Remember that scene in Muppet Christmas Carol when Scrooge tilts around town extending good cheer?
I don’t know about you…but rewatching this with my kiddos, I can’t help but appreciate Caine’s conviction as he proclaims:
The glory that you see
Is born again each day
Don’t let it slip away
How precious life can be
With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise
To be fair, the transformation of character is heart-warming even if condensed in a cinematic finale. But to be honest, these admissions of truths, while dear to heart, are harder to swallow this year.
And for good reason, dare I dive into details you may already know. A year to remember? Oh, for sure. But what exactly should I remember? That is the question I’m asking with one week left on this year’s clock.
While a recap can only go so far, what I can say is to what I remember, to that I will be grateful. Lost wind and sail be darned, I will not yield to disappointment though the woods still surround me.
For starters, I delight in God and the daily outpouring of His nature into the challenges and opportunities He divinely appointed this past year. No question, it took a marriage, a family…and many a team and tribe to bear the load. To our families, friends, colleagues, and the NICU units at Centennial and Vanderbilt (shout-out to Paige Buhl, Bailey Jenkins Stults, Courtney Osborne & Heather Akers among others who went above and beyond the call of duty), we again express our gratitude from the sincerest and deepest places of our hearts. While we’re saddened to have lost a daughter, we rejoice in having gained new family as a result…not to mention heightened levels of strength, perseverance, and endurance to take into the next God has for us.
While I’m on the ‘grateful heart’ train, I’d like to thank our parents and siblings, most notably Jan Ferguson for her cut-above support in being available despite several family storms this year, to Jessika Stephen Sanders for introducing Lys & I to Praying Through Ministries and inspiring network awareness, to our Gate fam for setting, service, and sustenance support, to Greg McRay, my colleagues in the Sales Department, and many others at Foundation Group who were intentional in following Juby’s journey, really anyone who directly reached out to encourage us the past year…we toast your kindness and generosity.
As for additional recollections, of course, the many miles and minutes logged in juggling home and NICU life stand out. The course and prep work involving Juby’s tracheostomy and homecoming, the teaming in learning new skills…all of it was a highlight even though the ultimate dream fell short. As I told one of my co-workers, Lys & I had a one-of-a-kind year during which we took our date nights to Vandy where we cried, prayed, and processed the crap out of life…where slowly but surely, investments into something much larger than ourselves and our circumstances began to take root.
On the home front, props are certainly warranted for Caeden, Everly & Milo for their flexibility amidst the audibles. With evolving rhythms almost a weekly reality, I take pride in their maturation and how they’ve adjusted to life at Greater Things Christian School (shout-out to Chris Harris). When the year started, Lys & I had hoped to enroll them under the same educational roof. Despite a surge of logistical gymnastics, we rejoice in not only reaching this goal but also having the privilege of being a part of an emerging community full of families like ours.
On the work front, the adversities, unlike the NICU, were felt between the lines and behind the screens. While outlooks and viewpoints have been compelled to modulate, I celebrate the space and place I’m in. As I’ve told several prospects, in terms of mission and colleague comradery, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more humble, unshakable core. In more ways than one, I’m in good company.
As for side hustles, Fry Freelance continued its momentum in guest writing for a host of entrepreneurs connected to Dan Cockerell’s keynote network. With seven active podcast series under our belt, we hope to continue bringing marketplace podcasts to life. In similar fashion, Lys & I look forward to another year of facilitating communications at our local fellowship and leading small group Zoom calls within Messenger Fellowship circles across the globe.
As for looking ahead, it’s hard to know how to feel about next year, let alone tomorrow. But I suppose that’s part of the Juby effect:
- I fear not about tomorrow because today is a gift urging my focus to stay present.
- I fear not about death because today I’m alive in Christ, my life in Him an invitation to embrace the fullness of joy and strength for body, soul, and spirit.
- And I fear not about what man may do or say because today God’s victory in me is imminent and shattering the mold.
His uphold a response to every stronghold, I smile upon the journey that was, is, and is to come. For while many would consider our year a brutal stretch, we see it as a life-altering season with life-giving implications. Yes, losing Juby was a significant shock to the system, but given the reset trajectory, I can’t help but anticipate fresh leaps of faith with refreshed perspective as a man undone.
Which in a way, ties into the reason we gather here today…
For into chaos, Jesus came not only as an innocent babe but also as a Prince of Peace with a sword to awaken the priorities of His beloved.Tweet
Through all we experience, through all we endure…the glory of God can be known as we seek and press into Immanuel, relying on Him as He calibrates our intentions to what really matters. To everyone, young and old, meek and bold, while seismic life events can serve as holy catalysts, there’s more than enough reason to let a rightful celebration of Christmas wash over and encourage you to receive the gift and presence of Jesus anew.
And as we advance into greater unknowns in this decade like no other, it’s this Spirit-inspired head I choose to maintain as good tidings are embodied much like Scrooge on the heels of his healing. One way or another, we’re going to get there…one Juby empowered baby step at a time.
From our home to yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!