"His name shall be called Emmanuel which means 'God with us' "
Dear Family and Friends,
If we could use one phrase to describe this past year, it would be "God with us". We have felt His presence in new and precious ways this year. We have had dreams fulfilled, blessings beyond our imagining, times of loss and grief and a great deal of the unexpected.
Through it all, we have seen God at work in and through each one of us.
The year started with a celebration of our dear friends- Dave was able to officiate Brian and Katie's wedding in our church here in Rochester. We first met Brian several years ago at our church in Connecticut. He has been a close friend to us and we had the privilege of praying for Katie and then being a part of their lives as they walked the road to marriage. The way our paths have intertwined could only be attributed to God's blessing.
In February, we traveled to Kansas to support my parents during my mom's knee replacement surgery and her recovery. It was a blessing to be able to be with them- our entire family for one week and then Gibson and I remained for another week. We were able to celebrate Gibson's 3rd birthday with our family as well as my nephew and nieces birthdays. And once again, God was with us- in His provision, in His healing of my mama, in our celebrations of family and in the opportunity to honor my parents.
We celebrated Lindsay's 9th birthday with a trip to Connecticut and New York City. We have been blessed with so many friends who have become family to us and it was a joy to celebrate Lindsay's life with them.
Lindsay and Ethan finished a great year of school in 3rd and 1st grades. They loved their teachers and their schools and we were pleased with their growth. Lindsay loves to read and is constantly writing and illustrating stories. Ethan has gained a new confidence in his ability to read and to write. This confidence has only grown this past Fall and we can clearly see God's work in our boy's life. He continues to excel at science and math.
We celebrated Ethan's 7th birthday with a Phineas and Ferb party. Our science loving boy, our builder and creator, loved his party and it was a joy to celebrate him.
The summer brought some of the biggest surprises and dreams-come-true moments. Our amazing church provided us the opportunity to attend our denomination's triennial conference in Orlando, FL. We took a few days to drive down, stopping to visit friends and family along the way. The kids did an amazing job with all of the traveling and we are so thankful for God's blessing in this.
We stayed in the most incredible hotel and enjoyed a conference that both challenged and encouraged each one of us in our walks with God. We also did a lot of swimming! The dreams came true (especially for Lindsay!) when we spent a day in Epcot and a day at Magic Kingdom.
We visited Dave's parents on our journey home and were once again blessed by time with family. The entire trip took two weeks and we are still amazed with how well the kids did. God is at work in their lives and we are grateful!
In addition to our epic trip, Dave and I celebrated our 14th anniversary, we enjoyed a sweet time of VBS with some of the most incredible volunteers I have ever worked with, took several day trips and enjoyed a staycation with Dave's brother and family. It was a summer full of treasured memories!
Lindsay and Ethan played soccer this summer and Gibson was a faithful cheerleader. We loved watching them play and seeing their growth over the course of the season.
In September, I was able to fly out to Kansas for a week that I will treasure always. My Daddy's health continues to fail, so my sisters and I decided to have time that our family of 5- the Mills family- could all be together. We shed lots of tears together, had times of laughter, took the opportunity for a photo shoot and had a time of prayer and singing around my parent's bed. We sobbed through most of that and God was with us. The countless times that our family kneeled by that bed in prayer came rushing back as we held hands with one another and sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness". The legacy that my Daddy has left for us is one of the greatest gifts that we have ever been given.
In the midst of our sorrow, is the JOY of knowing that our Father's presence is always with our Daddy. Our lives have been so richly blessed by the life of faith that he has led. And so while tears continue to be shed over the gradual loss of our Daddy, we are so thankful for our deepening faith and our growing love for one another.
It has been an incredible Fall for me personally. I was able to attend a blogging conference and spend time with dear, dear friends. I sat under some incredible speakers and God moved in my heart in new ways. A few weeks later, I was on a plane to the Dominican Republic to serve with Lifetree Adventures- working closely with Compassion International and World Vision. It was a life changing trip in many ways. Knowing that God continues to work in and through me is a blessing that no words can truly express!
Dave continues to be blessed by the opportunity to be the Senior Pastor at Orchard Community Church. He is thriving in the opportunity to open God's Word to this special body of believers. When people describe our church family the number one word that is used is friendly. And when people describe my husband, the number one word is humble. Every time I hear this, I cry. This is a testimony to God's incredible work in the lives of His people. It is our deepest desire to bring glory to God and when we see this happening, our hearts overflow with thankfulness.
Our dear friend, Cass agreed to take pictures of our family this Fall. What she didn't know was that we wanted to surprise the kids with the biggest surprise of our lives! Cass took some beautiful pictures of all of us and then we got ready for the big reveal. We gave the kids new t-shirts and then we pulled out a onesie to tell them that mommy was going to have a baby. Their reaction was priceless.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Emmanuel- God with us- we are in awe of God's goodness. He has blessed us with a growing family, with unforgettable memories, with friends who fill our lives with joy, with a church family who blows us away with their love, with hope in the midst of sorrow, and with Himself. Our lives overflow with thankfulness!
Wherever this season finds you, we pray that you too are overwhelmed with God's presence. We pray that you have accepted His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We pray that you know this hope that only comes through Emmanuel. May your celebration of "God with us" be full of joy!
Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!!!
Dave, Becky, Lindsay, Ethan, Gibson and Baby Daye