Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
When we look back over what 2016 has been for us personally and for the people and ministries of Solid Rock we are AMAZED. It has been a year of big transitions, hard goodbyes and wonderful hellos. Bittersweet. But overall, I would call it a year of riding in the passenger seat. It was a year that God lead and guided from beginning til end. A year that sat me on the bench, ignored my plans and unfolded a story in front of me that I could never have imagined.
It is hard to sum up a year of so many distinct experiences. This year had us calling many different beds our own and many different roofs our “home”. It was a year of extremes. I probably cried more tears, but I also know that I experienced more peace and joy than I knew possible. So instead of a summary, let me give you snapshots. Little captured moments that represent so much more than the sum of their parts:This photo was taken while we were “hidden” at a retreat center in Michigan. During the 3 weeks were stayed there, we were as affirmed in our brokeness as we were in the hope that God saw us and was taking care of us.
Lumberjack Dan! I love this picture “on the farm” from the time when complete strangers opened their doors to us. Not only did they make their house our home for 4 weeks, but they sacrificially LOVED us at our worst. I will always remember this place as a place of acceptance and healing rest.
We loved having an extended time stateside this past year. It feels good to be in a place that is so easy and second nature to function in. Being near family was incredible. But being far from them was tough too. There is nothing like going “home” to remind you that you no longer have one. At least not JUST one. We have many. And it is one of the coolest things for those homes, those worlds, to come together. Some of my favorite times this past year were old friends meeting new friends, parents traveling to visit in-laws, dominicans meeting americans. Families, friends, worlds colliding. It is ALL a part of who we are. We will never be whole in only 1 place. It is a beautiful gift when they come together and cross paths! The LAKE. How many memories and signficant God-moments in my life have happened on the shores of a lake? Too many to count. Spending a long weekend at the cabin with my family brought back memories and awakened feelings in me that I had forgotten were there. Life at the lake is GOOD.
I got reacquainted with SILENCE this last year. It was terribly uncomfortable for me at the beginning, but I began loving, longing for and soaking in silence. First time I’ve been quiet enough to hear Jesus in long time.
So many hours of this. Just him and me and the open road. So many hours to connect. To laugh. To argue. To sing loudly and read into the wee hours of the morning as we traveled together across the country and discovered one another all over again.
Of course, family moments. There is nothing like ’em!
To him who holds our lives and all our moments in his hands, we are GRATEFUL. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Straleys!