Dear Family and Friends,
I have pondered "Christmas" often this season, seeking the real truth of the season and the joy that it is to bring. The picture of Christmas that I have in my mind is unhurried, enjoyable and contemplative, but yet, this time of year seems to stir up within me a spirit of hurry and confusion. I know the peace that comes from Christ and desire to take that peace through each Smith family tradition this year, or at least that's the goal. I say all this in prelude to this letter to communicate that my intent in writing this is not to mearly give an update on the goings on of the past year, but to display the goodness of God in the lives of each member of our family.
This is our 5th year here in Alexandria, Virginia. Ben is still the Youth Pastor and oversees the children's ministries as well. This year he is teaching 2 Bible classes in our school and speaks to both the teen and the elementary chapels. We have learned a lot about the youth of today over the course of our time here, and are continually challenged when it comes to reaching the heart of a teen. As their Shepherd, Ben's desire for our teens is to see them genuinely repent and grow in godliness.
God had blessed us with a year of joyful, focused effort here in Alexandria, but He continues to keep the needs of the mission field before our eyes. Please pray for us as we seek His will for future ministry serving overseas.
Ethan will be turning 5 in January and has changed so much over the last year. He most often now calls me "mom" instead of "mommy". This brings a tear to my eye until I remember that he can get his own breakfast cereal! Ethan is beginning to understand who Jesus is and what He did for him. He will sit and talk of his perceptions of life and what he is learning about God. He is full of joy and personality. He is looking forward to starting school this coming fall.
Luke is 3 and has become (out of his very scary 2's) such a sweet kid. His smile and little voice make me melt. He is at the place where he just wants to make mommy and daddy happy! Luke is so fun to chase and tease because he loves it! His two favorite people are his brother and his daddy and he will do anything for them and give them anything they ask for (almost).
Kate is 2 - ahhhh! She has found her stomping foot and pushing arm. As a result, she finds herself in frequent "counseling sessions" with her father. She has become quite the chatter box, but requires a gifted interpreter. Her two favorite words are "yes" (when asked any question) and "HEY" (when an injustice occurs). Kate learns so much from her brothers as she follows them around insisting on getting in on the latest battle even though it may mean a minor concussion.
As for me, I'm at a place now where I can say that I am really enjoying my calling as a wife and mother. I am thankful for my family as they flex so much as I learn how to juggle it all. I am still working at Gold's Gym a few mornings a week, which works great for now, but I can say my favorite days are the ones at home. The Lord continues to remind me of my purpose - that His name be found GREAT. Titus 2: "that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
We send our love to you all and hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled Christmas!
From our family to yours - MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Highlights from our year: