I am still.
I sit down at my laptop and I begin tapping out the words to my 2010 Christmas letter...
...I begin, "Dear loved ones,"
and I wait for the words to come to me.
...the tiny fan within my laptop whirls, the glow from the screen bounces off my glasses and creates a glare...I sit and stare...
...the words that I have typed are blurry, and realize that I am crying.
I hit the delete button and "Dear loved ones," disappears.
...and I am still.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28
It's the verse of the day on the desk calendar that sits, propped up by a stack of books next to my laptop...
Last year my Christmas letter was about being honest...sharing the good, the bad and the ugly...the whole truth...
...this year should be the same...and I begin to type what is on my heart...
You know, better than anyone, the year we have endured. And you know, better than anyone...I am....exhausted. I am...confused. I am...hurt. I am...angry.
I am...closer to you, Jesus.
We have been tested. Melanoma. Death. Forgiveness.
And within each of these trials, we have drawn closer to You.
Melanoma...such an ugly word, and yet beauty came from dear friends who sent our boys to a Christian camp and little Jackson excepted You into his heart, claiming You to be his Lord and Savior!
Death...so much confusion and anger, and yet growth has emerged and a deeper relationship with You has begun. When our world seemed to come crashing down around the death of my brother, my mother and father's only son, the father of two precious babies...You called upon me to be the rock...to share my Faith and my love for You and to grow stronger within You. As a result, I have developed a closeness with my mother that we've never known, my eyes have been opened to the patience and the deep, deep love that my husband holds for me, I have witnessed what community is...friends, neighbors and even strangers have opened up their hearts to my family in a way that is inspiring and comforting.
Forgiveness...I would venture to say that forgiveness is more confusing than death...possibly more difficult to accept. This past year I have worked towards forgiveness of those in my life that I harbored unhealthy feelings towards, realizing that by not extending forgiveness, I was at sin with You. Discovering that true forgiveness is both healing and peaceful.
As we enter into the Christmas season, I stop and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas...You. You are the one gift that I most want my family to have...it's not the newest video game system, it's not a drum set, it's not jewelry or the latest fashions...it's simply You, sweet Jesus.
I often feel inadequate when trying to express my love for You and when it comes to modeling that love in my life, I fail miserably. So please forgive me, please understand that when I am struggling with my own human brokenness...that I love You.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for Your forgiveness, Your peace, Your understanding, Your answers to many of my desperate questions. Thank You for Grace and Mercy...for patience. Thank You for the love of my family, my three beautiful boys, my incredible husband, a job that I love, friends that I adore...
Merry Christmas, Jesus. May Your day be bright...
...and pass along a gentle kiss on the check to my dear, sweet, BIG hearted brother!
The Dudenhoeffer Family