The year of our Lord 2017, a year that saw growth and change for our family. My oldest daughter turned 5, started Kindergarten, and is ending the year with a loose tooth (though none lost, yet!). Heidi turned 3, is doing school alongside of Sophia at Classical Conversations, and had dental work done in what was the hardest moment of my parenting to date. Bethany hit multiple major milestones; crawling, walking, talking, signing; and her red hair is starting to get a little bit of length to it. Chris had some active duty time in New Mexico, where he was challenged, encouraged, and enriched as he spent time as a practicing chaplain in the Air Force. He also graduated with his M.Div. from Bethel Seminary, a degree 9 years in the making. I couldn't be more proud of my husband. I finished a book and sent it to literary agents and publishers; we are waiting to break any news on that front; I also added a more formal hat: "teacher," as I have been homeschooling. What a year it has been.
Chris and I are sitting in our warm, newly remodeled basement. God had plans that were not the same as mine; and after completing a laundry/exercise room and other projects this summer, we started work to fix a flooded basement. I am glad it is complete, and that it was mostly financed because of the flood damage. Our first entire year in our new house. The heater is working well, the fireplace is burning, and there is a pleasant, smoky smell of a wood-burning fireplace, combined with the smell of hot (decaf) coffee and chocolate chip cookies, making for a peaceful and pleasant evening.
How great the blessings of God are to myself and my family.
I have been reading in my new Bible this evening, closing out the year with some minor prophets. I have read the book of Haggai probably a dozen times, and have never paid much attention to it. It is usually part of a reading plan, and since it is only two chapters I probably pass right through it on my way to another book.
Tonight, however, it struck me, and I have spent some time meditating on Haggai 1:2-11, which I will post here for your benefit.
2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”
To paraphrase, you do not have, and you are not satisfied, because you spend all your time focusing on yourself and your selfish desires. What have you done to bring glory to God? How have you honored God?
There are a lot of things I have forgotten over the years, but there is one thing I know I will not forget from our premarital counseling. We were meeting with Pastor Rob and his wife, Renee, and he told us a story about tithing. He said that one year they were married, they made more than they had ever made. They had almost double what they made some years, but they have never had so much struggle over money as they did in that year, because they failed to tithe. That vignette has rooted itself so deeply in my mind, I think of it often. Whenever I feel like I can't give of myself, my time, my money, or other resources, I think of that story. Whenever I feel tired or drained, or I snap at my kids because I've tired myself out, I think to that story. When I am short, when we are financially strained, when we are "out of time," what of myself have I given? What of our resources have we given? It seems counter-intuitive, to be sure, but God loves a cheerful giver.
I guess that would be my "goal," my resolution for 2018. I want myself, my family, to give of ourselves to God in a way that we haven't before. I want to connect with those in my church more deeply, and get to know people that I don't know well. I want to spend time with my neighbors, and get to know the people that are living around me. I don't want to keep for myself when I have extra to give. I want to go without so that others can have.
Thank you for being a reader of my blog and an encourager to myself and my family. I look forward to spending the new year with you (and, perhaps, more time with my parents as they leave Utah and move to Arizona, as my Dad officially retired from the U.S. Forest Service today)!
Love from, The Pitts Family
|Bethany is ...cooking... herself?|
|Proud of herself as she figured out it was delicious to dip her banana in applesauce|
|My Illuminated Bible|
|They actually sit together in there nicely!|
|Heidi's photography skills|
|New Year's Weather (Dec. 30)|
|Walking with a book on her head|
|Love the book in action here, falling off of her head|
|My reading list for early 2018|
|"Mystical Fire" - little packets that make the fire colorful|
|Heidi loves the blue colors|
|My sweet baby, still likes to snuggle to nap|
|Having fun riding "horses"|