Hello everyone we thought it would be fun to blog a Christmas letter this year instead of printing a ton out and putting them in the Christmas cards. I realized when I was about half way through with our Christmas cards that I was writing check out our Christmas story on our blog (instead of writing check out our Christmas letter) haha!
This past year has been very bitter sweet for our family. As we continued to mourn the loss of Melody and Madison, God continued to show us His faithfulness. People always say you guys are so strong how do you do it and my reply is always the same, we are not strong at all the Lord is the one carrying us through this. It has gotten easier as time has gone on but we will never forget our girls. We delight in knowing that they will be made whole in Heaven.
Kenya is doing great, I can't believe she is three now; time has just flown by! She is so excited to meet the new baby in fact she has taken it upon herself to name the baby. She chose to name the baby after her grandfather's cat whom she loves very much. The name she has chosen for our sweet baby is... Jealous! Haha she cracks us up. She has no clue being jealous is a bad thing, she just loves that cat and it's name and decided to call her baby brother or sister that. So we now all call the baby Jealous. I'm not sure what she is going to think once the baby is born and we tell her the real name. She also got 2 puppies for her birthday this year from my Mom but 2 was too many so we gave one back to my Mom. Kenya is the proud "Mommy" to one puppy now whom she named... Jealous. Yes our dog and baby have the same name :)
(we still have the black puppy)
As most of you know my little sister Destinee has lived with us for the past 3 years. We love her so much and it was such a blessing getting to watch her grow up. She has wanted to move back in with our (mine and her) Mom for a while so after much prayer and working out details she moved in with my Mom and Step Dad at the beginning of this school year. They live right down the street from us so we still get to see her a lot. It has been really neat to watch her relationship with my Mom be restored. She is a sophomore this year and just got her drivers license. I can not believe she is old enough to drive, in fact Destinee and I went to the store last night and she drove.
(Kenya, our (mine and Destinee's) Mom and Destinee.
I told her I was going to use this for the blog and that's how she posed)
Jason and I are doing great. We have been married for almost 5 years (I can hardly believe that)! Marriage has taught me so much over the last 5 years but this year I have learned more than ever what a joy it is to serve my family. I am so thankful that God has blessed me by allowing me to be married to Jason. I love spending time with my husband and I pray we would never take our time together for granted.
And the angel said to them [the shepherds],
"Fear not, for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For a unto you is born this day
in the city of David
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among
those with whom He is pleased!”
- Luke 2
We as a family desire to live to the glory of God, and we do this because we are convinced this is the best way to get the highest joy, indeed it is the very purpose we are created for... for God's glory. Like anything that makes people happy, we want to share it with you. Rather than reinvent the wheel I thought I would give you the words of one who has already said what we are wanting to share (from "Quest for Joy"):
Did you know that God commands us to be glad?
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)
1) God created us for his glory
"Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth,... whom I created for my glory" (Isaiah 43:6-7)
God made us to magnify his greatness - the way telescopes magnify stars. He created us to put his goodness and truth and beauty and wisdom and justice on display. The greatest display of God's glory comes from deep delight in all that he is. This means that God gets the praise and we get the pleasure. God created us so that he is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
2) Every human should live for God's glory
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God's value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).
3) All of us have failed to glorify God as we should
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
What does it mean to "fall short of the glory of God?" It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with his greatness and walked in his ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23). Since sin came into the world we have all been deeply resistant to having God as our all-satisfying treasure (Ephesians 2:3). This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God (Jeremiah 2:12-13).
4) All of us are subject to God's just condemnation
"The wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23).
We have all belittled the glory of God. How? By preferring other things above him. By our ingratitude, distrust and disobedience. So God is just in shutting us out from the enjoyment of his glory forever. "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
The word "hell" is used in the New Testament twelve times1—eleven times by Jesus himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.
If the Bible stopped here in its analysis of the human condition, we would be doomed to a hopeless future. However, this is not where it stops...
5) God sent his only son Jesus to provide eternal life and joy
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." (1 Timothy 1:15)
The good news is that Christ died for sinners like us. And he rose physically from the dead to validate the saving power of his death and to open the gates of eternal life and joy (1 Corinthians 15:20). This means God can acquit guilty sinners and still be just (Romans 3:25-26). "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Coming home to God is where all deep and lasting satisfaction is found.
6) The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust him
"Repent" means to turn from all the deceitful promises of sin. "Faith" means being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Jesus. "He who believes in me," Jesus says, "shall never thirst" (John 6:35). We do not earn our salvation. We cannot merit it (Romans 4:4-5). It is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is a free gift (Romans 3:24). We will have it if we cherish it above all things (Matthew 13:44). When we do that, God's aim in creation is accomplished: He is glorified in us and we are satisfied in him - forever.
Does this make sense to you?
Do you desire the kind of gladness that comes from being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus? If so, then God is at work in your life.
What should you do?
Turn from the deceitful promises of sin. Call upon Jesus to save you from the guilt and punishment and bondage. "All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). Start banking your hope on all that God is for you in Jesus. Break the power of sin's promises by faith in the superior satisfaction of God's promises. Begin reading the Bible to find his precious and very great promises, which can set you free (2 Peter 1:3-4). Find a Bible-believing church and begin to worship and grow together with other people who treasure Christ above all things (Philippians 3:7).
The best news in the world is that there is no necessary conflict between our happiness and God's holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus magnifies him as a great Treasure.
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Psalm 16:11)- from "Quest for Joy"