Friday, December 12, 2014

A Christmas Letter, 2013

My Sweet Girls,

Merry Christmas!

What a year this has been. In many ways, it's been challenging. We went through some big changes as a family and I know you felt the stress even though Daddy and I tried to protect you from it. But you know how I'm always saying that you can learn something from anything or anyone? This year is no exception. You guys taught me some lessons while I was so busy trying to teach you.

Jyllian, you have had to be brave and strong many times this year. Two trips to the emergency room and a messed up start to your school year could've been enough to really break your spirit. But it didn't. I look at you and you're still that fun-loving girl who can light up a room with just your presence. You've proven that underneath all that smiley wackiness is a strong, steady young woman. I am proud of you. You know, we've had to face many of the same things as girls. We're survivors. But man, I never had your spirit and spunk. Thanks for teaching me that sometimes all you need through the heartache is a good belly laugh.

I'm so totally impressed with your hard work this year in school and at home. You've been a wonderful example to your little sister. She's lucky to have you. So is anyone whose life you are a part of.

One of my favorite memories from this year is when you and I were talking about personalities. I asked you if you would rather if I were more like you and not so serious and laid back all the time. You answered no. You told me that you love me just the way I am and that our family needs a little serious sometimes anyway. Do you know how important it is to be able to love someone just the way they are? We're all different, and that's ok. God made us that way. At eight years old, you get that. Thanks for the reminder. You will make a great leader one day...even more so than you already are.

Katelynn. My little honey. You amaze me every day. You have a passion for learning and for loving that I've never seen before in anyone else. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that it's your passion that gets you in trouble sometimes. When you believe something, you believe it passionately and with all your heart. When you love something or someone you do so passionately and with all your heart. When you feel a certain way about something you feel it so passionately that it's almost overwhelming. But it's not always a bad thing.

In fact, my love, it's what will help you find that 'fire in your belly'. Remember when we talked about that? Find what it is and then throw all that passion into it. God will use you for some big things, no doubt. Thanks for teaching me to stand tall and stand up for what I believe in.

I learned your love language this year. You love quality time with people, don't you? This was hard for me at first. Mommy's so "busy" all the time. But I'm trying. My natural way to show love to people is to do things for them. But you've helped remind me that my children don't need for me to clean as much as they do for me to just stop and be. I'm becoming a better mom because God gave you this need.

And thank goodness I'm learning this lesson. Otherwise I would have missed out on our awesome time together the other night. Remember? You and me by the Christmas tree? Daddy and Sissy were busy. We turned out all the lights and hummed and sang and cuddled. Christmases will come and go, but this memory will be mine forever. Thank you.

In fact, you girls have given me many things to tuck into my heart this year. Now I'd like to give you a few.
We've been talking about the first Christmas. You know a lot about Jesus' birth and what it means. But did you know that there are lessons we can learn from the Christmas story that are important to our everyday life?

Like Mary. She was scared and confused when she found out that she would be giving birth to Jesus. That would be scary, huh? She couldn't believe that God would use her for such a big job. But she obeyed anyway. And submitted herself to Him. She called herself His servant. She teaches us that when God calls on us to do something big, we should obey and give ourselves to Him. Remember her when you're scared and you think you can't do what you're being asked to do. You can.

Remember the shepherds? They were just a normal group of men, seemingly unimportant, working and minding their own business. When the angel appeared to them, they went to find Jesus and, when they found Him, they dropped to their knees and worshiped Him. They told everyone they met about the miracle they had seen, and they praised God for it. I pray that the miracle of Jesus Christ is always enough to bring you to your knees, and that you never stop praising God and proclaiming the good news to all who will listen, no matter how busy you are. Just like the shepherds.

Even Joseph, who we know very little about, had a lesson to teach about faith and trust. Imagine it--being engaged to a girl, only to find out she's pregnant and you're not the dad!? Disappointed, he had already decided to break it off with Mary when an angel appeared to him and asked him to trust God, even though he didn't understand what was happening. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? I want you to have faith and trust Him in everything, even in the unknown. God is good. And that's all we need to know.

We can even learn from the wise men. I learned that they were very smart. The kind of people who are always learning and finding out about things. (Like you guys!) When they found out about Jesus, they followed a star to find Him and worshiped Him once they did. Girls, it's okay to be smart and to want to figure things out. But sometimes it's best to just believe. Never stop following that star in your heart that says that God most certainly does exist, and He lives in you.

And ladies...remember this:

The rainbow always comes after the storm. And as long as you learn from your struggles and remember that you are being made stronger because of them, that rainbow is going to be all the more beautiful.

Thank you both for who you are and what you do for our family.

I love you always.


What have you learned this year? What is your favorite thing about the nativity?

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