“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness…For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” ~Isaiah 25:1,4a
I hope you are enjoying a blessed New Year with your family and dear friends! I certainly am, and have so very much to be thankful for as we celebrate the birth of our dear Savior Jesus anew this year.
“And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all the peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine..” ~Isaiah 25:6
Christmas Eve day…
Yesterday morning my son John walked over to the window and proclaimed, “Oh well, no snow for Christmas!” with a little smile on his face, for we rarely do get snow for Christmas; we always hope next year might be different.
As we went about Christmas Eve day wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards, baking cookies, and cooking up a storm, we got just that…a storm…a beautiful white, fluffy snow shower all afternoon. It took us all by surprise! I could just picture God smiling down and saying, “Merry Christmas…I love you, children!” Feeling like a little kid again, I was so excited to see the freshly falling snow. It really doesn’t take that much to make my heart soar.
“He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth. For the Lord God has spoken.” ~Isaiah 25:8
Walking down 2012 memory lane…
It’s been such a very busy year in our home—over the past 12 months we’ve experienced many wonderful changes, all gifts from our God who is unchanging in His power and love toward His people. Two years ago, however, I could not have even imagined the following events this year—
- moving to a wonderful, new home after 20 years, closer to my work, church, and Ben and Bethany, with room for kids (and someday grandkids) to come home to
- celebrating the marriage of my daughter Megan to Michael Wilson
- rejoicing in my own marriage to my dear Peter MacKillop
- delighting in Susanna’s engagement to Bobby Jacobsen four months following her graduation in June.
“And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us!” ~Isaiah 25:9a
2012 year in review — Each month this year brought moment-by-moment grace from the Lord for all the journeys he had for us:
A new home for the Klickaclan…
After losing our first home buyers last August, 2011, I had to jump through several expensive and extensive repair hoops for our real buyer last December, which made it crazy difficult for the mortgage and closing process to stay on track.
My real estate agent, Sean Dunn, longtime friend of our family was a huge gift from the Lord; without him, the myriad of details which needed to be worked out going into the settlement would never have happened. God was singularly kind to us through him and Fieldstone Real Estate. (www.fieldstonere.com)
The big move took place on January 13 with the help of several local friends, Peter, and my kids, followed by moving two storage units worth of books and stuff home with the help of Susanna’s fiancé Bobby. Then came the task of getting settled in while homeschooling and working half-time at the Home School Foundation, plus speaking and traveling to seven conferences from January through June.
I admit, a lot of this felt like a blur, a bit like after my twins were born and I was up every two hours at night nursing them. My short term memory was all but gone, but was I was so keenly aware of then, as I’ve been this year, of God’s ever-accompanying grace. His presence in my life has been my sweetest comfort and joy, back then with six children seven and under, four in diapers, and nursing two…and all the years in between, to this Christmas day.
“This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation!” ~Isaiah 25:9b
My crazy, wonderful Klicka kids…
I have been so proud of my children this year—they have been through a lot with the move, adjusting to a new home, new surroundings, new church, and new season with Peter in our lives. They have worked diligently on their studies, have helped around the house, and have found time to take up several extracurricular activities.
Susanna (18) finished high school strong this past June, getting straight A’s and a year of college under her belt by taking her last year of high school at our community college and working part-time on the side. Jesse (20) got straight A’s as well at NOVA community college, while working more than halftime as a lifeguard at an indoor rec center. They are both doing well living on their own while renting a room with other families near where they work. I get to see them regularly, always a blessing for me! Susanna and Bobby have known each other since fall of 2010, growing in their friendship for more than a year before dating and getting engaged this fall. They are planning a wedding for next June…I’ll be the blessed mom of another godly son-in-law!
In addition to her high school studies, Charity (17) started working part-time at HSLDA, using her photographic skills and writing regular columns for the World News column on the HSLDA Homeschooling Now blog. (www.hslda.org/blogs) She is still passionate about wanting to help stop human trafficking, and this next fall will be taking community college classes in preparation for college in 2014. She hopes to attend Grove City College and major in both history and religion like her dad did many years ago.
Amy (17) has continued writing stories, just finishing a 50,000 word fiction piece, and is now editing another 150+ pg. story children’s story she has written. She is very gifted with crocheting, designing just about anything without a pattern. Both Megan and Bethany got beautiful leg warmers for Christmas day. She hopes to start getting babysitting jobs this next year and continue her academic studies.
