there was a stirring inside my soul, ideas were floating around in my mind. One thing I knew was that in whatever He called me to, whatever work my hands or feet would do, I desired His glory to be made known.
Our Arrow Journey
In April, Brent and I graduated Class 47 of the Arrow Leadership program! It has been an amazing journey! We entered the program in the middle of life chaos. As we walked through these transitions, God used this program and the people surrounding us, to lead us into greater paths of self-awareness, healing, growth in our character and nearer to Jesus. Through the challenges we were facing in our personal lives, we had mentors who encouraged, prayed and counselled us.
Arrow President, Dr. Steve Brown writes in his book, Leading Me, that your most important and most difficult leadership assignment is leading you. These words impacted me deeply. John 15 teaches us that as we abide in the Vine, we will bear fruit; the focus is not on the fruit itself, but on the active, intentional decision to abide in Jesus. Leading others, means first that I lead myself well, into dependance on Christ alone, trusting His promise that fruit will come out of the abiding, out of the rhythm of being with Him.
This is an amazing program, I am so grateful to have been a part of it and for how God is using it in the lives of Christian leaders across the world.
In April, we had a big appointment with our transplant doctor. Throughout the previous months, we began the task of catching up on Samara’s immunizations. With her immune deficiency, she had no protection from diseases, so now after the transplant, we would discover how well her immune cells were working and whether or not they would respond to the vaccines by making antibodies.
So when April came, her immunizations were caught up, and it was time for bloodwork, to reveal if she did in fact, mount antibodies to disease. If not, we would likely be looking at repeating the bone marrow transplant.
We entered the familiar space of CancerCare. Honestly I was nervous. The stakes felt so high. She looked perfect on the outside, but what was going on inside her little body??
Her tests showed that yes!! she had responded positively to all the vaccines!! We praised God and rejoiced! So very thankful for the healing God has done in her little body!
There remains a theoretical risk that she could be more likely to develop auto-immune diseases, or certain types of cancers, but we leave fear aside and trust His perfect plans.
Our doc ended the appointment with “see ya next year.” So, now we carry on with life, like "normal" with no medications or treatments.
(Transplant Day - bottom; 2 Years Later - top)
The Rest of Life
As for the kiddos, Eliana is 8,Toby is 5 and Samara is 3. We’ve had a fun year with homeschool; learning letters, medieval history and multiplication. The kids enjoy the Awana program and playing soccer & hockey throughout the year. We did some camping this summer and we all really enjoyed the hiking, and kayaking we were able to do in new places; enjoying family time together, God's beautiful creation, and healthy bodies.
In November, we were blessed with an early Christmas gift...a trip to Disney World!! We went with my parents and sister's family. We so enjoyed spending time together at the parks. Brent & I would easily say that Epcot remains our favourite. The pavilions are so well done, and the cultures of the world so beautiful and unique, (plus all the great food!). The kids' favourite was Magic Kingdom; they enjoyed the rides and swimming at the resort's pool.
I’ve continued working part-time as a nurse in the emergency department. I enjoy my work, serving those in need, and am grateful for the ways God puts people into my life and for opportunities to pray. This fall I began at Providence Theological Seminary, in the Master’s program for Counseling Psychology. It’s been on my heart for a few years now, and I have really enjoyed all I have been learning and am excited for how God will use it in the future.
Brent continues as Associate Pastor at our church. He’s leading the youth program, overseeing the Sunday school and preaching on Sundays. As leadership, they have been navigating some changes in our church, so as that process continues, we pray for vision and direction.
This time of year often leads me into reflection and goal-planning for the year to come. So I will carve out some time to do that, to remember all that God has done and ask Him to continue to guide me in goals for the year to come, to open my heart to all He wants to teach me and grow in me and for greater awareness of all that He is doing around me, that I would join Him in it.
I pray as you reflect on the year, that you would be led by Him in your goals or resolutions for the new year and that you would continue to abide in Him!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
With Love and Blessings,
photo cred: Janet Haslam Photography
design: Shine Design