This is the letter I composed this year to send out to our family friends and family. This is the original version…before Dad’s edits (he was an editor in a past life). I’m excited about what God has for my family. I know I got a little preachy, but these were my honest thoughts as I wrote. When I get preachy its almost always a reflection of the “self-preaching” in my personal life- its a reflection of what God is working in me personally. That’s why I wanted to put this letter out there. I’m drawing a line in the sand this year. As someone recently prophesied over me, “Now is a season to train, train, train. Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen.”
It’s that time of year again! And since I personally love all things Christmas, I took it upon myself to write the family Christmas letter. It has been a full year to say the least.
Many of the Murphy offspring have gone through significant transitions and pursued new adventures: I (Kirsten) started a new nursing job (Thanks, Mr. Mazo!) to gain experience for Mercy Ships. Stephen changed his major and graduates this month, a semester early! Susan started her first year of college- majoring in Education. Molly started her first year of public school as a high school freshman. Abby is the last one schooling at home (and playing LOTS of tennis), but her time is running short! This year, we also said goodbye to Dexter dog. Mom and Dad still look younger than their years, continue to be faithful in their work and adventurous at play. Mom, assistant coached the Girls Tennis team in Captain Susan’s senior year. Dad, regardless of the daily grind at P&W, put in many hours on the tennis courts in various tournaments with the other tennis-playing Murphys (this year is the year I resolve to learn too!). We also enjoyed a fun long weekend at Okemo with the Sinnott cousins last winter!
Of course there are many other things between the lines that are too intimate to share in a letter, but each new thing that the five siblings encounter just makes me more inquisitive—what will our lives and friendships look like in 20 years when the Rents become Grandparents and we’re Aunts and Uncles to each others children? Am I crazy to look that far into the future? I don’t think so. Somewhere in our “nows” are the building blocks for our “thens.” The obstacles, hurdles, and irritations in our lives are essentially training us for what the future holds. And based on our divine training regimens thus far, I can tell you this: We are not a family of benchwarmers. Not if we continue to allow God to shape and mold us in this life.
That is where the choice comes in—we all have hard times and challenges, but WE decide how malleable our hearts will be. Each challenge is a chance. A chance to become more hardened, more bitter, more resentful. Or a chance to be more vulnerable, compassionate, and thankful. Of course, none of us consciously make a choice to be miserable. However, we must realize the external reality of the choices we make in our heart.
I, personally, don’t believe that a single person or family I’m writing to was created to warm the bench. “We were meant to live for so much more!” –Switchfoot
All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Train like a champion my friends.
The Murphy Seven