Cockerham Family Christmas Card 2015

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We have been hitting up the online holiday card for several years now…forgive us…it is just what we have done. Last year was just too difficult to place words or pictures to paper…but we are ready to give it a go this year. Get comfy, grab some coffee or cocoa and consider yourself officially Christmas hugged from the Cockerham clan…

It would appear the Cockerhams embrace chaos…because we chose this Christmas to MOVE. Literally…on Christmas Eve eve we put our heads on new pillows in beds we had not slept on in many, many, months. Our new home is nestled four houses away from friends who feel like family…a friend I have known and loved for 36 years. This home represents a new chapter…a next phase in an adventure that simply won’t quit.

In April of 2015 we boarded a plane indefinitely leaving behind the Pearl of Africa. A bittersweet decision. A part of our hearts will always remain in that place. We left two members of our family as well as a children’s village in northern Uganda full of children we adore and a country we will always call our second home.

The children have transitioned beautifully…Kylee is dancing and is a part of the Carolina Youth Ballet. She and Chris both participated in the Nutcracker this year–and it created a super special memory for all involved. (To be clear–he wore a tux not tights.)

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Caleb and Joshua have participated in parkour…Africa*** was an ideal training course for obstacle and adventure sports! Chris will also be coaching the boys this winter on their respective basketball teams. Regrettably  this sport transforms me in to an energetic “screamer”; where I get too loud and give too many instructions for any first grader to follow. (Typically sounds something like this: “Good job little Ralphie, dribble, now pass to Joey…okay arms up, defense…arms up, ARMS UP! Thatta boy…now box out! “)  I catch myself, hate it…and do it again the very next game. God help us all–and GO CLIPPERS AND ROCKETS.

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We added a black lab mix to our crew…her name is “Hope” as everyone needs a “little” hope in their world!

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Chris has been loving the challenge and nuances of full time ministry with Young Life College. We love our committee and he has enjoyed joining the familiar staff in Raleigh. The students he has met at NC State, Meredith and Wake Tech have quickly become friends and he looks forward to watching this ministry grow.

Chris has also continued to love premarital counseling and marrying young couples. Due to his desire to continue to invest in couples’ lives (long term) he is launching Peak Family Ministries where he will have the opportunity to care for new couples starting out, as well as invest in young families who are figuring out the different stages of love, marriage, and family.

I look forward to partnering with him in this endeavor.

I have had a delightful semester homeschooling the children as we transition back to the states. This is a challenge but a gift to have such intimate time with my kiddos–I especially enjoying watching the light bulbs illuminate after a new discovery. I have also started a new business working for Rodan + Fields. There has been something terribly therapeutic about starting something so very new and different…something that can bring health and healing to others…but also a business that has been a gift to our families’ finances. Grateful for new beginnings and great gifts.

My writing has turned a bit more personal and intimate during this season. I look forward to sharing more about this possibly even next year at this time. I did want to share a little story that brought me inspiration this Christmas season…

I love to read Christmas stories to my children…but annually a Christmas book inevitably finds its way to my bedside table. Because our December has felt especially full, on Christmas night in an effort to not miss tradition; I grabbed, The Christmas Box out of a red and green tub in the garage and cracked it open. I knew I needed to read it quickly…as a book I have been anxiously awaiting was being delivered on the 26th. (More on this later but if you somehow remember me sharing the story of how Bob Goff connected me with an incredible Pepperdine lawyer who was rescuing teens from indefinite prison sentences in Uganda…this precious friend of mine has written a book…and it is coming out for the world to read SOON…so get excited…my copy arrived yesterday…but you will be hearing more from me on this in the near future!)

On Christmas night, I committed to reading The Christmas Box cover to cover. I had read the book in college–I knew it was short and sweet. I love re-reading a book (ahem) 20 years later and pretty much forgetting the majority of the details with the exception of how the book made me FEEL. That said, I was NOT prepared for contents of the last letter discovered inside the Christmas Box. (Spoiler alert…not even apologizing…because it is too good not to share.) The Christmas box was filled with letters written from a mother to her deceased daughter…a daughter she had lost at the tender age of three.

“My Beloved One,

How I wish that I might say these things to your gentle face and that this box might be found empty. Even as the mother of our Lord found the tomb they placed Him in empty. And in this there is hope, my love. Hope of embracing you again and holding you to my breast. And this because of the great gift of Christmas. Because He came. The first Christmas offering from a parent to His children, because He loved them and wanted them back. I understand that in ways I never understood before, as my love for you has not waned with time, but has grown brighter with each Christmas season. How I look forward to that glorious day that I hold you again. I love you, my little angel.

Mother”

Needless to say The Christmas Box delivered more than a good Christmas story…it put words to my heart cries…it connected dots to a mother’s love and a Father’s love…to an eternal story…a story ending without good-byes…or tears.

In all of the mystery and faith I can muster…I see hope…I see heaven…I see a King(dom) coming. An unparalleled Father’s Love speaks to me this season.

My recent blog said it best…there will be no “healing” in our story…we will either be transformed or destroyed. I was told by someone wise…”this kind of heartache and loss…seeing the things your eyes saw on the other side of the globe could become a deal breaker…for you and God that is. It could bust a person’s faith in to a billon pieces never to be recovered.” I have lingered there…I have wondered. And I have landed on the side of faith and trust…even when I stutter and stammer to let those words leave my lips. The Christmas story reminds me that there is more…much more to come.

This Christmas we choose new…we choose transformation…we choose the gift of Love.

May the Christmas Story intersect with your Story…and may you be transformed.

Love,

Jenni

 

 

 

 

 

 

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