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The holidays took us to Florida – a 40 hour van ride one way (the equivalent of one full work week…and we had to come back, think about that for just a moment)! The kids did well and we had a lovely time visiting with friends along the way there and back and hanging out with family doing Florida stuff. Then we jumped back in the van and drove to my sister’s so that we could celebrate family with my side. Phew!!

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I like to take a look forward and back as I sit on the brink of a new year but that didn’t happen as I expected…

In fact, none of 2013 went as I expected!

I had this lovely phrase that was to be my WORD for the year – Grace-full Discipline.

It sounds pretty and lofty and unattainable. At least that’s how I saw it as the year closed.

I wasn’t more disciplined.

My house wasn’t cleaner.

My finances were a mess.

My home-schooling was teetering on disaster.

I could count on one hand the number of exercise events I participated in.

I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt like I had failed miserably.

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But God…

I love those times when he chooses to but into my negative thought patterns and remind me of the truth.

Yes 2013 wasn’t the prettiest year on record in any way, shape or form. There were too many people that suffered from cancer, some of them died. There were too many hard decisions. There were unmet expectations and small disasters.

He disciplined me…gracefully.

He showed me where I was sinning and needed to repent.

My phrase took on a whole new meaning that I hadn’t anticipated.

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These first weeks of 2014 have found me on my knees repenting over the sin that he has so gently shown me. I think I am ready now to receive fully his grace-full discipline. I needed disciplining whether I realized it or not.

I had fallen into rebellion and laziness and just generally muttering and complaining over my lot. That isn’t his way. It’s not what he wants from me. I needed to come to the end of my strength so that grace could flow in and fill up the gaps.

This year the word that he gave me is

DECLARE!

There is a song that I used to sing when I was a children’s pastor. The idea comes from scripture even though the exact wording doesn’t.

“I will declare, the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living!”

I pray that this is what you will find me doing here on the blog this year, declaring the goodness of the Lord despite the circumstances I find myself in.

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Today we learned of the passing of my husband’s uncle John. This guy began his kingdom work early on making disciples and evangelizing as he went. There is a vast web of influence that was created by Uncle John. His most recent endeavours took him and his lovely wife Ev to the Ukraine to work among the orphans. They were here these last months getting ready to go back to the Ukraine, not to go to glory but that is what happened.

I can declare that the work that Uncle John started will continue, that his legacy is far from dead even though his body is.

I can declare that there is no doubt in my mind that his reception into his heavenly home was met with a well-done.

I can declare that we will miss him ever so much, his wisdom, his commitment to prayer, his love for Jesus and his desire to make him known will leave an aching void here on this side of glory.

He is really living now, though, declaring the goodness of the Lord.

I will introduce you to Uncle John’s project a little later this week, I don’t have all the information in front of me at the moment. Stay tuned, I would love to share with you a beautiful work that God is doing in the Ukraine among the orphans there…

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