Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 - A Year of Strengthened Hope

Christmas - a celebration of HOPE incarnate and in our hearts!
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”
And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”
And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:8-13 ESV)
We have hope because Jesus Christ was born, grew up a sinless man, took our punishment for our sins through His death on the cross, and rose again victorious to be our King - our Savior!

As we reflect over the events of this past year, we realize that it is our HOPE in Christ that has brought us through a very dark and difficult year.  A hope in God as our deliverer through the shadows of death, the miry pits, and the deep trials of our souls.  We have been made to "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12 ESV).
"Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!" (Psalm 119:116 ESV)
It has been a challenging year for David with his health, but we have also seen God work in wondrous ways answering our prayers.  From March-August, David had several major bacterial infections despite his weekly antibody transfusions and daily antibiotic use.  The amount of antibodies infused into his body was increased without an improvement.  Finally, after the 11th tonsillitis infection in a year, David had surgery in September to have his tonsils removed.  We feared his infections would move lower to his lungs since his previous surgeries to remove problematic areas only caused the infection to move elsewhere.  However, God answered our prayers.  The surgery was a success, and David has been infection-free since the surgery.  He is a very active, happy, tender-hearted 6 year old boy.  He is in first grade at West-Mont Christian Academy.  He has been playing the violin now for a year and is doing an amazing job.
My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:81 ESV)
Joshua has had a very difficult year but in other ways.  Still struggling with the anxiety over my migraine illness, Joshua's mental health became very unstable.  Joshua struggles with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This year, he has also been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Mood Disorder (aka, Bi-Polar) and ADHD.  He had to be hospitalized in a child's psychiatric hospital in February for 12 days and in November for 14 days for re-stabilization and medication adjustment.  He has been doing very well since his last hospitalization, and we are praising the Lord for the wisdom of the doctors and success of the therapies.  We still have therapists who come to the house to work with us and Joshua and a team of doctors caring for Josh.  Mental illness is not for the faint of heart.  Our hearts grieve to watch Joshua suffer so much, but we know that God is working all of this for Josh's good and God's glory.  Joshua is now 8 years old and in third grade at Franklin Elementary School.  He plays guitar and is learning the recorder this year.  He loves to write music.  He continues to excel in academics.  Joshua loves to tell others about Jesus and makes us so proud of him when he tries so hard to obey and glorify God.
You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114 ESV)
I have now been struggling with migraines/headaches now for over a year and am still without a diagnosis or any answers.  A repeat MRI in April showed the brain lesion has grown slightly and 2 new spots are forming in a different part of the brain.  At this point, all of the life-threatening/altering diagnoses have been ruled out.  I will have another MRI in April 2013 to monitor for changes.  We are praising the Lord that the head pain has lessened considerably since I began taking Vit. B-12 and magnesium supplements in October.  Despite the pain, I continue to advocate for Josh's special needs and care for David's health needs while continuing to work part-time as a pediatric special needs nurse for Personal Health Care, Inc, a home health agency.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:22 ESV)
Tim continues to be the anchor of our family, caring for our spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, and psychological needs with God's strength.  He has had another successful year as a financial adviser for the Life Financial Group.  To celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, he arranged for us to have a few extra days alone in Istanbul when we were in that area for a ministry trip.  He also organized a family vacation in New York City this summer.  These were 2 highlights of the year for our family.

As we look to the future we resolve with the psalmist: "But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more." (Psalm 71:14 ESV)

We encourage you to reflect on the hope we have in Christ.  If you don't know about this hope, please ask us.  We would be happy to share this blessed hope with you.  If you already know this hope, don't lose hope!  Cling to the unfailing promises of God!

May this always be true of you:  “'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him'.” (Lamentations 3:24 ESV).
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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