There are three things that give me great joy these days.
1. My son. He has a heart of gold. This morning, we were having a difficult conversation with Meaghan, our 10 year old daughter, and when he saw that she was in a small bit of trouble, he rallied to her side. He kept saying over and over again: "It's okay, Meaghan. It's okay." Nic loves his big sis. This does my Daddy heart good.
Also, he has been reading all on his own a little children's devotional book called "Blessings Every Day". He started doing this during the autumn. Each night, after we read two stories, say our prayers and give hugs and kisses goodnight, he goes to his room, turns on the small lamp next to his bed and reads the entry for that day. He even managed to start the book again in the New Year, all on his own. He loves the Lord in his own seven-year-old innocent way, and this too gives me great joy.
2. My daughter. On Sunday I had my first one-on-one Bible study with Meaghan. It's called "Follow Me!". It will take about 9 weeks to work through the study together. Each week, there are excerpts from the book of John to read and some simple questions for her to think about. This week, we looked at some verses in John 1 and talked about what she thought, and what she felt Jesus was calling her to do. I explained to her that, now that she was almost 11, it was time for her to think anew about the issue of following Jesus herself, to personalize the call of Christ a bit. During our prayer time at the end, she said: "I want to follow you, Jesus. And, Lord, I love you." My heart melted. How good it was to hear my daughter telling Jesus "she loves him".
3. My wife. In the past four weeks I've found myself saying these words to friends and coworkers more than a couple of times: "I can't tell you how invaluable Heather's partnership in ministry has been to me. I don't know why I didn't realize this before, but Heather and I really do make a great team. She has stood shoulder to shoulder with me every step of the way, in thick and thin. I couldn't have done team leadership without her." Of course, there are many more reasons I value Heather than just that, but I just want to go "on the record" as saying, "Heather, you're an amazing woman. I'm so glad I married you. Thank you for your support, encouragement and love. I could not do this without you. Heather, thanks for bringing such joy into my life. I love you."
Thank you, God, for the joy of my family.