Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Some Last Thoughts of 2013

Whew.  I sort of can't believe that we've found ourselves at the end of 2013.  I guess I've felt like this year might not ever end- but here we are on the brink of a new year.  

It might be easy to describe this year as the 'worst' one we've ever experienced, but I'm not sure that adjective is the right one to use.  Yes- our circumstances have been horrific.  Our house might drown under the tears that have been shed under this roof.  But while this year has certainly been difficult, at some moments even unbearable, it has not been without fruit, and His glory.  

What would be horrible, and what would make this the 'worst' year of our lives is if the Lord had been absent from us.  But what has made this the most 'meaningful' year for the three little Cochran's in Cahaba Heights, is Emmanuel- God with us.  My heart stops everytime I hear that Christmas song, because, certainly, the Lord Himself has wrapped us in His arms.  Clay and I haven't survived this by our own will, because, frankly, we couldn't do it.  The Lord has protected us, and has held us so near, and we know Him better because He has shown us His glory on this earth.

So, as we look forward to the start of a new year, we are excited to see what 2014 might hold for us.  I have learned that the Lord doesn't 'owe' us a 'good' year just because we've had a hard one.  But whatever He calls us to face, I do know that He will be ever-faithful to us.  He will sustain us, and lead us through every valley we find.  His Word promises us this, and I have experienced the fruition of this promise.  

As hard of a year as this has been, we have had some of the sweetest moments I can remember, too.

George started talking!  (...and singing, and playing instruments, and coloring, and asking questions, and studying mine and Clay's every word, and repeating what we say, and so on and so forth...)

We set up bunk beds for George...and he LOVES them!

George turned two years old.  And we had the most fun birthday party!

We ate some a lot of ice cream this summer.

We got a jump jump. It's like a built-in babysitter!

Clay and George had their first camping trip in September.

Clay and I went to the beach by ourselves in October.

George has started saying the blessing at each and every meal.  I'm not sure I've heard a sweeter sound than a two year old singing a blessing.  He's also become a musical prodigy per Nana and Adam Wright.  Two trusty sources.
 (He hasn't quite mastered the use of the guitar.  But Woody, Luigi, Sarge, and Red seem to enjoy it)

 I'm pretty sure we can single-handedly keep the book business afloat in the years to come.  No Kindles or Nooks for this kid!

Oh...2013.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  But I sure do hope to cling to the goodness of the Lord as I look back over this season of life in the years to come.

"We trust upon the Sacred Word,
the oath and promise of the Lord;
And safely through each tempest sail;
O, the Christian's hope can never fail."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why is Christmas?

George asked me this question on the way to school last week.  I have to say, lately, George's questions have been pretty loaded.  I also have to admit that I haven't really prepared myself to give him the answers I think he needs.

December is always a fun month.  We celebrate Christmas with my cousins, we celebrate my dad's birthday, and Mama Zo's birthday, Zoolight Safari, Christmas at the Alabama Theatre, and Clay and I make a point to do a whole lot just the three of us.  I started to wonder if this is what Christmas is to us- really sweet time with just our family.  

Ever since Nan was born, Jesus is a very real person to George.  So when I answered him that Christmas is because it's Jesus' birthday, I could see the wheels turning in his little brain that we would be going to Jesus' birthday party.  And that has made him so excited for Christmas to get here.  

To be honest, George's anticipation of Jesus' birthday has totally changed my preparation for Christmas, too.  I've really attached myself to traditions, and my favorite Christmas movies, and the parties and build-up to Christmas Day.  I'm not sure I've really celebrated it as Jesus' birth, and the promise of His return.  Thankfully, George is here to keep me in line.

 As much as George loves 'Frosty the Snowman' (which...trust me, is A LOT), he loves talking about the Nativity, and reading our Christmas books about Jesus' birth.  Just about everytime I put him to sleep he requests the same story from his storybook Bible (I tell you...that kiddo is a creature of habit).  He wants to hear the story of Jesus' birth, and frankly (and ashamedly) I sort of got tired of reading it.  But I obliged this "one last time" and started the story for the 40th time.  I got to the part where Gabriel appears to Mary, and the angel is described as a "messenger from Heaven", and George turned to me and said, "Just like Sissy, Mommy!"

Even as I type this, I get a little lump in my throat that my two-year-old son gets it better than I do.  Nan is our 'messenger of Heaven', because certainly no one has taught us more about God's Kingdom than our sweet daughter.  As hard as this season is for Clay and me, thinking of Nan being with our Savior, celebrating His birth, truly does give me joy.  I see the light in George's eye when he talks about Jesus, and it reminds me that there is so much joy in the sacrifice.

'the tide of time shall never His covenant remove,
His Name shall stand forever, that Name to us is Love.'
- Hail to the Lord's Anointed