Our 2010 Christmas card designed by Jaci Johnson (Freely Me Designs)
So many mixed emotions today.
I will start with our blessings.
I am once again reminded of how Jesus turns our ashes into beauty. Our goal of nine wells in nine months is being completely fulfilled... and not in nine months either. Because of some very precious friends, we have the FOURTH well funded, in the initial Holden Uganda project. When God is for something, nothing can be against it. He loves the Ugandan people so very much. Instead of four wells by April 28th, we have four wells by Christmas. After losing Holden, our most treasured gift, we really did not believe there would be any joy in the holidays. We received our Christmas miracle, and have so much joy from this gift. I am anticipating the excitement of getting to build four wells in January!
We were able to spend Christmas Eve and part of this morning with the Shuffields and Ballems in Brady. This is our nephew Cohen's first Christmas (he was born February 8th), so it was wonderful to see him get excited over bows and wrapping paper (more so than his actual gifts). It was a blessing to be around our family's love this weekend. Kayson, Cohen, Garrett and Riley's smiles and hugs are always the best. :)
On our drive home, I read a blog I've followed for a few years, Edie Wadsworth's blog, Life in Grace. Her family lost their entire home and all earthly possessions in a tragic fire. It made me even more grateful for the time we were able to spend with our loved ones this Christmas, rather than fussing about gifts. One day, nothing we own on earth will matter.
Most of all, we are simply grateful for Jesus this Christmas. We are unworthy of the grace and love given to us by our Heavenly Father. He came as a baby 2000 years ago, not to be a cute figurine in our nativity sets, but to grow up on this earth, and take with Him to the cross all the sins of the world. By that terrible death, He atoned us of our sins and blessed us with the hope of eternal life.
That brings me to the rest of our feelings this Christmas (Chet feels most of how I've felt all day too). I have to admit that it is not easy to understand His ways. I woke up, stared at the ceiling of the log cabin we stayed in, and again asked Him why. I guess what I want is a note to fall from heaven telling me exactly what His plans are.
As these wells are built, we can see a glimpse of His restoration. We can see the beauty from ashes. But that doesn't mean we have a baby to love and spend his first Christmas with. It doesn't mean our arms are full.
On our way back into town, we stopped at the cemetery. As we drove up to Holden's spot, we noticed an elderly man crying over a grave with pretty light pink flowers. I just stared at him through my own blurry eyes. He was alone, sobbing and wiping his eyes and nose with kleenex. He looked so hurt. I wanted to run up and hug him, but I don't think my wrecked self would've been much of a comfort to anyone. As Chet and I held each other, I kept looking over to him. The cemetery is not where anyone wants to spend Christmas. I hurt for him, because I know he had different plans for this day too.
Neither one of us could say anything or pray at Holden's spot. I wanted to talk to the Lord and then tell Holden about the wells. But all I did was cry. I know He hears our hearts, so I suppose He told our son how much we love and miss him for us.
I have had a heavy heart today. I knew we would. Although everyone who has lost someone knows that they are missed every single moment, it's days like these that we envision such a different day.
Merry Christmas beautiful baby. Today is your first Christmas. We have missed you so much. Our arms ache to hold you, to love you and to care for you. I know you would be really interested in the lights and colors at Christmas this year. You would probably be sitting up and reaching for all the shiny ornaments.
We know you are with Jesus today. He is the entire reason we celebrate this day. Thinking of your chunky cheeks smiling with Jesus gives me joy today. We know your Christmas celebration is better than any here on earth, but we still wish we were together.
You were our "Christmas gift" last year when we found out I was carrying you. You are our Christmas gift and blessing this year as well.
We have a gift to share with you, Holden: 8000 people will have clean water very soon. We have started a project in your honor to provide the Ugandan people with clean drinking water. Because of you, 4 wells will be built already! Your life is meaningful to not just us, your parents, but to people all around the world. We are so proud of you!
We love you with all of our hearts. Merry Christmas.
Daddy & Mommy
In Kelly's words today, "His promises are good". Merry Christmas.