2016 was not an easy year.
At the beginning of the year we struggled with determining if the Lord was leading us to make some pretty big changes. We prayed and asked Him to guide us. And as He does, He made the way before us quite clear and we ended the year feeling much more settled in where He has us.
It has also been my hardest school year so far. I've never really doubted whether God was calling us to homeschool, but the summer brought uncertainty in that area that required me to really evaluate whether or not this was what we should be doing. He gave us sure confirmation that this is still what is best for our family, in spite of the fact that we may possibly have a child who isn't so sure he/she wants to be homeschooled anymore. When it comes down to it, we love this life. It isn't easy. I have felt overwhelmed much of the time, homeschooling 9th, 8th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd grades AND trying to care for and spend time with a preschooler and toddler. Oh- and there's a home to maintain and meals for 10 each day to make or manage. Still, we love it! We love to be able to closely direct the children's learning, watch their relationships with eachother and us grow, talk with them about so many different things, and basically just do life together each day! We love reading together, having tea and poetry on Tuesdays, watching the older ones care for the little ones, not forcing them to fit into a box, take time off when the rest of the world is in school. And most of all, this life allows us to make Love for the Lord the ultimate curriculum. That is THE most important thing we want our children to leave our home with. I love this Charles Spurgeon quote, "Alas, if our children lose the crown of life, it will be small consolation that they have won laurels of literature or art."
Early in the year brought a diagnosis of cancer to two people we love. One, Oma's, ended in October with her leaving this life to enter into eternal rest with her Savior. We said good-bye, so sad that our days of making memories with her are over. Yet, so happy for her that she was relieved from her pain and suffering. It was a great encouragement to our souls to watch her die peacefully, enjoying time with her loved ones, proclaiming God's faithfulness to her and telling of His goodness until her last day. The other loved one with cancer is undergoing treatments and we pray daily that she will come out of this stronger than ever.
With each passing year, the luster of the world grows more faint. We see the pain and suffering of those we love, whether it be cancer, marriage troubles, wayward children, or even just the smaller struggles of the everyday, and we long more deeply for heaven. We long more deeply and passionately to be with our Heavenly Father. And yet we know that as long as we have life, we have work to do!
We begin a new year thankful again for the ways that the Lord has carried us through 2016. Our hearts do not need to fear the future because He has gone before us, as we were reminded of in church this morning. And so, we welcome 2017, excited to see what God will do with each of us individually and as a family.
here are some pictures from November and December, 2016