Looking Back before Looking Forward

As many are forcing pen to paper today to name and claim their goals for 2017, I want to take a minute to reflect on 2016. It’s been a big year for the Pruch family to say the least. As I scroll through my social scrapbook (AKA Instagram), I am reminded of many instances of God’s clear provision, answer, direction and movement as we sought him.

The seasons our family experienced in 2016 seemed to coincide with the actual ones, changing as the weather outside reminded us that for better or worse, no season lasts forever. Winter to spring, summer to fall in perpetual rotation constantly pointing us to the One greater than us, keeping the world and our individual lives in motion. Here we are in winter yet again, fittingly sad but looking toward spring with expectant hearts.

Winter: It was in January of 2016 that we stood before our church family and announced that James would not be applying for the senior pastor position. We didn’t know what was next for us (we didn’t even have an inkling) but we sensed the Lord directing in this way. We asked for prayer that as we moved forward God would lead and guide our steps. Little did we know the year would end with us knowing exactly where we were going, the Lord faithfully showing up meeting after meeting to provide the means to supply this calling.

Spring: We offered to take in a newborn girl while her parents went through some rough stuff.  Nothing came of it, so we did what we could to make our home an official place of rest and security for kids in circumstances beyond their control. To date we still have not received a call for a foster placement, which goes to show that just by becoming a certified foster parent, your home will not turn into a boarding house overrun by craziness in one night.

Summer: We began to sense that it was time for us to start earnestly start seeking the Lord as to where we were to go next as a family. We prayed (and prayed…and prayed) and took steps to investigate a few options, but ultimately truly felt peace about becoming full-time missionaries to colleges students with Cru.

Fall: we announced our decision to leave Grace Chapel and began the work of seeking out partners to join our ministry team. I had no idea what a blessing this process would be. Refining, redeeming, humbling, and full of sweet evidences of grace that we would not otherwise be privy to witness.

Winter again: It’s our last here and as we boxed up our Christmas decorations last night, not knowing where we will be when we open them again next year, I can only describe my emotions as hopefully sad. Full of hope as we look forward to the new year and all that God will show us about his character, mercy, grace and provision. But desperately sad at what we are packing up, preparing to leave behind. Not only did we just celebrate our last Christmas here, but we are entering a season of lasts that will come to a close long before I am ready. Just as winter must come and go before the spring can arrive, all of our “lasts” must be experienced before we can move on and enjoy all of the “firsts” ahead of us. It’s a mourning of sorts, and we hope to grieve our losses here well. We could sit inside the winter of our sadness and cry until spring comes (both literally and figuratively here in New York), or we can bundle up and face the cold, making the most of our last days.

Amidst these refining spiritual seasons, we’ve made fun memories, including taking the kids to New York City not once, but twice. Titus weaned, crawled, walked, and is now well on his way to linebacker training as we learn to feed him food he can tolerate and digest. Hope has gone from diaper clad toddler to blossoming little preschooler, able to articulate her thoughts and work through her fierce emotions with a little more control. Bailey began the year unable to read, and now reads at (the very least) a 3rd grade reading level and amazed us all with her confidence at her first dance recital. We’ve had family visit, had a blast on our official “stay-cation,” visited family in Nebraska, spent countless hours in our backyard, made new friends in our Classical Conversations homeschool community, and many more.

We’re thankful for 2016 and look forward with hopeful expectation to 2017.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:12-14 ESV)

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