2012 In Retrospect: Family

It’s hard to know where to begin with this blog post. A lot has happened with my family this past year. In both joy and hardship God has proven himself faithful over and over again.

I blogged months ago about the death of the patriarch of our family, my grandpa, Robert N. Hammons. He died in September 2012 after about a six month battle with pancreatic cancer. He did not spend his final months in the hospital, but chose to spend them at home with my grandma, the wife of his youth. Despite a slow and painful process, my granddad remained faithful to the God whom he loved, the God who first loved him. His life, and his death, was a testimony to the grace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I can only smile when I think about what he’s doing now (Phil 1:23)!
My grandpa’s battle is not the only one which has taken place in our family. My mom continues to battle cancer; a battle which started with breast cancer years ago, and has since moved to other parts of her body. It has been hard on her, and some seasons of this fight have been worse than others, yet my mom too remains faithful to her Maker. She was formed by her Savior in her mother’s womb, and he is in control of everything that she is facing now (Psalm 139:13). Her life and struggle is also a clear testimony to God’s faithfulness and grace.

The Scriptures are clear that in this fallen world Christians will experience tribulation and hardship, yet Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33)! If God is for us, who can be against us? For nothing is able to separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:34-39). Yet in the midst of trials our family is overjoyed at God’s gift of life.

Three women in the McMains family have been blessed to bring life into this world. My older sister, Jeannie, has a boy due early this year. His name is Toby Robert Stewart. In the midst of this wonderful celebration, their faith will be tested. Little Toby will be born without an immune system (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and will have to have a bonemarrow transplant down in Dallas. While there are a lot of unknowns, our God is faithful and we praise him for the gift of life, and for the opportunity to trust him when we experience hardship. My brother Daniel and his wife Cristen just recently welcomed little Brooks McMains into the world. Weighing in at a whompin 8lbs 14oz, this one is sure to cause just as much ruccus as his daddy once did (and still does)!

Ashleigh gave birth to little John Paul McMains. If you read this blog then you’ve no doubt seen hundreds of pictures on facebook already, but hey, he’s a looker!

Ready for church! via thegoodfight82

Ready for church! via thegoodfight82

JP has brought so much joy into our lives. Sometimes I look over and see him and am again caught of guard at such a wonderful blessing from God. JP was born on 10/11/12 (cool i know!), and since then Ashleigh has gone back to work 3 days a week as a nurse. The first 12 weeks Ashleigh was off on maternity leave and had some time to adjust and face the wonderful challenges that come with a new baby. Now that she is back to work, another challenge is an inexperienced daddy (me) watching him 3 days a week from about 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. It has truly been a blessing to spend so much time with my son, and I am reminded every time I look at him of God’s kindness and the precious gift of new life. We have adjusted well, and I am quickly becoming an expert in the arts of diaper change and playtime. I am also improving in putting him to sleep, which is not always easy! I am so thankful to God for this little reminder that life isn’t all about me!!

Not only this, but Ashleigh’s brother Ryan and his wife Sarah are in the process of adopting two sweet boys from Ethiopia, Daniel and Josiah! It has been a long process, but as I type this they are with them in Ethiopia preparing to bring them home. Ryan and Sarah are an example of what it looks like to have a heart for the nations. They are serving full-time in South Asia and are now the proud parents of two previously abandoned Ethiopian baby boys. We can’t wait to meet the little guys. To talk about the beauty of adoption would require a whole other blog post (Check out Dr. Russell Moore’s blog). It truly is a picture of the gospel of Christ and his love for his children, whom he adopted as his own sons and daughters.

My oldest sister Emily and her husband Jeremy have been experiencing their own trials. Their youngest son (6 yrs old), Trey, was also born without an immune system and recently had to go back to Dallas and start over, meaning they used chemotherapy to undo his previous bonemarrow transplant received when he was born, and gave him another bonemarrow transplant just recently. It has been a hard journey the past few months with many tears and unknowns, but long story short the transplant went well and Trey came home today, weeks before expected! They are rejoicing now at God’s faithfullness during this time.

Here is his welcome home video:

One other unexpected blessing was Ashleigh’s and I’s opportunity to host a foreign exchange student. Clora has been with us since September and has been a joy to have in our home. She is 16 and is attending a local private high school here in Louisville. We have basically been asked to treat her as our own, and it has been a great experience. Clora had no previous encounter with Christianity, and we have been praying for opportunities to introduce her to the Savior. She has been attending church with us and enjoys that. She asks a lot of questions and I can tell she is really listening and grappling with what she is hearing. We have had many conversations with her and have been able to present the gospel clearly. Pray for continued opportunities and that God would open her heart to his word, as only he can do.

Much more could be said, but the theme that rings true over and again is God’s kindness. He is kind both in joy and hardship, in blessings and pain. We trust in his sovereign goodness, always mindful that he causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to HIS purpose (Romans 8:28).

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2 comments on “2012 In Retrospect: Family

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