Looking Back on 2016

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Don’t start rumors, I’m not pregnant. But since I have spent a full 3 years of my existence now on one side or the other of such a relationship, I’ll take the liberty to speak on it; Pregnancy is bizarre.

Physically closer than anyone can ever be, you and the most important stranger you’ve never met collaborate in a mystical project of exponential growth. Eventually, what started out as an imperceivable state of being, fills you with a certain “gravity” that, by the end, is rather hard to ignore. Then, after an inevitable, terrifying separation event, full of unknowns and much pain, you finally meet the face of the familiar stranger you’ve known rather abstractly from within for what feels like — trust me — a lifetime!

The thought struck me this week as I was talking with friend struggling to feel close to the Lord amid the emotional turbulence of pregnancy: Being indwelt by the Spirit of God in the “already/not yet” of His redeemed but still broken world is bizarre.

Even for “veterans” whose personal relationship with Jesus dates back decades, life with God can feel uncertain and abstract. When the day is new and the coffee’s fresh, everything tingles with the glow of glory, and by 8pm you wonder if you could even tell the Holy Spirit from indigestion. In Paul’s words, we are seeing only “through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13). Being “pregnant with glory” is hard!

To be sure, relationships deepen when faces get involved. Why else would my phone come with hundreds of emoji faces to augment my text messaging needs? But the occasions that call for a standalone face without words are few and far between. Scripture affirms as much; In John 20:29, Jesus describes the blessing of having believed without seeing a face, but according to Paul in Romans 10, it is pretty stinking hard to be saved without words involved somewhere.

Now, I have some quite wordy children, but none of my babies to date have been verbal in utero. Imagine if you could get a written commentary from your baby during pregnancy — expressive, informative and nuanced with personality. It would be a different experience for sure!

Thinking about the impact of the Jesus Film, it does indeed involve faces — a factor that has given immense dynamic power to all manner of visual media in our day. But since actors are clearly not the Biblical characters they portray, the “faces” are beneficial like a mere sonogram. In our estimation, it’s the script of this 37-year-old film that packs the punch — words spoken by an actor, directly from the gospel of Luke, translated into 1,463 languages and dialects as of this month.

Jayson has been working hard this year to make sure that we’re able to do our part in this work that the Lord has called us to in an unburdened way. He’s travelled more than 100 days this year to meet with new connections. He has been challenging scores of people and dozens of churches to pray for us, and to be ongoing financial partners in the Lord’s work.

As Jayson and I look toward 2017, we’re trusting God’s provision for the necessary $20,000 to cover the remaining costs of Xander’s birth, upcoming car repairs and purchases, and missed paychecks during this leaner season. As we prepare, and pray would you prayerfully consider a tax-deductable year-end financial gift of $1000, $500, $250, $100?

Please know that in any case, we’re so grateful for the ways you’ve stood behind our family, and your partnership with the Jesus Film has helped make a whole lot of folks’ “glass” a little less dark until the day we all finally see our Lord face to face!

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