Christmas Card Pictures 2014 & Watching God Work

Hello dear ones! God has been so good to us. He’s always good but this year we’ve been overwhelmed by blessings. I want to testify of God’s goodness as I share our Christmas photos with you. Feel free to share your testimonies in the comments. I love hearing from you!

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It started in January when God protected my son Michael and I, in a big wreck we were in. Something changed. My perspective was shaken. I realized that I didn’t have control over my family like I thought. Sure I knew this in theory but my theory was put to the test. It was terrifying to think that my child could’ve died. My iron grip on my life and especially my family was just an illusion. No matter how much I held onto my life I could not keep it.

Matthew 16:25 hit me like a brick. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” I began to trust God on a different level. This was the start of letting go in many areas. I was scared to drive again and my faith was put to the test when my family and I took a road trip during a snowstorm a couple months later. Did I really trust that my days and the days of my family were in God’s capable hands? Did I trust God’s goodness?

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I believe it was February when I felt the call to sign up for a missions trip to Belize. I was already looking at life differently because of the wreck. Usually I just gave money and sent someone else to missions, but when I saw the trip in the church bulletin I felt in my spirit “Go!”. It seemed crazy. As a kid I had always wanted to do missions work overseas. As a teen I had tried to go but it was never God’s timing. It was a dream that I had hung on the shelf. Mommyhood was my call. Homeschooling and being a Godly wife was my call. How could God use me in Belize? I was surprised as I watched God work everything out for the trip. I learned that I wasn’t crazy and that God had indeed called me. I saw him do miracles with finances so I could go. I also had to learn to let go of my family even more when I realized my son couldn’t go with me. I struggled to be away from my one and only child (at the time) for a week.

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Then came March. Our family stepped out of our cultural comfort zone and took a road trip to Washington, D.C. and like I said…it was during a snow storm. I gripped the handle in the car as hard as I could, closed my eyes, and prayed as we drove past semi trucks that had spun off the road because of the ice. I clenched my teeth when we drove through crazy traffic in the city. I prayed as we tried to figure out the metro system in the freezing cold. God came through every time. My best laid plans fell through several times but I saw God work as I let go. We had beautiful family moments that were never planned, like finding an outdoor ice skating rink under the moonlight.
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The rest of the spring was spent prepping for Belize. I came to grips with my lack of faith as I questioned how in the world I would get to Belize. God opened the door for me to teach about 30 kids in V.B.S. It was another test of faith and I felt completely inadequate. But God provided every step of the way and I saw several kids embrace the gospel. I also felt a love for other people’s children that I had not felt in awhile. I had been so consumed with my own family life, it was hard to care about others.

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The Missions trip came. My husband shocked me by saying he wanted to try for a baby when I got back. I didn’t put much stock into it. I was content with my life although I had pined for another child years before when we were told we were infertile. God rocked my world in Belize. I was showered with love from so many children and I loved these kids that were not my own. I played with and put my heart and soul into the children. I saw such thankfulness and joy from those who had little. I saw great faith amidst tragedy.

God gave me boldness and replaced my fear with faith as I was put on the spot to share the gospel with hundreds of kids. God gave me the physical strength that I didn’t have. For once I was not plagued with chronic pain. I walked the Mayan ruins, I played dancing games with the kids, I kayaked in the ocean, and all of it was because God gave me the health. I felt the prayers of many. God had to deal with my attitude when I couldn’t talk to my son much during that week. The phone card didn’t work. I got very homesick. I didn’t always “feel” like a missionary. God used me despite my emotional issues.

When I got home it was strange. I did not feel the same boldness that I had before. Then my husband and I began to try for a baby. I prayed and asked others for prayer. Still I didn’t expect much. I was content with my life at the time. As I got used to my rich lifestyle again, God opened doors for me to draw closer to Him through service projects and a Bible study group. Then I got pregnant (August). Once again my world flipped upside down. At the same time I had found a lump in my breast and was scared to death of breast cancer. The timing all seemed wrong. Morning sickness came in like a bear and I couldn’t see what God was doing. God got me through my biopsy though and I am thankful that I don’t have cancer.

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Now I am 21 weeks pregnant and I’m seeing the fruit of God’s plan. The sickness and depression has subsided. My body still has those frustrating pregnancy symptoms but I’m also finding the joy in the blessing of new life. I didn’t think I could handle another child. I didn’t see where a new baby would fit into our lives. But now I see God using the miracle of Leeland to bring my family closer. I’ve seen Him do amazing things in my marriage.

I’ve seen God answer the secret prayers of my heart…things that I never thought I’d see come to pass. And I realize that I had no hand in any of it. My tight grip on my family never accomplished anything. Only by letting go could I truly witness God working. I am overwhelmed. Through the good and the seemingly bad, God is faithful and He has a purpose. He is always good no matter what. I pray for the faith and thankfulness I need. I pray that I won’t get in the way of God’s plans. I am so glad that God worked despite me.

So dear ones I hope this is an encouragement to you. It’s hard to see the blessings when our focus is on saving our life. Worry will rob you of your joy. Trying to control everything will rob you of your joy. There is a beauty in surrender and truly letting go and letting God. I know that sounds cliche’ but it is the truth. It is when you empty yourself that God fills you to the brim. It is in brokeness that new life springs forth. I am still learning these lessons and will til I die. God is opening my eyes everyday to new things. Jesus is breath taking. God bless you and remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

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