2018 Reflections

It’s New Year’s Day.

Due to too much Mountain Dew (in attempts to keep me alert until midnight), a neighboring hotel hosting the town’s biggest NYE party around causing my house to vibrate a little bit (that continued well after the fireworks), children who kept remembering things they left outside after we’d locked the doors and gone to bed, a movie I felt the need to finish, and an uncontrollable apparent addiction to watching random video clips on Facebook, I did not sleep much.  The last time I allowed myself to look at the time on my phone, it was 2:43am.

So I slept in.  And took a morning nap.  No shame.

After the boys and I ate lunch, we did a little reflecting and dreaming together.

Some may think that children are too young to participate in such big reflections, but I totally disagree.  I say, let’s teach them to ponder at an early age, at their level of capability.  Modeling, right?

In November I sought out my Facebook people for Advent ideas to do with kids that were focused on Scripture (not about chocolate or simply a countdown or something).  I ended up putting together a little conglomeration of ideas that were sent my way.  One friend suggested a reading schedule from Living Free Indeed which also included a simple paper that isn’t really about advent, but New Year reflections.

The pdf has two columns.  One says God did this, and the other says God please do this.

I took some time (post-morning nap, pre-lunch, while the boys watched a Christmas movie one last time) to think through my responses alone.

After lunch, I showed the papers to my boys and asked them for their responses.

In 2018 they saw God bring them to a new school and make new friends.  (Something I was also super thankful for in 2018.)  They saw God give our family a BIG opportunity that we are excited about.  (Sorry, not divulging the details yet, until my latest newsletter is released….but it is something that I also listed as a major thing God did.)

My list also includes our family getting connected to a new, little church in this town that has been really good for all three of us.  It’s starting to fill a gap that I’ve felt for a long time personally, and for them.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been attending church all along, but it hadn’t quite fit until now.  Some things I love is that the boys are making friends, getting excited about giving, and focused on memorizing Scripture.    On Christmas Day they were able to play their guitars for the holiday service, which was a special treat.

Additionally, we have seen miraculous progress in our adoption journey so far.  Throughout most of the year, it felt like we were going nowhere, but God has opened several doors lately.  I attribute it completely to prayers of our little family, some people dedicated to praying for us, and new friends who have offered powerful prayers.  Many times when people (especially us missionary types) are doing some kind of fundraising and ask for financial contributions and prayers, our secret mental reaction can be something like this:  right, you are just asking for prayer to sound spiritual and not exclude people who are not giving, but really you hope they will give money, if not now, at least sometime in the future.  But I am so serious when I say, it is the prayers that are making the difference in this process.  Prayers are what are moving the hearts of people, aligning divine encounters with key players, keeping me hopeful, and so much more.  In October, I felt a surge in this pilgrimage of prayer, and God moved immediately afterwards in ways I am still a bit shocked about.

(Now I am going to talk about money….hahaha…missionaries…)  Last year I was not fully funded according to my budget and my list of committed supporters, but we have always had enough to meet our needs.  We’ve had countless unexpected expenses, yet they were paid in full.  Forty days ago, I started a GoFundMe fundraiser for our adoption expenses, and we have had thirty people give, totaling $5,701! (That averages out to $190/person….incredible!)  I am seriously amazed by peoples’ generosity.  These gifts have come from long-time friends, family members, former students, people I haven’t actually talked to in years, and even people I have never met in person.  It’s just absolutely amazing to watch God move in the hearts of other people, in support of what He started in our lives.

I have many more sitings in my God did this column…But let me move on.

When I asked the boys what they would want on the God please do this side, the first answer was the adoption.  Yes, yes, and amen.  Please God, finish the adoption this year!  They also desire to see God give them more friends.  Now, don’t think they don’t have friends.  I’m pretty sure the twins haven’t met a child from infancy to about 15 years that they haven’t considered a friend after a few short minutes of interaction.  So maybe this was just an expression of their love for people.  Or maybe it’s a longing for deeper friendships.  I’m not sure.

For myself, I am also expecting God to strengthen friendships this year.  Additionally, I have hope the adoption will be completed in 2019 (meetings, details, paperwork, funds, documentation, etc.).  I have several other hopes on my second column as well.  And I’m confident that God will be working in all of those areas.

After we talked about it all, all three of us took turns to pray through our reflections.  As one of my boys started praying, I almost wished I’d recorded it.  So sweet.  He was thanking God for the things we had discussed, which He has done for our family.  Then he prayed for the things we are hoping for in 2019, confident that God will do it for us.  His brother prayed next, including words that are often heard in their prayers: God, thank you for all the people who send us money so we can have the things we have, and pay our school fees.  I ask that the government should allow Aunt Lisa to be our mother.  I went on to pray for each and every thing on our two long lists, despite the beginnings of squirrely movements at the table.

I don’t always get very reflective at the start of a new year.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am not a resolution girl.  Yet this year, I just can’t seem to escape from pondering the last 365 days, and dreaming about the next.  The three of us are really so thankful for all God has done in 2018, and are so hopeful for what is in store for 2019.


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