I’ve been cleaning out some places that haven’t been touched in a while and I have run across old cards, letters, returned checks and more… Such sweet junk… :)
One thing I ran across though that made me reflect, and laugh, was our Christmas letter to friends and family in December of 2007. Here it is… (I’m going somewhere with this… promise…)
My life is but a weaving, between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the under side.
Not ’til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned,
He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing this truth can dim,
He gives His very best to those who leave the choice to Him. – Author Unknown
This year as the Christmas season approached we found our hearts overcome by emotions. Simply put… this past year has been a ride.
About three weeks ago we moved, again, to another house located in Vandalia. It’s one-mile from the church where Stephen and I still work, FBC Vandalia. Our house is getting put in order as we speak and we did finally get our tree up and decorated. (It was up for about four days without a single ornament on it.)
The move though, was one of the simpler things this year. In early March Stephen’s grandfather, whom many of your know, Charles Betts, had a stroke. The four-months that followed were an up and down journey that ultimately ended when God called Papaw home on July 18th. Papaw’s illness caused so many ripples in our lives that we will never be the same.
We experienced such loss that at times it has been unbearable. Papaw was not just a papaw to us. He was our pastor, a mentor, our boss, a great-papaw, the constant, the rock of our family, and truly the most godly man that has ever touched our lives.
However, in the midst of everything God continues to move and work through our lives, the lives of our children, the lives of our families and the life of our church. Each day that has passed this year we’ve found a new strand being woven into our tapestry. Many of them we would not have chosen for ourselves.
However, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” We are resting and celebrating Christmas, knowing that one day the beauty will be revealed on the upper side.
This March we will welcome another baby into our family. This is yet another way that God showed His riches to us: As we experienced the loss of a great man, we were reminded that God creates life and sometimes during the most unexpected times…
I know this is a little longer than normal but our year hasn’t been exactly normal. Just yesterday I told stephen that I would really be content if in 2008 we didn’t experience life at all. I know that’s not feasible, but it was a nice thought. However, as we’ve looked back over the year, we can’t wish away any of the threads because they truly are working together and one day we’ll see the end results…”
So… laughable… “I would really be content if in 2008 we didn’t experience life…” Ha! 2008… 2008 we left everything we had know for 8 years (and really more like 22 for me…) and moved to a new town, new church, new job, new baby, new schools… new everything! It was a year of change.
Oh, how grateful I am that God has control and knows what’s best… 2007 was a tough year… 2008 was a growing year… both of those years accelerated our growing up… and maybe the grays… it toughened our skin, forced us into situations where wisdom was necessary, it tore our guts out at times, it forced us out of comfort zones, we cried, laughed, wanted to hit things, smiled and sometimes just sat puzzled… and those years played a part in the life we have today.
To look back and regret is a hard pill to swallow but to be able to look back, with a bittersweet smile, and see the path God walked with us on is invaluable… If you’re in a tough spot… keep walking… This year, 2015, has just begun and I am so excited… (a bit nervous and apprehensive too) about what this year holds… what paths our feet will walk, what stories will be written, and what threads will be woven into our lives…
One of my favorite verses right now is Isaiah 30:21: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Sometimes we don’t have the full directions printed out, we can’t see the right side of the tapestry… but we do have a Guide that is giving us the next step, the next turn… “This is the way, walk in it…”