My father regularly told us growing up that we must, “never stop learning, never stop growing.” I hope I can be humble enough as I get older to keep that mentality. 2022 had many ups and downs for me personally. Here are a few things I learned.
1. There’s no such thing as serving too much.
As long as we keep our priorities straight (God, family, church, others), there really is no such thing as serving too much. There are times when I don’t serve my family well. There are times I fail others. But every time this happens, I’m reminded of Christ. He is our example. That’s how Paul can implore us to “count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). When we’re exhausted at the end of a day because we’ve been serving like Christ, that’s a good thing!
2. There may be no greater joy than your child giving his life to Christ.
One year ago, Jacob came to us wanting to follow Christ. He repented of his sin and put his faith in Christ alone. A few months later I baptized him on a Sunday morning. There are few moments in my life I put on that level: my wedding day, the day I myself believed in Jesus, the birth of each of my children. Those moments are the only ones I put in the same category as seeing my son give his life to Jesus. What a joy.
3. God providing doesn’t always look like what you expect.
We moved this year. Only two blocks away, but still. We moved to a home perfect for us in homeschooling, hosting, and most importantly, having a dear family member move in with us. We feel so strongly that this was God providing in a huge, meaningful way. But oftentimes, God providing doesn’t look like this. I heard a song recently by Jermaine Edwards: “Lord, I thank You for sunshine, thank You for rain, thank You for joy, thank You for pain. It’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day.” It might sound weird to thank God for pain, but read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, and it might make more sense. God provides, even in pain in suffering. He molds us.
4. We must work to see the big and small kindnesses of God.
It’s easy to look for the big things. We wait and wait for God to show up in big ways. This is good. But we must not miss the many small ways that God shows up day to day. Rain, food, clothing, a roof, every breath we take. We’re not entitled to any of it. And yet God gives it to us. We live in a fast-paced society, and sometimes I get caught up with whatever’s going on culturally or socially. It’s good to keep up with these things, but we must also slow down and enjoy the small kindnesses that God shows us every day.
5. My wife is awesome.
Lauryn love Jesus. She loves His church. She loves and serves me and our kids with all her energy. We switched to homeschooling this fall, and she’s doing such a great job navigating being Jacob’s teacher while also taking care of two little ones. I still can’t believe God gave her to our family. This is something I’ve known about her a long time, but every year I see even more of how great she is. Not just in what she does. But in who she is.
Obviously, this could be a much longer post. I’ve learned a lot, and I hope I’ve grown a lot. A few more fun things I’ve learned:
- TCU football is unmatched (and they will beat Michigan Saturday, then Georgia in the national championship, in case you didn’t know).
- Raccoons make a loud screeching sound when in defense or attack mode. And they don’t like opossums.
- Having a little girl is definitely different than having boys. I love them all, but there is something different about a father-daughter relationship.
Praying for a great year in 2023!