The Lawrence Christmas Card

December 29, 2013

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2013 has been a long, hard year for the Lawrence family. In the fall of 2012 we decided to leave our church in Southern Illinois, and to join the diocese of Quincy Illinois so that Waylon could pursue his calling of becoming an Anglican priest. We truly believe that the Holy Spirit was leading us into that direction and still feel convicted in our faith.

One of the reasons 2013 has been so challenging for us is because we have had to really depend on the generosity of others. My parents opened up their home to us for nine months during this year of transition and helped us in so many ways. Waylon’s parents opened their home up to our dogs and then to us for about six weeks in the summer. They also rented our uhaul so that we could save money on our move. My parents took Arlo for two days so that Waylon and I could unpack and have some time together.1005995_10151768928841221_1740583325_n

Not only were we dealing with physical aspects of our decision but we were also dealing with the emotional aspects. We had a very hard and trying three years in Southern Illinois. Waylon’s job was challenging, draining, and exhausting. We were dealing with a toxic church and we were not equipped or prepared to navigate the emotional, spiritual, and physical burden of this ministry.

During the year of 2013 we have healed slowly from many of the wounds that ministry has inflicted on our marriage and our faith. This has been a good and hard thing to do, and we could not have gotten through this time without our community. We had dinner once a week with close family(my combo of friends who have become family) the Plassmans, Waylon met and worked with a new good friend Matt, and I was blessed to be around my two old best friends, along with making a new wonderful friend who is now becoming my sister in law!(how cool is that!) All these people including our family helped us heal from the isolation of our ministry experience during our year of transition.

We then moved to Nashotah WI and within two days I had two job offers. One that turned into a full-time position in November! We also have been blessed with a new baby who is healthy and will be born in May!

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We have been wonderfully blessed by the Raskopf family, who have adopted us and have truly loved on us during our first semester here.

We have had so many ups and downs this year, but during this time of Advent I am remembering that there is a reason we have been so abundantly blessed.

Advent is a wonderful time within the church that means waiting on The Lord. There is a great sense of anticipation as we wait for the birth of Christ.

With the birth of Christ comes the hope that when we are in despair we will have the church to cling to. We will have a community of believers to sit with us in our grief, and hardship and love us through it all. Then when we have been healed, we will have the opportunity to love others in grief.

What a powerful and astounding reality we are enveloped within.

As I reflect on our hardship and our journey the words “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The savior-yes the Messiah, The Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:10-11

What a powerful message spoken by an angel to some sheep herders. So many years ago. Don’t be afraid, because the savior of the world has been born and is redemption and love within the flesh.

As we look towards Christmas Day, and towards 2014, the Lawrence family will be seeking that redemption in our lives so that we can extend it to others.

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