From our 2014 Thanksgiving letter:
If I write about all that happened in the past year, I could fill far more than a page. Even if I stay on the specific topic God placed on my heart for reflection this past year, I could fill volumes! It amazed me how deep and intricately God intertwined “humble” into the year. I am grateful He did. I have witnessed much this year that has changed and continues to change my perspective.
“Humility is a strange thing. The minute you think you’ve got it, you’ve lost it.” E.D. Hulse
Before I start, please know that I am fully aware I have so far yet to go. The quote above hits the nail on the head—when you think you’ve achieved that quaint place, you’re caught thinking too much of yourself to truly be humble. It is not possible to retell the turn of events this year, nor is it necessary. God has orchestrated a beautiful symphony that is still playing.
“The humble man makes room for progress; the proud man believes he is already there.” Ed Parker
My husband is well and business is steady. In today’s market this is a blessing. He continues to work more than a full week with no plans to retire even though that age many seek to ‘hit’ is just around the corner. He doesn’t look like or act like a man nearing retirement. His plan is to keep on going while he is able. He is blessed with health and work brings a sense of accomplishment. His carpentry skills are beneficial so there is no need to slow down. He also remains active in summer months with softball. He has taken the field on occasion but mainly co-manages the team and enjoys the time with the boys.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis
[I omitted personal information from this portion of the letter.]
“You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says,
God opposes the proud, but He pours out grace on the humble.” James 4:6
“Pride is about my glory, humility is about God’s glory” Mark Driscoll
Me. Hmm. Let’s see—how to keep this brief? Um… well… In short, when God put the word “humble” on my heart and mind a year ago, I literally cried out, “My job? We can’t go through another financial humbling.” But He did. I was downsized from my advertising agency at the end of July with over a dozen of my fellow coworkers. As I packed up my things, I knew God took my vague 6-year plan and said, “I need you now.” I packed boxes at 3:30 one day and the very next morning I flew North Carolina to attend a writers and speakers seminar through Proverbs 31 ministries. I had [miraculously] registered for the conference in March and it turned out to be the best place He could have sent me. God is amazing when it comes to planning details. The conference was enlightening and informative. In due time He will reveal what I am to do with the knowledge and connection provided through that opportunity.
“Without humility, there can be no humanity.” John Buchan
The week prior to my layoff, my daughter and I were blessed to serve as staff at a camp for kids in the foster care system. Truly this was God at work. She did not know I was longing to use my vacation time for this program after she was done with high school. When Royal Family Kids had a call for volunteers at our church in January, my daughter was at the table asking how she could be involved. She was nervous. I wasn’t sure I was fit for the challenge. God won us over. We are so impressed with this program and happy to be along side one another for these kids. You commit to the program hoping to make a difference in the life of a few kids. They changed us.
“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” Ezra T. Benson
I am unsure how to write this update while balancing the fine line of humility. Truly it is my hope that the words on this page are not perceived as anything more than a testimony to God’s goodness. For as many years as I have written this annual update, I’ve desired each year to simplify life more and more. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to strip down the excess of life. And yet, I long to simplify even more.
Foggy days are some of my favorite as they allow me to focus on what is directly around me. During the busyness of my career, I needed to put blocks of time in my calendar for nothing. I am currently in a bit of a fog, having a difficult time seeing too far into the future at this fork in the road. And yet, I am eternally grateful. It is a time to be still and wait.
I am hopeful for change and I am looking at completely different options to make a living so we can still have a life. I trust these opportunities will come in God’s timing as I already see Him laying the groundwork. I have peace. The world makes it so easy to fear the future and scramble to get ahead. From my vantage point, I see so much that is deceptive with the American dream. God has much for us to enjoy in simple terms. I looked for a reference passage and found many. Paul’s words in Philippians 4 are most appropriate, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.” This is so true.
“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.” Mother Teresa
So… I am heading to Rwanda on February 6 for a short-term mission trip. Our church has been sending teams to encourage and support the people of Mugina who were victims of a horrific genocide in 1994. There is hope growing in the community that is witnessed each time our teams return. I was moved when the first team returned several years ago and it has been on my heart to go; my daughter as well. I am truly humbled I can be a part of the team. Perhaps the day is coming when I will live out my hearts desire to travel about the world with my bare necessities in a backpack. This first international trip will move me and expand my heart. Please keep the team in prayer. I was presented with an amazing opportunity during my layoff to raise my most of my funds for this trip. It really is a testimony to God’s provision. We will continue to raise funds for the team, for future mission trips, and for other missions as we expand the vision throughout the world. This opportunity as well as working on local efforts in our community has been humbling. We hope to be used to make a difference in the days to come.
As we all take some time this week to reflect on all that we have, may we see not just what we have in our possession, but also that we have an abundance to be shared. Many of you are generous with your time and resources and I pray throughout the coming year you are able to see more opportunities to be a light in the world near and far. As I close, there are not enough words to express gratitude that you are in our lives. We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, a joyous Christmas, and a New Year of hope. We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you over the holidays!