Life has been speeding by at a rather alarming rate. Christmas is creeping up quickly. And for the past who knows how many weeks, I have felt as though I don’t know which way is up.

It’s been stressful, it’s been wearying, it’s been trying. And yet these weeks have also been full to overflowing with loving-kindness of so many friends and family. And that sweetness, love, kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness has been overwhelming… and calming.

God brings a sweet peace through the love of others.

Last Sunday in church, Pastor Stan was preaching from Isaiah. He read quite a few verses that I knew but hadn’t run across in a while.. and they reminded me of how God is here. He is Emmanuel.. We have God with us. In the easy times and in the hard.

He tells us in Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

This is something I’ve seen firsthand over this past year. Through jobless times with my daddy and through health issues with Jon. Honestly, it’s been a less-than-ideal year. There have been so many unwelcome events over the past 11 months… things that I would never want to happen to anybody. Throughout it all, though, God has proven His sovereignty over and over and over again. He has shown countless times how He is always with us and how He always has a plan. He always knows what He’s doing. And it is always for the good of those who love Him and for His glory.

Saturday I spent the evening with Jon and Amy and their family… the boys were in a Christmas program where I used to go to church, and they picked me up to go with them. (Yes, it was awkward being there.. not at the program, but at the location of the program.. but it was alright because of who I was with. The boys did amazingly, by the way! 🙂 ) Amy and Jon were telling me about how Jon had just had his follow-up appointment with the eye surgeon who had told him the nerves were permanently damaged from the radiation… and how he’d had the opportunity to sit and share with this doctor about how he believes in Jesus, how countless people have been praying for him, and how he so believes God healed this. He can see better than before, and the puzzled doctor has no explanation other than to ask Jon “Are you a religious man?…”

God is at work in huge ways.

Today my daddy had two interviews with a place in Seattle about working from home. He felt like they went well but they won’t have anything more to tell him until mid-January… Another interview tomorrow with an Arizona job that has let people work remote before but usually after working there for a year. An offer from Indianapolis, provided his security stuff goes through alright. It’s all rather complicated, but those are the basics. There are pros and cons to each position, so it leaves that much more room for the unknown. And that much more room for learning to trust God and wait for Him.

He is so big.

It’s been so humbling, I think, for my whole family, to have envelopes arrive in our mail with anonymous cards and cash/checks/gift cards. And to have people walking up or coming over to our home with gifts like that. I’d not ever really stopped to consider what it was like. Now I know.. it just leaves you speechless and overwhelmed. I know I said something the other day about the overwhelmingness of His love and kindness through others.. I don’t really know how to describe it better than that though.. except to say that you are an amazing example of God’s love.. an example of God with us. And I thank you.

God says, “… I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands…” [Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV] I’ve so loved this passage ever since I first read it years ago. We’re engraved on the palms of His hands… there is nothing that compares with knowing it. And He is using His followers as truly amazing reminders of this.

Thank you so much for all your prayers… They are appreciated more than you’ll probably ever know. Please keep praying, believing, and praising! For Jon and his family (please catch up on their story if you haven’t already!) and for my daddy’s job.