To our loved ones near and far-
2016 has been a year of questions, chaos, and tears and yet it has also been a year of growth, joy, and hope as God invites us into God’s work as we believe God is making all things new. For Heather and I, our daughter Jimmie has become our greatest teacher. Each day we learn to see, hear, and experience the world through the eyes, ears, and body of a child. Jimmie is now an inquisitive and curious 17-month old. She loves books, exploring, dogs, being outside, climbing, snacks, making all kinds of facial expressions, and yes, even our dog Maeby’s bed. She is learning to assert her own agency in life and demonstrates gifts of hospitality and compassion as she waves to nearly every person and animal saying “hi” and comforts crying friends at school by rubbing their back or sharing a toy.
Heather excels in her role of minister of missions at Wilshire Baptist Church. One recognition of her leadership was that she was nominated as the moderator elect for our primary state denominational affiliation. She continues to lead our church both locally and globally in word and action in the mission of God. In September, she led a missions “learning lab” team with partners in Barcelona, Spain to explore how the Gospel continues to change lives in a post-Christian European culture and how that informs our participation in God’s work in here in Dallas. In addition to her role at Wilshire, Heather also taught a graduate course for the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor. I am always amazed at how she balances being a faithful partner, a loving mother, a compassionate minister, and a loyal friend.
I am still blessed with the opportunity to work part-time as a hospital chaplain, which enables me to be the primary stay at home parent with Jimmie. We are regulars at our local libraries, parks, and other settings where free educational opportunities are offered. In addition, I went back to school again and completed my first year in the doctor of ministry program at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. I hope to complete this doctoral program in 2020. I still run several days a week and am signed up to run another half marathon in February 2016.
We have created a liturgy we say together as we put Jimmie down to bed each night. We hold our hands with our palms up to remember all the gifts we received that day. We put our palms down to remind us of the things that did not go so well that we want to let go of so that we can begin a new day. We then put our fingers together to remind us that we are created for community and that we need each other. We close with this prayer: “May the knowledge of the grace of God sink from our heads down into our hearts so that it flows out of our hands, our mouths, our ears and our eyes so that with these bodies we can learn to be the body of Christ to the world.”
Happy Christmas to you and yours,
Heather, Chad, Jimmie and Maeby
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