He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Ah, the annual Christmas/Holiday/New-Year newsletter. How should I proceed?
You see, 2018 was an interesting year for the Maul family. Simply put (if you want the short version without much detail), this has been a difficult and challenging 12-months. The year has been rich, it has been full, it has been rewarding, it has been stimulating – but 2018 has most certainly not been easy.
Challenge, of course, creates the conditions where what is real tends to rise to the surface. It turns out we are well equipped, well-loved, strong for each other, and we can muster resources sufficient for the task at hand. Or, as Paul put it in a letter to some of his friends, and restated many ways many times, “God’s grace is more than enough”.
This is – after all – why we moved to North Carolina. We didn’t come here to go to pasture but to get to work, and meaningful work comes both with its rewards and with its costs.
So here goes with some of the details.
Well, we passed the five-year mark and still love, love, love North Carolina. Wake Forest is a picture-perfect community, wonderfully livable and full with gracious people. Our home is situated in a quiet neighborhood within easy walking distance from downtown, and the balance of four distinct seasons is just right.
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church continues to thrive as an honest, open, authentic community of believers living a purposeful witness to the boundless love of God, in a world where judgment and exclusion define too much of both politics and religion. We’re not perfect by a long shot, and some of us are a lot less perfect than others – but we are honest strugglers, walking together as faithful, Jesus-following disciples.
The theme of this newsletter is not what is impressive or easy but what is meaningful. Rebekah’s call as senior pastor is why we moved here, and the work has required every ounce of energy, skill, creativity, imagination, tenacity, belief, and faith she has in her repertoire – and more. Always, though, and without fail, “God’s grace is more than sufficient.”
In consequence, and maybe because ministry can sometimes be so costly, our faith community is moving forward with a rare strength and maturity. Rebekah shares the Good News with passion, authority, and deep authenticity, communicating life and light. If you read this and have not had the privilege of hearing Rebekah preach then you are missing a treat.
Health-wise she is still working on those chronic back issues – and stay tuned for an upcoming exciting post on the diabetes front.
The big news from our world-travelers is the move from Tashkent, Uzbekistan to Dresden, Germany. Andrew and Alicia are now four time-zones closer, living in the capital city of Saxony in what looks to be a lovely location. Alicia teaches music at the international school and Andrew – who just completed his masters’ degree in Public Administration – is working with the after-school program. They plan to Christmas in the U.K.
Naomi and Craig still reside in Richmond, Virginia and the children are growing by leaps and bounds. David – 1st Grade, and Beks – Kindergarten, are both excelling in school. Rebekah and I can’t get enough of the children and we try to get together a couple of times a month.
My parents, David and Grace, are still the quiet well-behaved neighbors everyone wishes they had! Dad enjoyed a big 90th birthday celebration in July (click here for pictures) and mum sailed past her 87th in September. Dad experienced a very difficult spring, including cataract surgery on both eyes plus a few rough days in the hospital. No, they’re not getting any younger and it’s a real struggle sometimes, but they are approaching Christmas and the New Year in good spirits and we are grateful for the blessing of living next door.
Scout Labradoodle (picture in gallery) – now twelve and a half – may be old and decrepit but she’s hanging in there because she loves us so much and doesn’t waste any unnecessary energy moving around.
I may not have published a new book in 2018, but I am working on a couple for the near future. If you’re not familiar with my writing please take a look at my Amazon Author Site. I’d recommend Suddenly the Light Was Gone (a WW2 novel), and GET REAL (inspirational) to get the ball rolling). But it has been an exceptionally busy year when it comes to freelance work via a number of print publications and online venues.
At church, I continue to teach adult Sunday school as well as help to lead a couple of the men’s groups. Speaking opportunities still present themselves, and I do some work – occasionally and very casually – as a photographer.
Other than writing, my time is most significantly dedicated to making sure our home is a comfortable sanctuary for the preacher I love so much and who is pretty much always on call and engaged with her work. Working from home also gives me more of an opportunity to help my parents.
PRAYER AND MORE:
That just about sums things up. We always value your prayers. And we, in turn, pray that your 2019 will provide much evidence of light, grace, affirmation, and promise.
In love, and because of love – DEREK