One of my favorite Christmas traditions each year is to send out Christmas cards to our friends and family. I love every part of the process. Picking the perfect pictures to convey the year our family has shared. The colors, fonts, and even texture of the cardstock. Then the careful scripting of our loved one’s names and addresses. Sealing them with our family monogram in red or golden wax. It’s like selecting a little gift to give to our beloveds. And I love receiving Christmas cards just as much! December is the only time of the year that I actually check the mail. Bret knows not to open cards without me. I relish the sweet hand-written notes and smiling faces of our family and friends as I slip them out of the envelopes. Each December day brings more and I impatiently anticipate every single one!
So, I have to admit that I am more than a little bummed that we will not be sending out Christmas cards this year for the first time in 10 years. We are trying to save every dollar we can, so we decided not to send any. While I’m a little sad, I am also so full of joy and gratefulness to give up this small thing for this season of our life. AND thanks to this blog, I have the ability to send out virtual Christmas cards!
These pictures, you’ve probably seen some of them before, were going to be on our card. My precious precious precious friend, Bri Wooten, took these pictures for us. She has been one of the greatest God-gifts.
When I make our Christmas cards each year, I always add a family update so loved ones faraway can have a snapshot of our year. It usually details some of the places we have traveled, big events, or things we have accomplished. While we did do some bucket-list traveling in 2018, and some BIG things happened in our family, I want to focus more on what God has done in our lives than what we have done this year. As I read through the Psalms last month, verse after verse after verse stressed telling others of what the Lord has done. Each one jumped out at me as if inviting, demanding that I tell. Let me tell you what my God has done for our family in 2018:
- God told me to stay home with Clara this year, to take this precious time with her, to leave my dream job teaching, to find contentment in serving my family, to give up the financial safety net of my added income. He asked me to trust Him and He was faithful. He directed Bret to make this decision for our family (I was terrified) and provided him with wisdom to make it happen.
- God healed my mother of breast cancer. He gave her strength and peace during one of the most difficult times of her life. He allowed me to be there for her and to care for her over the summer through her diagnosis and double mastectomy. He sustained me with a supernatural surety that she would be just fine and took away all fear. He asked me to trust Him and He was faithful.
- On July 15, God absolutely broke my heart for adoption and said that it was time to start looking for our second child. Bret wasn’t ready yet, but the Lord gave me patience and I prayed for him daily. God told me to trust Him with Bret’s heart, and He was faithful.
- We celebrated the achievement of a goal two years in the making: we are debt free (except for the house)! God told us to trust Him with our finances, to give and tithe out of every paycheck especially when it’s hard, to be obedient, and He was faithful to provide.
- In August, Satan attacked our marriage by revealing a corrosive sin. We fought with the Sword of Truth, cried out to our Father. God told us to trust Him and He was faithful and chains of sin were broken! The Lord strengthened our marriage. This trial was hard, it still is sometimes, but what was meant for evil, the Lord has used for good!
- On September 12, the Lord gave Bret the decision to adopt after much research and prayer and seeking out the wisdom of others. Within four days we applied to an agency and were accepted just days later. With acceptance, we were told we needed to immediately pay just over $4,000. We weren’t expecting this, but God was. He told us to trust Him and he was faithful to provide.
- Let me tell you how our God, Jehovah Jireh, has provided financially for our adoption this year! He has used our friends and family and strangers and the most amazing life group on the planet, to raise over $5000. My brain can’t even comprehend this. Just today, I prayed for provision for our next fees and in the mail a friend sent us $200. I don’t think I will ever stop crying over the gifts that have been bestowed on us and our family so generously. God asked us to trust Him with the finances of this adoption, it made no sense to us. We had just gotten out of debt, we had plans to pay off the house, we were fully embracing that Dave Ramsey way of life, we were just starting to save money for the first time and God said to give it all to Him, to trust Him, and ya’ll, He has been so so faithful.
Psalm 47:6 exclaims, “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.” Father, you have been so gracious and kind and patient and loving to us and we don’t deserve a bit of it. We praise you for 2018, for what you have done! We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next year. May we glorify your Name and grow closer to you in the coming year, whatever it takes. We trust in you because you are faithful!
God loves you right where you are. The greatest gift the world has ever known is His sacrificial Christmas gift to us, Jesus Christ. When you posses a gift that big and that beautiful and that costly and that life changing, you can’t keep it to yourself. The Maker of the universe loves you and sent His son to die for you. And me. It doesn’t even make sense. Do you have this heart gift? If you do, how will you trust God and allow Him to use you this year? How will you tell, show the nations of His love, His gift?
Peace be upon you and Christ’s love within you. Merry Christmas, beloved!
The Medlin Family