Mind blowing thought? We leave the USofA in 4 days. We leave Ohio in 3 days. And we have been in the country for a long time. [Check out some photo highlights here.]
A few thoughts rattle around in my brain.
1) I shouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I should be packing. Figuring out what books make the list. Washing borrowed clothes to return to people. I should be sorting through our 15 square foot, 4 foot high section of my parents’ basement that holds our “storage” items. I should sort things in groups like “donate”, “throw away”, “Keep”, and “lend to my sister”. But I’m overwhelmed by sorting through my physical possessions yet-again. I’ve sorted and given, piled, and donated, re-packed and condensed like 6 times. Each time my pile gets smaller. But each times it’s a chore. A glorious one with great results. Funny thing? Once I give something away, I don’t come back to the storage stuff for oh, about a year. and when I do, it’s been so long, I’ve already forgotten what I gave away. Thus, not missing it…
2) How blessed are we. How incredibly poured into am I by fantastic people around me. Sometimes family is a given. Sometimes family being great is something you have to just say, because they read your blog & they’ll be sad if you don’t include them. Well on this list, family hits the top three. Being around people during the holidays, I started hearing people’s stories about family – especially in-laws. Some folks have rather crazy in-laws, or really immature, or awful folks, which made me very, very, very thankful that my in-laws – mom and dad, step-dad, and step-mom, brothers, stepsister and step brothers and half brother are really nice folks. They’ve always welcomed me so wonderfully into their family, treat me like a queen (maybe that’s where their son learned it!) and all around genuinely kind-hearted, FUN folks. We have a lot of fun! How blessed to spend time with them.
My family. (Whom also reads this, but I don’t write out of obligations). We have a lot, lot of fun. Even though all 8 of us (we were once 5, now +3) are MUCH noisier than our original bunch, who I thought was quite raucous to begin with, we still know how to have a good time. I’m real glad Sister 2 was stuck home with us for 3 weeks. And real glad that Sister 1 (this is age related #s, not preference) drove 30 hrs with their-almost-one-year-old and brought her husband to hang out with a week. Such rich, rich, wonderful memories created every time we gather.
3) How immensely blessed we are by friends. People who aren’t stuck with you, unlike family. People who chose to love you. People who exert effort to call, or open their home to us, who demand Skype talks when we’re home, who pour on encouragement. People who seek to really know us, to hear alllllllll of our story. Friends who ask, “So how is Swaziland, really? And don’t give me crap like you love it, or your doula work is cool. I want to know the dirt. The deep-down stuff you tell no one else.” Friends who tell me their story. Who share their spiritual experiences, the lessons they’re learning in life, how living as followers of Christ in their communities & jobs is hard and breaking and lonely at times. Friends who we haven’t talked to in months, but they answer their phone, recall the sound of my voice, and we pick up like it was yesterday (I seem to have an unusually large number of these friends. No complaints!). Friends who I lose track of time with. Friends who get that I may only have 3 hours, but we’ll be all-present and make the most of those 3 hours.
4) How neat it is that we didn’t have to do any fundraising when we came home. Okay, it wasn’t massive fundraising, but we did ask 2 people. Okay, okay, IIII didn’t ask anyone, Sean talked to them. One of our 13 supporters finished their 12 month commitment to us, so we had a small hole in our monthly budget. We asked a friend, who had promised to support, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet (watch yourselves, we remember these things, folks!). We thanked us for the reminder and is checking his books. Upon reflecting & preparing for taxes, we realized that having a separate work budget could help us keep things straight in our heads. Currently any “work” expenses came out of our personal income. Coincidentally, a friend mentioned several months back, that he could share with us money, if we had a project or specific need. Sean asked HIM to cover our work budget for the year.
Two new people jumping on board. People who already told us, and we followed up on. Then…. THEN …. some really fantastic folks and friends we’ve come to love approached US about committing to financially and spiritually support us.
5) So here I sit, my hands lying open in my lap. Eyes closed. Legs crossed. Receiving. Clearly, the Lord met us here. Clearly, I’m taken care. It is easy to praise the Lord when your bank account do not read RED. And I can allow God to be King over our finances, can’t I allow Him to be Lord over all areas of my life? Can’t I say to Him: I saw You. I see You when you sent these people to ask us ‘How can we encourage you this year?’ I saw you when someone treated us to tea. I SEE you when someone took time from their BUSY life to hang out with me. I saw you when she and he took time off from work, lost money, fell behind, because they valued relationships and time with me over production and money and prestige.
Yes. I can say those things to the Lord. I will choose to notice. And continue. I see You in the Love that surrounds me. I see You as I accept humility because Your Hands and Feet keep giving to me. My cup is full. My pockets are full. My belly is full. My heart is full. My time is full. IIII am full because Your Hands and Feet, Your People, Your-Modern-Day-Temples chose to love their neighbor, me, better than they love themselves. These Hands chose to express their love for You, Creator, YHWH God, by the way they loved me. And gosh, do they love me well; thus, I see You.