And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Crossing the Jordan River may not have been as awe-inspiring as crossing the Red Sea, but it was a miracle of God nonetheless. Many of the Israelites crossing into the Promised Land had not witnessed God’s salvation of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians forty years before. Their parents were now gone, and they were trusting in God’s new leader, Joshua, to bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey. Then God made a strange request, but an important one. Take twelve stones from the bottom of the river and set them up as a monument to remember this moment and all the other moments of God’s deliverance since He had brought them out of Egypt. This monument would be a reminder for generations to come that “the hand of the Lord is mighty” and that they should “fear the Lord [their] God forever.”
For this year’s Christmas letter, rather than just listing the events that happened to our family, I want to set up “twelve stones” as a written monument for our family to remember how the Lord God was gracious and mighty in our lives in the year 2016. Coincidentally there are twelve months in a years, so I will write one “stone” or circumstance for each month of the year. I pray that this list will help you think of your own stones or simply encourage you to dwell on and thank God for His faithfulness to you this past year.
January: I broke my wrist last Christmas and was blessed to have my mother-in-law come in January and take care of our family while I was healing. God provided a helper for me during that difficult trial. It could have been a lot worse of a break, but it was a clean break that healed quickly and fully. I have not had any problems with it since, and I thank God for that mercy!
February: I honestly can’t remember anything of significance happening this month. This is probably because this is the month Corra started waking up three or four times a night again for several weeks in a row. I think we were so tired that February felt like a thick fog in our brains because of the lack of sleep. We did a lot of “parenting on our knees” during this hard stretch of sleep deprivation. And God brought us through this trial too. He provided just enough strength and energy for us to get through those long weeks.
March: This month was a crazy month of rehearsals, getting ready to perform Mary Poppins in April for our church’s community theater. I was the music director and also acting in the show. We performed 9 shows in 3 weekends, which makes for a very crazy month. Even though it was fun, I learned so much about my physical and mental limitations. This was not something I wanted to learn, but God taught me anyways. I learned that I have limited energy and personal resources. Whenever I am giving a lot to others, my family is not receiving very much. I can’t perform all of my roles 100%. I am human, and that is not realistic. Ultimately, I learned that a big commitment like this one is not something I am going to sign up for again while I have a young child at home. It was too much, and I thank the Lord for helping me realize this.
April: Even though Corra’s birthday is in April, we celebrated her 1st birthday in May because of scheduling. It was such a fun party, and my mom was able to fly in from Idaho to help and enjoy the celebration! Celebrating our daughter’s first year of life was so special. Her first year was hard on us parents as she did not sleep very well at all, but it was also filled with special, sweet moments of watching her develop and grow. The first year of her life went by fast as I’m sure each year will. We are so grateful for our little baby girl (who is not a baby anymore-waaaahhhh!). God has showered us with renewed faith and blessings through her.
May: I am so proud of my husband. Not because he got a promotion this month, but because of the man he is. His employers held a promotion party for him and two other men who got promoted at the same time. Wives and children were invited to come celebrate with a nice lunch. I am so proud of him, not because he is making more money or because of the prestige of his new title, but because of how his boss spoke of him during the party. His boss had nothing but good things to say about Josh being a hard working, honest, good man…and a really good engineer. God has given him a gift. And God has given me the gift of a husband who works hard and has great integrity. He leaves an impression wherever he works, and I pray that God will continue to touch lives through Josh’s example of character and hard work.
June: June is the month for weddings, so of course, we went to a wedding! But we didn’t just go as guests; I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my friend Chelsea’s wedding in Denver, Colorado. We have been friends since 1st or 2nd grade–I honestly can’t remember. It was a fun weekend of celebrating her and her new husband, Casey. The wedding was at a beautiful golf course with the most spectacular rock formations jutting out from the side of the mountains. But the best part was seeing how happy my friend of about 20 years was as she married her best friend. It made me so thankful that God has kept our relationship intact over long distances and the course of many years. I believe that it is our common faith that keeps us leaning on one another during these big events in life. Thank you, Chelsea, for being my wonderful, amazing, and goofy friend.
July: My grandpa passed away in July, and I was unable to go the funeral because of previous travel plans. It broke my heart to miss it because I couldn’t be there in person for my family, especially my Grandma. But God has perfect timing and knows why things happen when they do. I trust in Him, even when I am homesick for my family.
