Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Very Cookson Christmas

Christmas at Cookson is like nothing I have ever experienced before. Picture this. One living room, 8 kids, 10 stockings, the smell of cinnamon rolls, and presents on top of presents from people we don’t know. One word – blessed.

Around September the office asked our kids to come up with a list of things they would like for Christmas. Churches ask how they can help out during the season and the lists are passed out. Veteran house parents at Cookson warned me that Christmas is crazy, but I really didn’t know what they meant until I experienced it for myself. At least once or twice a week the office would call and say we had presents to pick up and each time I would be shocked at the amount we would bring home. Each one beautifully wrapped with a nametag attached. One church group even took the time to purchase a stocking for each family member and stitch their name on the front, which truly made my heart smile.

We celebrated our big family Christmas on the Wednesday before Christmas because many of our kids were able to go to their parent or guardian(s) to celebrate the holidays. I’ve now found the secret to waking up teenagers… PRESENTS and a 3-year-old saying, “Wake up! It’s Merry Christmas!” Before we opened presents Brandon read the Christmas story and reminded us all of the best gift we will ever receive, the gift of Jesus Christ. We then prayed and thanked God for all the people that made this Christmas special and how God brought us all together. Everyone then took turns ripping through the paper to see what treasures lay inside. It was priceless. We watched Christmas movies, ate lots of cookies, and had a great day just enjoying one another’s company. The evening ended with a hilarious game of charades that we still laugh about to this day.

After a day of recuperation half the kids went home to celebrate with their family of origin. Those who remained went with us to Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa and took a carriage ride through the beautiful Christmas light display. Christmas morning brought more presents and worship at our local church.

We celebrated the New Year by playing Apples to Apples, Spoons, drinking root beer floats, and a neighborhood silly string fight at midnight. As the year 2011 wound down, it made me stop and truly think about how amazingly blessed I am. This was a big year for us. I remember laying in bed at night in the spring praying, “God, I don’t want to go to Oklahoma! Are you kidding me? What do I know about Oklahoma other than the musical?! Why Oklahoma?!!!!” Each time feeling a peace that was beyond understanding pushing me with a gentle, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Now I look at each face. Hear each story. And my prayer is “God, thank you. Thank you for breaking my heart. Thank you for opening my mind. Thank you for helping me learn to love unconditionally.” I can’t imagine doing anything different. Don’t get me wrong. There are days I want to pull all my hair out. In fact, I have 3 gray hairs now! Even so, I am blessed beyond measure. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly I am starting to see growth, unconditional love, and hope. Pieces of my heart living under our roof that I didn’t even know existed until this fall. Thank you Jesus for knowing my heart and all the pieces I have and the pieces I haven’t yet got to meet. (Melissa)


  1. Oh man!!! That blesssed my heart! I am praying all the time for you all and for Cookson Hills ministry!

  2. I continue to miss you and pray for you so often. I think of you every day and pray for God to continue to bless you today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that!
    Amy W.

  3. Prayer is powerful and effective. Keep your head up, you'll NEVER be down.

    In Christian love - Scott L. Carter{from Jamestown,OH}