Looking Back, Looking Forward

"Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him."--Oswald Chambers Don't you love new beginnings? If I am really honest, as much as I enjoy Christmas and all that goes along with the season, I think I actually breathe a sigh of relief when it's over. After we put away the new gifts, throw away the wrapping paper and finish the last of the leftovers, I am ready to start thinking about the new year. Not that we are big into parties and such, but for me, the new year is another clean slate, so to speak. It is always a good time for me to sit with the Lord to review the year just past as well as think ahead into what is to come.

So, what has God done this year? He has:

  • helped me to start this blog
  • allowed us to receive one offer on our home
  • given my husband and I an opportunity to serve together in a new ministry
  • provided opportunities for me to grow in my speaking and writing
  • allowed me to be published in a magazine
  • invited me to serve as a product reviewer for Eternal Encouragement magazine (my first review!)
  • been faithful in helping our family grow as we educate our children at home
  • watched over me as I dealt with some health scares and issues

He has also:

  • provided for our family's first time ever to Mt. Hermon family camp (on our bucket list!), a trip to Legoland and an overnight stay to Mission Inn
  • given us the strength to care for 7 children for a week
  • given us a new homeschool community that our whole family can enjoy
  • and last but not least, softened our hearts to bring in a new little girl into our family.

As we were eating Nutella Pumpkin Muffins  and bacon wraps this morning, we all agreed that this was an eventful year. We are now in the process of preparing our home for a renovation. My husband just turned in the plans from the architect right before the city offices closed. Hopefully they will be approved in a few weeks, in which case, we will be packing up our things for a temporary move so that construction can begin.

Also, over the last week, we received two important pieces of news regarding our adoption process. In my last post, I shared about being "matched" to Anah. This is a big step as it keeps others from adopting her (we've got dibs!). Then, on Christmas eve, we received the long-awaited I-797 from the USCIS (immigration services), permitting us to bring Anah home when the time comes.

At this point, we are awaiting the last couple of pieces of paperwork (our physical exams, which have been on hold because of my abnormal test results) to be notarized so that my husband can fly up to Sacramento next week to get our completed dossier certified by the state. After that, the dossier goes to the Chinese consulate in LA and then, it's off to China! We hope that will be done by the end of next month. We are thankful that, despite my (still) abnormal test results, we are moving ahead. I do have an appointment with a urologist in the meantime to see if any further follow up testing needs to be done.

As we look back on all that has transpired this year, we can see how God has blessed us so richly. I hope that you too will be able to see God's fingerprints all over your year, in both the big things and the small. Even if the year has turned up to be a "bad" one for you because of poor choices---either your own or other's---I hope that you will still take a step of faith, reach up to His hand, and allow Him to take you into the new year. I know I have done my share of poor decisions and have not always been faithful to Him. But like Jonah and Peter and many other "failures" before me, I know He will still take me in and give me a second chance. And He will do so for you too.

May this new year bring you and your family much joy and gladness in our Lord. Even if it hasn't been the greatest of years for you, I pray that you will continue to put your hope in Him who is the rock of our salvation.