My little man John is not so little anymore. Just turned 15, he’s grown a great deal in several ways—literally, almost 6 inches in the past 14 months, plus in character and responsibility here at home. He literally has been in charge of the yard all my himself, with his older brother Ben helping him learn how to prune trees, work on yard equipment, change the oil in the car, etc. He has been a huge help and blessing to me. He’s doing well in school, is training to be a lifeguard this week, and is started serving as a cadet at our local fire department. What he really hopes he can do however, is act in more films. His last one, Undaunted: the early life of Josh McDowell, which he filmed in last year, is a powerful testimony to God’s goodness and worth watching. (http://www.dbmfilm.com/store/undaunted.html) If you think of him, I would be grateful for your prayers for God’s leading for this, as well as for my other kids.
Bethany and Ben were working in Maryland for the same company while still living not far from us here in VA, but now Ben is working for a great, Christian-owned construction company, Jenkins Restoration. Bethany hopes to find work she loves closer to home, and they are both looking to buy a home and start a family hopefully this year…I’m trying to be patient waiting to be a grandma. They have been such a blessing to me this year, coming home often, helping with yard projects and around the house (Bethany unpacked and organized much of the schoolroom and kitchen, and wants to help me with my office this Christmas break), and Ben has been a terrific mentor and great big brother to John.
Just over a year ago, Megan and Michael Wilson were engaged and Megan asked me, “Mommy (yes, she still calls me mommy, which I love!), would it be okay if Michael and I got married on the same day as you and daddy? We don’t want to take away any of your joy.” “Are you kidding, I replied? You would only add to my joy!” So, on May 26 Michael and Megan became one in Christ and have started a new journey together in Him. They both work at the same place in Gaithersburg, MD, with Michael doing a great job in sales and Megan working as a branch area manager, soon to be promoted, we hope to Operations Manager. This is quite an honor for my young, 22-yr.-old, but she loves working in management and is quite good at what she does, though she knows the Lord is her helper!
“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.” ~Isaiah 58:11a
God gives me a new best friend and love of my life…
Perhaps the sweetest news of all is God bringing Peter MacKillop and I together in marriage this past August 4, nearly three years since Chris passed away. We met online last June, 2011, and since that time, God has been growing our relationship and love for each other. Peter’s gentle wisdom, patience and love for me have been a huge blessing in my life. He has been such a wonderful listener and encourager, reflecting in very real ways the love of my heavenly Father.
I love to do things for him, who as a single man his whole life has never had done for him, like cooking good meals and giving him a home life with children. God has not only cared for the widow and orphan, he has placed the lonely in a family—how wise and good is God!
Though it gives me great joy to serve Peter and make him smile, I don’t think I can even come close to how much of a blessing he is to me. We love reading Christian books on marriage and relationship building together, and we are both praying God will use our lives together to bring Him glory! We are especially asking God to bring Peter a job in VA soon, so he can move home from Fort Dix, NJ where he’s been working as a finance specialist for the government since May.
I’ve written a little about our story and how God has been actively at work in our relationship, and hope to write more for those who are interested in hearing more. I love to showcase the goodness and greatness of our God, whose mercies are never-ending and overflowing toward us, His children—please stay tuned!
“You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” ~Isaiah 58:11b
Following God’s leading…
Meanwhile, I am continuing to homeschool my kids and work part-time as director of development for the Home School Foundation, plus blog for the HSLDA Everyday Homeschooling column. Still speaking at homeschool conventions, I hope to also work on a new book project next year, as well as revise and update Chris’s Home Schooling: the Right Choice. His message is one that still needs to be heard, and my desire is to see godly parents called and encouraged to teach and disciple their children through homeschooling them. Thank you for your prayers, that God might lead and equip me to do whatever He calls me to this next year, for His glory and the good of His people, who He dearly loves!
“You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.” ~Psalm 56:13
Walking in the life-giving light of our Emmanuel…
As this day comes to a close, my heart overflows with such thanksgiving! I have loved having my children all home, watching them enjoy each other while they build new memories together and cherish old memories they shared growing up. I have spent my first Christmas with Peter, starting a new season of life together almost five months ago now, and look forward to seeing what God will do in our lives this next year!
I love that my we are the Lord’s—He holds us in His hands, has redeemed our lives from the pit through the blood of His dear Son, Jesus, our Lord, and guides us each day in His faithful love. Our lives have meaning and purpose because of Him. Our hearts are knit together because the gospel is real. We don’t live a problem-free existence; the reality of the fall is just as much present in our home as it is in every home, but we have this hope, that Christ, who reconciled us to God through His death and resurrection, reconciles our hearts to one another by His grace.
My hope and prayer for you, dear friends and family, is that you may know the joy and hope of Christ, regardless of your circumstances. God doesn’t waste any bit of hardship or suffering; He is always actively at work, using all things for our good and His glory. Whoever places their hope and trust in Jesus will not be disappointed…ever. Isn’t this the very best news of all, always?
May this New Year be overflowing with opportunities to see God’s goodness, power and love in your lives!
Grateful for your friendship and prayers,
Tracy Klicka MacKillop