Advent 2

Come, Immanuel. Come, Immanuel. Come, and be born in our hearts.  Immanuel: God with us.

Into 56 year-old Cindy Vander Kodde’s complicated, drama filled life God comes each day. The Christ-light is rekindled anew each Christmas. See the shine in daughter Alexandria’s smile as she coos with delight at church in her new dress from Aunt Darlene. This week Cindy’s nephews with Vander Kodde Construction installed a ramp for Alexandria’s wheelchair outside the old house where they live in Grand Rapids MI.

I believe God blessed Cindy with the gift of motherhood. She has had 12 children–six by birth (one of whom is in heaven), six by adoption (one of which was not finalized)–and 15 grandchildren so far. Andre was born with hypoplastic left heart, had open heart surgery two days later and died three days after that. One of the adoptions was “disrupted:” she was with Cindy for seven years from five days old and still calls her Mom when she sees her. Many others from children’s choir or daycare have called her Mama over the years. Beside Alexandria who turns 13 this month, Cindy has three others still at home.

After earning her Masters in Social Work in 2008, Cindy has been employed as a case manager in addictions. She “loves her job, loves to sing and especially loves the Lord.” Cindy’s “life verse” is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She says she lives by Isaiah 40 and Psalm 91.

This past summer Cindy fell and injured her knee which later required surgery and weeks of recovery which led to job loss. These setbacks, along with thefts and constant trauma in the lives of her children and grandchildren, only draw Cindy nearer to Immanuel. She writes: “In my devotions this morning it talked about hopefully my life being that burning bush when Moses did not see the burning bush but saw God. Hopefully I pray that is what my life is or will be like. I’m working on it or I should say He’s working on me. “

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