A new year always feels like a fresh page too me. Full of all sorts of possibilities. But before moving forward, I want to make my annual list for 2016.
The year in review:
- It was, within the past decade of my life, the most unexpected year of our life together. If you had told me last New Years' Eve that I'd be writing from a settled apartment in the heart of Barcelona, I am not sure I would have believed you. This move has the marks of kindness all over it, and yet I am still in awe of our lavish, intimate Father who gives gifts like this.
- It was the year we left our home of almost five years, and we left with both sorrow and joy. Sorrow over all that we lost in leaving a place and people we had grown to love deeply, and joy because God is the one who made us love it. The sorrow I have felt in this loss surprises me still. He made a way for us in a hard land, and it was beautiful to watch it unfold. His faithfulness was a marker moving forward.
- A verse that I will always associate with this year is Psalm 107:7, "He led them by a straight way til they reached a city to dwell in. " Our way forward could not have been straighter. In a season of uncertainty, we had clarity in all the right places.
- In our family life, 2016 was the year Asher learned to walk, talk, laugh big laughs (and throw big fits). Silas is all together a boy now, with very little trace of baby but an awful lot of winsomeness. Jude has grown in inches and understanding. His growth is perhaps the most startling to me of all. When I am alone with him, I remember how quickly this will all pass.
- It was the year when we made the unexpected trip home for five weeks of visa work and family time. We got to go to the beach with family, hug my sister spend time with cousins, see a few old friends, and enjoy the refreshment of being back in our hometown for a little while before starting again. We've even welcomed a set of grandparents in our new 'hood. Grateful seems a small word.
- Language study began again. And it's better this time around. Our brains are a little more stretched and the pressure is a little lower. The boys are at an age when their intake is higher and it's so fun to watch them grow into bi-lingual little men. Even Asher says "hola" now.
- Personally, if I had to use just one word to sum up this year, I would say it has been humbling. Humbling in the sense that I have met with my own sin and been brought low. I am not as good as I thought I was and it is very uncomfortable to behold. The gospel is for me, and I need it. I need it far more than I actually realized. It has been humbling to see the provision and care for our family through the body of Christ. At every turn, we have had just what we needed. It has been humbling to start over again in a place where we know very little of the culture. We are back at square one, and we have a lot of work before us. We are learners. It has been humbling to see the Father's abundant, kind, detailed provision for us. It hasn't just been provision either, but tiny detailed kindnesses from a Father who sees. Grace comes where we don't deserve it. The many good gifts this year have borne unmistakable marks of grace.
So we walk forward as those who have received much. There is work before us, and we are supplied the grace moment by moment to do it.