Wednesday, January 19, 2011

happy new year

reading through last years letter and i'm amazed. grateful. blown away.

i ended with this simple prayer.

that we would learn to hear Your voice more clearly this year.

He listens.

He answers.

2010 began with an earthquake. one that shook our church and our souls. He began something that day. that day of darkness. january 12th. a day that started a year of aftershocks that would draw us to Himself.

i have felt the sadness pull me. i've felt the brokenness propel me to find Him. to draw near. to listen.

much of my pride and my entitlement has been eaten up in the wake of 2010 and for that i am undeservingly grateful.

He tears us so He can heal us.
He prunes us so He can grow in us His fruit.

anything that draws me nearer is cause for joy. and not the joy that's found in comfortable jobs and fulfilling friendship. no, the roots of this joy are deep. this joy is tucked away in the fireproof walls of our soul. nothing can get to it. nothing can take it away. it is ever present and it's presence permeates every breath.

joy, unspeakable joy.
2010 began and we had no idea that God would bless us with another child and no idea that that child would be our first son. ian david. God is gracious.


we had yet to know the way God would use friendships to push us deeper into His heart and challenge us to hear His voice in ways we never had before.

friends died this year. friends moved away. friends wounded us.

ashton turned one and avery, three.




labor and delivery were life changing as always. the joy of homebirth has grown with each one. ian's birth shaped me and left it's mark.


and in the midst of all of the life that happened this past year, our ears grew more attentive to the One who calls. it's amazing, really, the way pain and brokenness, stress and failure can grab our attention like no other. pain is God's megaphone, so they say. and "they" are right.

we are now just ankle deep in 2011 and i can already feel it. i feel Him weaving His redemption story in and out of the pain of 2010. i feel Him reassuring us with His still voice, giving us glimpses of the way He is working. and it feels good. His presence. His joy.

all three children are asleep. it's snowing now, just starting to cover the brown of the grass.
even now He reminds me why He comes.

to make all things new.

2011 is yours Lord.

-the houles


The Moffats said...

LOVE this post, Mandy. Love your words, love the pictures, love the truths. So thankful for your friendship and look forward to walking with you, Lord willing, in this next year. Can't wait to see you and the munchkins and catch up on Friday.

Amanda said...

This recap makes me kinda sad and pensive - I feel like the mountains' haze in your family picture capture my mood perfectly. Seems like we grew up a lot in 2010. Tough stuff but good. Love you, friend! Wish we could see you guys more!

Courtney said...

what a great post. you have such a way with words! and what a gREAT picture!

lindsayw4 said...

Thanks Mandy....Love the picture of your family.

Laura said...

You said what I have been thinking. I never would have thought to say it in that way, but you hit the nail on the head.

laura said...

Thanks for saying so clearly what is in the hearts of so many of us. Greatly anticipating the redemption story of 2011, and thankful for your reminder to listen and watch closely for it.