In Touch – December 20, 2013
Posted on December 19, 2013 by under Touché,

Dear friends,

 Every December when I write our Christmas letter, I cannot help but wonder what the coming year will bring. As we age we become a bit more familiar with losses in life, and we know that no family remains untouched. Nothing could have prepared us, though, for the way that our lives would be changed on August 20. Most of you have journeyed with us and prayed for us this past year through Andrew’s accident and recovery. If you have not, please go to and search for andrewholbrook to read about it.

We have often used the word bittersweet to describe this experience. The bitter is pretty obvious, but the sweet reveals itself to us in both familiar and completely unexpected ways.  We have felt the sweetness of answered prayer many times: first, when Andrew survived his accident; next, with grace for each day when we did not know what the future held; and finally, in his steady progress recovering from his injury. We also see the sweet in his determination and perseverance, in his “stairs because we can” attitude and in the way he views his accident. Rather than dwelling on what he lost, he continually rejoices that he was spared, and truly believes God has a significant purpose for his life. Finally, the sweetness comes from our community of faith, from friends and even strangers who prayed for us night and day, across the world, especially when we were too tired or scared or discouraged to pray ourselves. I often think of Joseph’s words to his brothers in the book of Genesis: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

At this point in early December, Andrew plans to audit a class at Hope in January to assess his academic ability and focus. He would like to be back to school full time, immediately. He continues to work hard at speech/cognition therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy five days a week. In addition, he works out with his buddies, goes out for dinner with his girlfriend, and serves as chaplain of his fraternity. He is integrated into the life of Hope as much as he can be right now, and that makes him one happy boy.

Our daughters have been the best sisters Andrew could ask for. Sarah is living here in Holland, working on a Christmas tree farm and planning to head to graduate school. It is great having her here to help out and provide that important sibling support. She manages to see her boyfriend in New York-another Andrew!-fairly often for being 800 miles away.  Hilary is counting off the months until her wedding-just three!-to Tyler Jarratt. They will be married in Holland, honeymoon in Costa Rica, and head back to San Diego for their jobs. Hilary still works for Gabriel House, and Tyler works for Campus Outreach at San Diego State University. We loved meeting him this past summer when they got engaged, but he really became part of the family as he spent those early days with us at Spectrum Hospital and, as Sarah said, earned his “brother stripes” by getting her water, stamps, and anything else she could think of.

Taylor is commuting back and forth between Hopewell and Holland. While our church generously gave him a year off, he’s a guy who needs to work, so he has achieved a pretty good balance of preaching in New York and being Pops in Holland. We miss him when he is gone and love when he comes back.

I am in Holland with Andrew, exactly where I want to be. My school has generously donated sick days to me, and I will most likely be here through the school year. After that, we do not yet know what the future holds. My new friend Kathie, whose daughter suffered a similar injury to Andrew several years ago, ends all her messages with “Jesus, I trust in You!” That is a fitting way for us, too, to end this message.  Whatever the year brings for each of us, good or bad, we never walk alone.