Happy Holidays!

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Jesus is the reason for the season

Hi family!

Okay, okay…I know. It’s been a few months since my last post. In fact, I’ve had more than a couple of people actually ask whether or not I’d given up on writing altogether. The short answer is “no”. But, the explanation is a bit more involved than that simple answer explains. Let me say that my family and I are doing just fine ; we’re more than fine. We’re truly blessed.

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God keeps His promises, and His memory is long. I think I’ve written those words before, but toward the latter part of 2019 these words became reality not only for me, but for my family as well. After years of praying and believing in His word, we got an answer. And I’ll tell you what I learned during the entire process. We praying people spend a lot of time and energy asking God to perform miracles on our behalf. When the time comes that He says “Yes” to your prayers, you absolutely have to be ready to move. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to those who read the Bible because its full of stories displaying God’s answer to prayer and immediately commanding His people to act on His decision. But, when it actually shows up in ever-day life, some of us have a tendency to react in slow motion.

See that house up there? That’s the new Smith-Family home; 996 New York Ave, Lincoln Park, M. 48146. It’s beautifully aged–built in 1950–but it has everything we asked for in a home, plus blessings we didn’t know we needed. The neighbors have gone above and beyond in welcoming our family into the neighborhood. Y’all, we had a married-couple knock on the door to bring a tray of cookies and a “welcome” card! We’ve had neighbors stop by to introduce themselves and tell us about the neighboring neighbors! A few weeks ago, we had an early snow storm. When I went out to shovel the next day, all the neighbors were out, like one big community! It was like Pleasantville in real life around here! For my wife and I, this home is an answer to prayers, and represents a new start for a new season of our lives just in time for the New Year.

The scriptures I keep revisiting center on the times when God prepared the children of Israel to take the promised land, under the command of Joshua. He told them they would inherit a land not their own; they would eat of vineyards they didn’t plant; live in dwellings they didn’t build; enjoy a land flowing with milk and honey. They didn’t do anything to deserve it. It would be a gift to them from God.

It’s what the blessing of our new home feels like. We did nothing to earn the house, and we certainly did nothing to deserve it. As people who know us personally continue to congratulate us on our move, I keep on replying, “It wasn’t us. This was all God.” Some folks understand completely. Others…not so much. Whether you believe or not, we’ve seen first hand what God can do for those He loves. Over the last few months, the move process–while exhausting in some respects–constantly reminded us of God’s promises and His plans. Now that we’ve officially been settled in for a month, I can get back to some of the things I love to do.

Alright, alright, alright…

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I got the bright idea stuck in my head that taking three construction courses on top of a full time construction job, during a move process would all work out just fine. Boy…am I stupid. I can’t remember the last time I was ever this busy! The fall of 2019 saw me enroll for my third consecutive semester at Eastern Michigan University. To try speeding things up a bit (mind you, I did NOT pray about this before I committed to it), I enrolled in three courses, despite the understanding that a major construction project was looming. I took that challenge head on. And, I’ll tell you what. God showed up to bail me out, because I definitely fell behind. Within the first three weeks of the semester, I realized I had taken on more than I could handle. When a man stretches himself thin, something is bound to fall through the cracks.

My grades began to suffer as I tried to get into a groove of juggling the work load and school commitments. But more importantly, my time with God began to take a backseat to the new challenges of what had quickly become my new life. As my God-time waned, I put writing on a back-burner and turned the gas off. I tried to handle the load all by myself. In doing so, I purposely let an assignment (maybe two) slide while I tried robbing Peter, to pay Paul.

But God is patient. He is kind. He is compassionate, and has a sense of humor. He let me bump around juggling the load until I realized I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. By the end of the semester, He had helped me out of a real pickle. I’ve got the grades to prove it.

So, the last few months of 2019 have been an interesting time. Through the challenges of moving permanent addresses, completing another semester of school and rounding out another year in the construction industry, God’s carried my family through it all. And I’m happy to say we’re in a better place and doing just fine. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas celebration this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you all in the next decade.

Happy Holidays, friends!