Wow. 2017, you rocked our world. And most of the time, not quite in the way we had hoped. There were so many moments that felt like the world was crumbling down around us, but in the end, love persisted. This year our hearts grew three sizes, they were broken and now God is mending us back together. With each broken piece, we're learning to lean into the Lord and trust Him with every part of our lives. After reflecting on a wild year, here are a few things we are so thankful for (along with some of our favorite photos from our session with Leslie D Photography).

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-Marriage. Our marriage is the most incredible blessing that we've ever been given. Everything that has happened this year has brought us to a level of emotional intimacy that we never knew possible. Marriage can be so difficult. It means exposing your flaws and letting someone know the deepest, darkest hurts in your life. But it's in those moments when you're completely vulnerable, that incredible growth and change can happen. We have found that our best selves come out when we are honest and broken and kind to each other. Through marriage, we are becoming the people that God created us to be.

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-Our precious angel babe. Though we may never hold you in our earthly arms, we are so thankful for the a short 10 weeks that you graced our life with your presence. Only God knows just how much this experience has changed us. Through the incredible heartbreak of miscarriage, we are one step closer to knowing the depth of God's love for his children. 

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-The hard times. Over the last few years, there's been some hard times in our life. From losing jobs to financial struggles, the loss of an unborn baby and so much more, we've had some moments of feeling completely helpless. In those dark, quiet moments, we've had the opportunity to hear the still, small voice of God and be completely rocked by his reckless love. Somehow, through this brokenness, we feel more whole. The incredible growth we've experienced this year couldn't have happened without those moments where we cried out and begged God to step in to take control of our lives. 

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-God's restoration. Sometimes, we have to be broken, in order to heal correctly. In our stubbornness, we refuse to see the right way to live life, until we go through an incredibly painful event that helps us realize the changes we need to make in order to live our best lives. The blessing in failure and heartbreak, is that [if we let him], God reveals himself to us continuously as we heal and He restores the broken pieces.

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Life is so humbling, isn't it? It's taken our hardened, arrogant hearts and opened us to see the brokenness of the world. It's taken our judgemental spirits and shown us that each person has their own struggles and heartbreaks, truly. Each of us has insecurities and flaws. No one is without sin and we have all been called to love each other deeply. Throughout our story, God has worked series of little miracles in our life that never seemed possible. He's opened our hearts to new endeavors that we would have never considered before. He's revealed his great love to us and encouraged us to show that love to everyone we meet. He's poured into us and given us the courage to be brave and share our faith. 

-Gratitude. 2017 may have been a difficult year, but in the end we are thankful for those difficulties and are better because of them. In light of so much hurting in the world, we're compelled to be more thankful for all the blessings in life that we often take for granted.

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Thanks so much for reading and Happy New Year, friends! We're praying that 2018 is a year of incredible growth for you. 

Does any of this resonate with you? We've felt an urging to share bits of our personal journey, so we'd love to hear from you if this is something that you enjoyed or want to hear more of.

Hugs, Betsy & John

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Thank you to our sweet friend, Leslie for these beautiful photos of us!