Sunday, December 31, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy New Year from the Coulson's! Looking back over the past year, there has been so much going on for our family. We have lived in 6 different houses, in 3 different cities/towns, and 2 different countries. Countless friends and family members have loved, supported, cared for, and helped our family in all these transitions. We have said "see you later" to many amazing friends and family members and said "hello" to many new friends. Half of the year was spent in waiting: waiting on visas, waiting to move, waiting on God's timing and plan. During those months, we got to do some traveling as a family and get rich time with friends and family that we wouldn't trade for anything. The second half of the year was spent in transition mode: new country, new home, new friends, new school, new language, new church, new everything.

As you can see, this year has been a big one for our family and for those we are close to. It has been filled with so many ups and downs. There have been some really hard days and some really good days. There has been some excitement for a new adventure and some longing for a usual, ordinary, and familiar routine. We have learned so much throughout all of this and the one thing that remains constant through it all is the faithful, loving, nearness of God.

He has been with us.
He has been fighting for us.
He has been providing richly for us.
He has been teaching us and challenging us.
He has allowed us to go through some really hard things.
He has been drawing us near to Him each step of the way.
He has drawn people to know Him for the first time and allowed us to be a part of His rejoicing!
He has blessed us in ways I could've never imagined or even ever chosen for myself.
He has manifested His glory, goodness, and grace to us in deeper ways than we've known previously.

The list goes on and on. He has been good and faithful and loving when we have not been. He has cared endlessly, while our hearts have been distant. He has been sovereignly at work when I have doubted and trusted in my own strength. As always, the grace upon grace that God pours out to us is so evident as I look back over the past year. The gospel is so clear as I see my struggles with sin, but God drawing near to me anyways because of His great love and grace. I am more and more thankful for Christ with each passing year. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:8-9

My word for 2017 was "look." I wanted to have eyes to SEE what God was doing, to be LOOKING for ways to serve and care for those around me, and to be overwhelmed with thankfulness. I didn't want to get bogged down in the circumstances of life that we found ourselves in, but to have the eyes of Jesus to LOOK to Him and to the needs of others around me. It is always a joy at the end of the year to LOOK back and see what He has done. There have been times I have done well at this and there are times I've completely failed to have a good perspective on all that was happening this year. All the praise to Him for His mighty work and constant faithfulness throughout it all. I think Lamentations 3:22-23 sums up my thoughts on this year well:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness."

As we start off 2018, there are a million goals running through my mind. I want to read more books, do another triathlon, start my list of sewing projects I have, read through my Bible in a year, be more intentional with my kids, my husband, my friends, and the ladies I am investing in. I tend to get myself overwhelmed with all that I want to do. This year, I want to be dwelling on this verse:

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth!" Psalm 46:10.

I long to grow in the direction my heart is pointed. I want to be still before the Lord, grow in my knowledge and adoration of Him, and I long for that to be poured out to not only those I interact with each day, but also to the nations. As I orient my heart towards Him, it is my prayer that I will love Him deeper and that through that the world would see His greatness and fall in love with Him too. Here's to 2018!! Happy New Year!

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