Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

December 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

We just celebrated Thanksgiving on the Lee side of the family with a feast here, in our home. It was great for all to be together and for Jace and Gwyneth to spend time with their immediate relatives. They’ll have the same opportunity as we travel to the Des Moines area to visit the Packard side of the family this Christmas, a much needed extended break for Sarah.

The year 2010 has been a great year amidst the ups and downs of life.

Gwyneth is pulling herself up on furniture to stand and quickly crawling around the house in pursuit of any sound she hears. She adores her older brother and insists on being in the middle of anything he is doing. She has been a delight with her bright smile and cheery attitude. This bundle of energy in our lives has been such a blessing, and we are enjoying watching her explore and grow.

Jace’s vocabulary continues to grow as he constructs more sentences on his own. His activity level has picked up as well, and the occasional Friday night movie has opened up his world to the characters in “Cars” and “Toy Story.” It’s amazing how he finds these characters on almost any product imaginable as we shop for necessities. He’s able to memorize quickly, and we are taking advantage of this time in his life to help him memorize John 3:16 and The Lord’s Prayer.

Sarah continues to work as an associate veterinarian for Fishers Veterinary Associates and has begun studying for certification in acupuncture. She anticipates having her diagnostic skills expanded as well as further her treatment options for the dogs and cats. Naturally however, the highlight of her week is any and all time she gets to spend with her kids and family.

John is learning much about parenting toddlers and waiting on the LORD for the next step in the journey. Right now, the step in the journey is to be a caregiver for Jace and Gwyn, so he dutifully changes diapers, cleans the house, fixes meals, and keeps his eyes and ears open for an opportunity to flourish, grow, and provide. Rather than take any position available, it seems wise for us to wait on a door that we sense God opens that fits. He continues to apply for international relief and development or spiritual formation employment opportunities and stay open to any new venture into which the Lord may be leading.

Through it all, 2010 has reminded us that God is still on the throne and has us in His grip, especially when we don’t try and wriggle free. May you sense HIS great faithfulness to you in the Christmas season. May your time with friends and family be just what you need to renew and recharge for the new year. May He guide us all to be faithful to take the next step. For HIM, John, Sarah, Jace, and Gwyneth

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is. 6:9

 Jace's reaction to Santa...                                                                            And, Gwyneth's...

Friday, February 19, 2010


Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart ; Wait, I say, on the LORD!"

It has been said, “Patience is giving the opportunity for God to work according to His timetable.” Don’t you despise waiting, though? It’s amazing how I’ll check multiple lines in a grocery store just to make sure that I get in the shortest one. No doubt, change in perspective surely takes place when the fulfillment of a desire hasn’t arrived, but…we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Maybe we wait on the birth of offspring, a loved one to change and place trust in Christ, or we wait to find fulfillment in our job or an opportunity to travel to a dreamed of destination. No one escapes time in deliberation over an unfulfilled desire.

Have you ever noticed that main characters of the Bible spent a lot of time waiting? Noah waited on rain. Abraham and Sarah waited on the fulfillment of a promise and even tried to rush the process. The children of Israel awaited freedom from Egyptian bondage and, later, entrance into the “promised land.” Moses longed to see that land but wasn’t permitted. Joseph spent time in undeserved imprisonment. Hannah waited for a son to be born. David trusted in the LORD for HIS timing in the transition from Saul’s kingship. Like Joseph, prophets and apostles alike spent time in prison (one in a cistern) waiting for a fair trial or release. The Jews awaited the promised Messiah, and Simeon announced that he’d finally seen the consummation of that desire fulfilled when he laid eyes upon Jesus.

In this verse from Psalm twenty seven, two times the reader is commanded to wait. One time he is commanded to “be of good courage.” These are not suggestions, but rather, imperatives. And, the instruction to wait means to wait in expectation, looking for something. Interestingly, a secondary meaning of this Hebrew word for wait is to “bind together” or “collect.” Also, imperfect tense in the verb "strengthen” denotes that there is a process involved in the waiting to be strengthened. What may God desire to deposit into our lives that is our responsibility to collect and allow HIM to bind up (pull together) in our waiting period? He goes about transforming us as we follow HIS command to look to Him. As we obey HIS voice, HE promises to strengthen us -- something you and I NEED as we wait.

Though a different Hebrew word for "wait" is used in Lamentations 3:26, it sums up what is revealed in our verse from Psalm 27. “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” God is doing good things as we are following His commands to wait and be of good courage.