Claudine Phillips

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This year. (Insert sigh). Parenting is not for adults. It is for kids like Shad and I ready (or not) for God to grow us all up. This year there were incredible growing pains for myself and for Shad as parents and as a couple. And darn those kids to continued to have their share in growing pains (insert sarcasm). Let’s just say this year was full of various forms of highs as lows, but aren’t most years that way? We are once again grateful for the days God gives us, each and every one of them. If we fight the growth, we fight the opportunity God is presenting us to learn how to be less, and let Him be more in our lives.

Two years ago this month, we ‘smushed’ 5 humans into a 1600 square foot cabin in the mountainy woods of Colorado. We have made the intentional effort of living small so there is plenty of time and space for the important stuff like God, giving, quality time, and simply margin.

In 2012, when we took a step away from the safety of our shore line and walked directly, head on, into life, we had no idea what God had waiting for us. We had to loose sight of what we knew as home, to embrace the open-handed way of living.

Along the way we have added to our family of friends. We have deeper and richer relationships because we chose to go deeper and claim the riches in the vulnerable and naked truth of our selves. We have gained perspective on what life is really about. So far, we have seem that its about God, his plan, our family, and our relationships. We have gained a child. Yes, a boy of wonder and wisdom, who teaches us how to parent a toddler in our mid forties. It can be done! We have gained a country. Living in the woods, away from the big city, in the mountains, and in a small town is a sweet gift I did not know my soul craved.

All three of our babies have hit milestones of growth and victory over their lives and have stumbled through some hardships, not all for waste, but for glory to our Maker.

The one thing that I am still most thankful for and humbled to the core for every year, is my man. God gave him to me when I was sixteen and I fought it for 10 years. Regardless, Shad knew we were meant to be and waited for me. He still is my constant and my rock as I have navigated life and now Hashimotos. He is always willing to serve and love me through the ups and downs of the healing process. I fall to my knees in gratitude for him, Lord. Thank you.

Thank you my Jesus for what you give me. I count it all joy and I am humbled.

Merry Christmas my friends and family. You are the very foundation of what God intended to build my life with.
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