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Austin Grigg

Husband, father of three boys, dabbling theologian, web developer and business owner.

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A Hard Year

Lauren and I celebrated 6 years of marriage yesterday. We try to make an effort each year to go on a vacation together to get away, spend time just the two of us, but this year was a little more low key. With a few month old baby and a busy end to 2011, we just decided to go out for dinner on our anniversary.

Some of our best conversations end up happening around the table of a good restaurant (lately we found a home at Union Hill Grill just a few miles from our house). We reflected last night on the last year, talked about our hopes for the one coming. We both agreed 2011 was a hard year.

Our pastor and good friend Jamie started the year with terrible health problems. For almost two months he wasn't able to think clearly, lost all his energy and the doctors had no answers. Thankfully he recovered, but never figured out what caused it.

My best friend lost his daughter to SMA just before her second birthday. The weight and sorrow I've felt for them has been like a mill stone hung around my heart.

Another couple that are close friends miscarried.

One of the elders at our church and his family watched their house burn to the ground. I got there in the middle of the night to see it smoldering and give them hugs and just listen.

Our second child was diagnosed with an encephalocele half way through my wife's pregnancy and was scheduled to have brain surgery after he was born. We went to appointment after appointment, just watching and waiting.

My dad took me to lunch one day this fall and just asked if I was doing okay, he was concerned about me. I told him I just felt heavy. Burdened by death, burdened by hurt, burdened by exhaustion.

My dear friend Winn tweeted during this advent, "The goodness of the actual year came amid the pressing. That's the way it is, isn't it?" That is the way it is. This year also came with much goodness, much to praise God for, but most of it was amid the pressing, amid the gut wrenching parts of life. Lauren and I prayed like we haven't ever prayed before. We held our son in our arms after his surgery, healthy and whole with a completely new appreciation. We walked down hard roads and deepened friendships.

I was very grateful for Christmas this year. I needed a God who was not far off, a God that comes through, a God that does the unthinkable -- a God with us. I'm hopeful for the year to come, knowing there will be tough times, knowing God is always present, and even at work.

The prayer I found myself praying most in 2011 may be the same in 2012, Come Lord Jesus.
That's a beast of a year. Thankfully, bad years aren't like bears; they usually don't travel in pairs. Usually.

I'm glad for the man you are, that you can bear up under the heavy loads. You've shown your colors; they're bright.

Thank you Winn, your words always bring life.

Ugh, I am so sorry for the pain you guys have experienced this year. I hope you continue to find courage and peace.

Thank you Justin, I'm feeling refreshed coming out of the advent season and hopeful for what the next year brings.

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