Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today's Ponderings...

As of today, we have been living in Haiti just shy of 2 months. It's been an interesting transition. Interesting because things have not looked the way I hoped or even planned. Goes to show that scripture that says, "we may make our plans, but God orders our steps." So true. Our plan was to move here, and we did get here, but it's been different.

Two days before we moved down, we were informed that the housing that was set up for us, at a team house, was no longer available. The entire team house was shutting down so it was literally impossible for us to live there. At first, it was slight panic and a bit of frustration. We realized we'd have to resort to us all, my family of 6 plus my mother and father in law, living together at their 2 bedroom beach house. I was a little more frustrated because it was not what we wanted. Obviously that's little space for what feels like a hundred of us, but at this point there was no other option. Now, I thank God for our crowded time there. We shared a room with our 4 kids for 6 weeks, not counting the few weeks prior to us moving to Haiti when we were traveling.

That crowded, 'in somebody else's space- still' feel was just what I needed to remember to be thankful for what I have. {I had almost forgotten!} My own personal emotions were stirred up because I wanted so badly to just be in my own home, with our own rooms, setting up our own space....how we had been used to in the states and how I felt we just 'should' be.  But I still had no power and control to make that happen! We were there just enough time for me to look around in the surrounding neighborhoods and country to realize, that even the 8 of us living in a 2 bedroom house- was 10 times more than what the people around me had. Not to mention, the beach house was just that....a BEACH house. On the water. Beauty everywhere. The most perfect water with just enough sea life to keep us all entertained, educated and not totally freaked out to be in the water. :) Jellyfish, all sorts of fish including exotic lion fish, sea urchins of all sizes and colors, shells and crabs were all the objects of our homeschool lessons for the girls. Taking kayak rides, snorkeling over the reef, strengthening the girls' swimming skills and eating mangos in the salty ocean were such a joy. In a moment of changing my perspective from annoyed things weren't going as planned, to one of thankfulness, my life became a true exotic family vacation! Loaded with joy, fun and laughter, we couldn't afford that type of vacation if we planned it! I was amazed that my own thought-life seemed to change everything so much.

Now we are in our home in town. About an hour and a half from that beautiful beach house that I love so much. :) I'm blessed to have the freedom to go there often still, but now that I'm in my 'real' house I'm wondering why I was so eager to get into the 'grind of life' so to speak! Why?!

I must say though, our home here is beautiful. God has given me a very nice space to call home and work. Our home is also our team and guest house. We host teams of missionaries and visitors of short term stays.

My adjustment to life here and all the various aspects of our living have definitely ebbed and flowed. Ups and downs in my perspective and attitude have been the norm. Part of me says, 'that's totally expected,' while the Other part...the One who truly lives in me says, 'why? If you know that a thankful and joyful attitude, keeping your focus on Me, will bring you life even in the discomforts and chaos, why do you let it go?"

So this morning, the following is what God spoke to me...I hope that in whatever discomforts you may find yourselves in, this would help!

Life's discomforts and displeasures are miniature in the grand scheme of it all. We believe lies told to ourselves and spoken to us from our enemy that those things will kill us or make us miserable if they aren't changed to what WE think they should be. The reality is though, that they can be really good for us and even necessary for our spiritual growth. They will work for our benefit if rather than complain, mope and throw a little hissy fit about them, we surrender them to God and choose to be thankful and content. Miracles happen when we find contentment. We grow.

A good lifestyle is about perspective and we always have the choice to look on the bright side and operate from a place of gratitude and peace. Those attitudes are freely available to us through the Spirit of God.

The way clean eating is good for the body, clean thinking is good for the soul. A clean spirit by the blood of the Lamb, a clean heart by clean thoughts, and a clean body by clean diet and exercise all make for a very happy, healthy and free person.

Our brokenness coupled with God's kindness should lead us all to repentance at the cross of Christ. That action leads to a healthy and living spirit within us. A living and healthy spirit leads to healthy and fruitful thoughts, which lead to a healthy and fruitful lifestyle. God wants us to live a healthy lifestyle in all areas, no matter our circumstances, by choosing to have a broken and contrite heart before Him. {We can and should live our lives with both brokenness and joy before our loving God}.  We can only truly be broken before God, if we fear Him and recognize our need for Him at every moment of our lives. There never comes even a moment when we don't totally need Him. From that realization springs up WISDOM which is the main ingredient for a spiritually, mentally and physically healthy life.

An excerpt from a book called "Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel" by Richard Owen Roberts talks about God's aspirations for us, being a motivating factor for our repentance. No matter what our life looks like, He actually has aspirations for our life. God doesn't want us to be stuck in the vortex of sin, constantly trying to hide our issues from the One who sees all. HE WANTS US TO BE GIANTS IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. That statement moves me. Not only does the God of love, show kindness to us on a daily basis in literally countless ways, His mercy is renewed each morning and but He also gave us His Spirit which enables us to live a life of godliness.

All of that information tells me that my inward brokenness and ugliness is the start of an absolutely wonderful life if I come to Jesus with it. I want to be a giant in the land of the living, for sure, but that is going to take my very intentional involvement. My option to CHOOSE joy and gratitude and love will most definitely have to be the way I go if I want growth. And it happens day by day, moment by moment. You gain spiritual wealth and strength mostly through difficulty. And all the while, we try to avoid difficulty at all cost....we're missing out big time when we run from it rather than embrace it. When you're wronged, rather than grumble about it, let's actually OVERLOOK it and even seek joy in our position. By doing that, we partner in suffering with our very own Redeemer! And partnership on that level breeds close friendship. Wow. I want that.

So- now I finally take a breath and pray sincerely that God would sustain me with willingness. Willingness to surrender all my discomforts, and displeasures and pain. All my sufferings and negativity...that primarily, He might be glorified, and also that I may attain a glorious lifestyle on this earth. Something worthy of the cross and of eternity with Him. That although I'm nothing but a pitiful weakling without Him, I might be a giant in the land of the living and a light and help to those who are dying.

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