It was about this time last year when God began whispering the word “Abundance” over me. Scripture verses, snippets of songs, and phrases containing the words abundance would fill my heart and mind. Since I had been praying for God to give me a verse for 2014, I soon realized that the verse would contain the word abundance. It seemed ironic to me that God would choose the word abundance, because in 2013 I had staged a mutiny against excess in my heart and life. I had committed to not spend any money on myself for an entire year. Why? I wanted to make room for God. I wanted complete dependence on him to see his provision. So imagine my curiosity as my year of self-denial in 2013 was being replaced with a new year of abundance.
“How abundant are the good things the Lord has stored up for those who fear him;
good things to be given for those who seek refuge in Him.”
In January we began to have an abundance of problems around the house. The heater in my car was broken and the tub drain leaked flooding the laundry room. Then, the heat pump stopped working during an 18 inch snow storm leaving us without heat for eight days. To make matters worse, we ended up owing more money in taxes! All these problems left me feeling frustrated. An abundance of problems was not what I was expecting! Through it all God abundantly provided. Sometimes he provided supernaturally, other times he provided extra shifts and overtime for Chris and I to earn the necessary extra money. If there was one thing God taught us, it was that faith in God includes faith in his timing!
“When you can not trace God’s hand
you must learn to trust his heart.”
As I reflect on the past year, I realize that God chose 2014 to answer an abundance of prayers! Prayers prayed often and by a faithful few. God not only answered prayers in the lives of our family but also our friends. Chris has not traveled nearly as much this year and God provided an opportunity for him to move into another position within the company. Having daddy home more and happier is a huge answer to prayer! For years I’ve prayed for three different sets of friends; one to meet God’s chosen help mate, the second to expand their family (either by birth or adoption), and the third to be approved for an international adoption. The answer to prayers began in May when my dearest friend married! Months later our friend’s family expanded with the birth of another baby girl! Finally, our third set of friends became the new parents of 7-year-old twin girls from Bulgaria. Thanks to modern technology we were able to watch a video of the girls running across the plaza into the arms of their new parents. My favorite part was hearing the camera woman singing in a thick Bulgarian accent “BRAVO! BRAVO!” I do believe all of heaven was also crying and singing “BRAVO! BRAVO!” to each of these answered prayers!
As I spent the afternoon reading previous Christmas letters. I smiled at all the references of home repairs, Jeep repairs, and Chris’ projects. This year was no different. I failed to mention earlier that when everything was falling apart in our home we were in the middle of a kitchen remodel. Pots and pans were everywhere and the stove was on the back deck. We painted our cabinets, re tiled the back splash, installed new counter tops, lights and fixtures. Our latest project is almost complete. Our wood paneled family room began to feel dark and dated. (If you need a visual, think of the Brady Bunch family room.) With Chris’s carpentry skills and a couple cans of paint, we radically changed the feel of the room. I am so thankful to be married to someone who can build. Even as I type this letter I hear the sound of a wet saw in the background.
This summer we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in Ocracoke, NC. This year we convinced my parents and my sister and her family to join us. It’s been twenty-four years since my parents took a vacation. I’d say they’re past due! Soon after digging our toes in the sand, my mom turned to me and said, “Next year when we come…” I will forever cherish the memories of all the grand kids burying my dad in the sand, riding bikes with my sister, Chris grilling burgers from the back of his custom made by him Jeep trailer, and watching my mom truly relax! The rest of the summer passed quickly and quietly except for the hollers of “Cannonball! Or Hey, watch this!” <Splash!>
The school year took off like a bolt of lightening and we were ill prepared for the rapid pace school sports presents. Andrew is 11 (soon to be 12) and is in the sixth grade which means he started <insert gasp> MIDDLE SCHOOL! Andrew made the Middle School soccer team at RVCS and he played for the local recreation team and there went all our free time! From August to mid-October he played soccer six days a week. His hard work was abundantly rewarded. His local rec team went undefeated two seasons in a row while the Middle School team won the championship! What a great way to begin middle school!
Rachel is our 9-year-old free-spirited child. She dances through life without a care in the world. Her world is filled with rainbows, clouds, music, giggles and anything that sparkles. I wish I had just a sliver of her carefree attitude. Rachel’s sport is softball which she plays in the Spring. This year her coach focused Rachel’s training on playing the position of pitcher and first base, which Rachel loved. We were excited that Rachel could add the completion of Suzuki Violin Book One to her list of accomplishments this year. She has temporarily laid aside the violin, but she continues making music with the piano.
You know the old cliché about teaching old dogs new tricks. Well, I took the advice of my physician to learn something new and began violin lessons from Rachel’s teacher. Learning to play the violin at 39 is hard, but most days I enjoy the challenge that it brings. The violin is a very technical instrument to play, which I never knew until I played it for myself. Rachel plays it with such ease and grace that she really does make it look easy. I am glad I have Rachel as my in home tutor to help me practice. It has been fun to play dueling violins or play a duet with me on the violin and Rachel on the piano. My first violin Christmas program in next week and I am very nervous. Rachel keeps telling me to relax and have fun. Hmm, I wonder where she heard such great advice?
Today, I noticed baby Jesus was missing from one of the wooden popsicle stick/clothespin nativity ornaments for the Kindergarten class. I retraced my steps from the classroom to the volunteer work room, but no Jesus could be found. I rubbed my finger over the wooden stick and felt no glue. I wondered if I’d forgotten to include Jesus to this piece. There, in the workroom I could feel the Holy Spirit stir inside me. This humble wooden ornament is meaningless with out the Christ child just as Christmas is also meaningless without Christ. Later tonight I discovered the missing piece on my craft table. I had accidentally left it out. Dear friend, I pray that you would examine your heart to see if Christ is missing. Has he been accidentally left out of your Christmas? If so, invite him in. Jesus really is the only reason for the Christmas season.
From our family to yours,
Chris, April, Andrew, Rachel White
(Guinness and Kinsey too)