It's the time of year, reflecting on the greatest gift of our salvation in Christ and looking back through the year on the ways He's been at work in and through our lives. Though we've faced ups and downs this year, we've been grateful for the Lord's providence and sustaining grace.
Our family started 2021 continuing in a season of tight pandemic restrictions; our province here in Canada has consistently been high on the cautious side. The fact that our kids could continue in school, was a real blessing! (although they did close early for summer). Extracurriculars were on hold and church was online. The winter months were fairly quiet as life prodded along without the usual hustle and bustle. Truth is, while the pandemic has led to many challenges, it also gave us important opportunities to look at how we did life and discover blessings when the "doing" grinds to a halt.
My work as a nurse has primarily been in the ER/ICU, then after this year began, I accepted a new position as a mental health nurse-still working in the emergency department, but specializing with helping those in mental health crises. This role piggybacks with my seminary studies in counselling psychology, and while my work has been part-time, my studies have been as well. Obviously, there have been significant stressors and challenges in healthcare, which continue on as the holidays arrive, but as the Lord has placed me here for this time and season, I pray daily for Him to be glorified in my presence here.
Brent's role as associate pastor at our church has also had it's ongoing challenges this year, which ebb and flow parallel to the public health guidelines, as short-notice meetings get called whenever things change. As you can imagine, in this divisive climate we're living in, any shifts and changes always come with opposition. But I try to remember the weeks after the big lockdown finished, once we began meeting again in small groups, there was a strong sense of sweetness and joy worshiping together after a long absence. The unity we have in Christ will have to be fought for within our hearts, and become an intentional part of demonstrating our love for each other.
As the summer months arrived, Brent was blessed with a sabbatical, and we looked forward to spending some of that time camping. We'd planned lots of hiking and activities, but Brent sustained a knee injury, which - at first assessment - looked like a stress fracture, which could take months to heal. Grateful for the many prayers, we saw the Lord answer only a couple weeks later, when his pain improved and the X-ray came back clear!! A really hot summer meant many of the backcountry trails were closed, so we did less hiking than we would've hoped, but more time paddling and at the beach!
Celebrations of the year included our 16th wedding anniversary, our youngest daughter's 5 year transplant anniversary, and our oldest daughter's baptism - by the power of His sustaining grace alone. We've been so grateful to enjoy good health, which isn't something we take for granted.
This fall, our kiddos entered Grade 5, 2 and Kindergarten at our local public school and were really excited to return to sports-particularly enjoying martial arts and hockey.
Learning to hold our plans loosely has been a theme the last two years, along with practicing faithfulness in the areas God has given us. My prayer this year has been 2 Thess 1:11-12, "that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." This scripture has encouraged me to keep my eyes focused on bringing glory to God in all I do and practicing faithfulness in the small things.
I pray you and yours are well this holiday season, and that He would make you worthy of His calling, that He would fulfill your resolve and works with his power, that His name would be made great in and through you!
Grace & Peace,