This last year was a balance of joy and sorrow, laughter and mourning, peace and discord. I see our smiling faces and happy hearts in these family photos we took on our Charleston vacation, and think about how just two weeks later we'd turn with heavy hearts toward Texas as our beloved Papa was holding on to hear our last goodbyes. Releasing Todd's dad Ralph was a mix of relief that he was no longer suffering, and grief for the loss of the father and grandfather we loved.
And in the days since, we've learned to balance the great happiness of our blessings with the weight that things aren't yet as they should be. We've seen the worst sides of ourselves and the best, we've been angry and overwhelmed with peace. We've hated death and we've loved life. We've been lonely and we've been embraced. It's been a hard year, and a good year. We've despaired, and yet we hope.
"...and this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. " - Romans 5:5
I hope our highs and lows of 2023 lift your spirits and encourage you that beyond smiling faces, folks like us are balancing great joy and real struggles. And with us, may you know and believe the love God has for you, and may Jesus bring you lasting peace.