I cannot believe we are just days away from Christmas. Today my only agenda is addressing and sending out 40 Christmas letters to our friends and family (I know we are a little late). I love sending out Christmas letters. There is such a sweet sentiment writing praises of the year past and sending it out to others who will rejoice and celebrate with you.
To put this past year into a word, it would have to be “aw.”
It’s wild to think that this is mine and Paul’s second Christmas married, fifth since dating, and just two months away from our second wedding anniversary. Growing up people tell you time flies, and I believe it now. Five years ago seems like yesterday. When we first met, it was the end of October. Our first actual date was a little over a month later, driving through Christmas lights in Grand Prairie and dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse. (Funny side note, someone anonymously paid for our meal that night.) We had so much to talk about that the lights tour we drove through just wasn’t enough. We found ourselves making our way in and out of neighborhoods for hours all over Dallas. It was that night I knew that night I could marry this guy. A week later I had to go home for a whole month for the holidays (anybody else miss a whole month off for Christmas in college?) We would Skype at night and talked every single day.
I love this time of year. I love that this time of year is not only my favorite holiday, but I especially love that it embodies everything about the beginning of falling in love.
Two years ago this time, we were nailing down all the loose ends for our fast approaching wedding. I had just graduated and moved into my very first apartment on my own. I had no idea what I was officially doing with my life other than the fact I was getting married. And though I was excited, I was also scared. Choosing to get married young changed my career plans a bit. Being a newlywed working night shifts at the newsroom wasn’t exactly ideal, so I took a different path. That Christmastime is seared in my mind. It was defined as a season of change. We were too broke to buy one another gifts that Christmas, but we were anxious and expectant for what was to come. That was a gift enough. That Christmas was a sweet one in my memory.
This time last year, I can’t explain it other than the peace of God, the both of us knew we were on the brink of something new. Something good. We could just feel it in our bones. We clung to prayer and our community. This time last year, to be completely vulnerable, was tough. From being sick, broke (holla if you have more school debt than you know what to do with!) and unsure of how we were going to pay bills at times, Paul and I had to fight to be friends. (Don’t worry newlyweds, you’re normal!) But, when I think about everything that has changed for us this past year, I could honestly weep. Yet even still, I wouldn’t change those first years together. With new jobs, new city, and the cutting edge of better health, we have so many praises for 2015.
We both phased out of jobs and into ones that are exactly what we have always dreamed of. We legitimately thank the Lord for that every single day. We know we are lucky to love what we do for a living. After years of being sick and no idea why, we finally found a doctor who nudged us in the right direction, fighting alongside me to get to the source. I can’t say how ready I am to stop being tired and sick all the time. I am hopeful that in our next Christmas letter I can tell you I am 100% healed. I am believing in God to do this, knowing even if I don’t get better, He is always good.
Moving to McKinney:
For months and months we prayed, begging for answers. If you had told me a year ago McKinney was the answer, though, I would have probably responded angrily. I refused to ever even play with the idea of moving away from our apartment in Dallas. I loved it. I loved living in the heart of the city. I loved where we were, but I absolutely hated some of our circumstances. God had to soften my heart toward following wherever Paul’s career might lead him, putting my desires on the back burner. The minute my heart and hands opened to what God might have for us, things took off. We entered into a season that lasted six months, interviewing with churches all over the metroplex. I realized my desires were different than what I thought they were. See, when we move out of God’s way, we realize our desires line up with the Lord’s will. It doesn’t feel like putting your desires on the back burner anymore, it feels like fulfilling your calling. Timing ended up landing perfectly (duh), and the two of us moved up to McKinney two months ago for Paul to take a job as the Youth and Young Adults pastor at Anchor Church. All the no’s over the prior six months instantly made sense. Thank GOD for unanswered prayers, because I cannot imagine us anywhere but Anchor.
2015 has been a year for the books. It’s been marked by change and transition, trial and joy. Answers and deliverance. I will hold 2015 close to my heart forever. I am thankful to Jesus for this year, I truly am.
Happy Christmas, friends. May you remember that joy comes from above. We love because he first did. We breathe because he took his last on a cross. Don’t get caught up in the bustle of Christmas, rejoice we have a savior.
Shout out to Cottonwood Road Photography for our incredible Christmas photos