August: Speaking of being homesick, our first nephew was born in August to my brother, Janssen, and his wife, Rachel. Samuel Lee Tiegs was born August 13, and we had to wait 2 WHOLE WEEKS to meet him…boo-hoo-hoo! Besides giving birth to Corra, I had never felt such immediate love for a new baby. This aunt and uncle are pretty enamored with him. God has blessed our families with our precious little ones. These little ones are our legacy, and I pray they will continue the legacy of following Christ and pass it on to their kids. Lord, we pray that you will open up Corra’s and Sam’s hearts at a young age to know your Gospel truth and believe that Jesus died to save them from their sins. AMEN!
September: Being a stay-at-home mom is wonderful. I would not trade it for any job in the world…most days. 🙂 But I have had the desire to work from home and make a little extra money for our vacations. In September, God opened up a wonderful opportunity to do just that! A position at our church opened up for an Assistant Event Coordinator. I talked it over with Josh and my now supervisor, and I gladly took the job! And it has been the perfect fit! For these reasons it has been an answer to prayer:
- I am working with a good friend I have known for several years.
- I am working at a place I know and love.
- I get to do most of my work from home.
- When I do have to work at church I can bring Corra with me or work during a time when Josh can be home with her.
- It gives me just enough to do to feel purposeful, and I get to determine my own hours.
- I love the work! I love working with people and even doing a lot of the administrative work.
October: Every Tuesday evening, we get together with two other families and share a meal. We rotate houses and whoever hosts prepares the main dish, while the other two families bring sides to share. We enjoy a casual, pleasant evening of conversation, stories, and laughter. We sometimes share our highs and lows, and we sometimes commit to pray for one another during the following week. Tuesday night community meals are sacred to us, and we don’t plan anything else for that evening because we cherish that time with friends. Building community is a God-given desire, and these friends have been a huge blessing to us this year.
November: We had the great pleasure to travel to Spain in November. We went to celebrate my cousin’s wedding, and were able to go for almost two weeks. It was a wonderful trip with family–including my parents, my grandma, and one dear cousin from Idaho. Corra went with us, and she traveled so well. It was a busy, fun-filled trip. One we will never forget. God has blessed us with family that lives in Spain, and they were so loving and hospitable towards us while we were there. The wedding was beautiful, and I was so happy to see my dear cousin Stefi marry her amazing husband, Kike. We are so grateful to them and to be able to have that experience!
December: So far, December has been a difficult month but not without God’s grace and provision. Corra has not been sleeping well, and Josh’s sweet grandma Janet passed away on December 3rd. He attended the funeral in Minnesota the following weekend while Corra and I stayed home. It was hard to be apart during such an emotional time. Our hearts are still mourning the loss of a beautiful woman of God. On the other hand, we have great cause for celebration because our brother-in-law Philip (husband to Josh’s sister, Joy) came home safely this month from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. December has already felt like a whirlwind, and we are already exhausted even though Christmas is not in full force yet. But God will provide the strength we need, and we are looking forward to a quiet Christmas in Colorado with our church family. Josh’s parents and Joy and Philip are coming soon after Christmas to spend New Years weekend with us. We are very excited to have some family time with the Pearson side, and we pray it will be a joyful time for us and them in the wake of many hard months.
THESE ARE OUR 12 STONES FOR THE YEAR 2016:
- Thank you, Lord, for healing and help during Sierra’s injury.
- Thank you, Lord, for teaching us to rely on Your strength alone.
- Thank you, Lord, for teaching Sierra about her limitations.
- Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Corra’s first year of life.
- Thank you, Lord, for Josh’s hard work and his promotion.
- Thank you, Lord, for the wedding and marriage of a life-long friend.
- Thank you, Lord, for Your perfect timing.
- Thank you, Lord, for the birth our new nephew, Samuel.
- Thank you, Lord, for Sierra’s new job.
- Thank you, Lord, for good food and great friends with whom to share it.
- Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful trip to Spain and another beautiful wedding/marriage to celebrate.
- Thank you, Lord, for Josh’s grandma Janet and the beautiful person she was on this earth. Thank you for Your comfort, for Christmas, and most of all…for Christ Jesus.
We love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas!
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Josh, Sierra, & Corra