Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tearfully Thankful

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

Our family is in a season of waiting right now. Waiting on the Lord to show us His plans for us, as our commitment to IJM Cambodia’s office is more than halfway over. We are waiting. That waiting is hard, but I’m finding it a wonderful time to reflect. A time to look back at all He has done for me, for us, in this year. Goodness, just a little more than a year ago I was in the USA taking care of the day to day business of caring for 2 kids as a “single” mom while my husband was serving in Afghanistan. Since then we traveled around the US visiting friends and dear churches we had once been a part of, met new people who have proved to be gifts from God, and of course, moved to Cambodia. So much has happened.

I’m feeling very thankful for all of it. I’m thankful for the past year and for my whole life that led up to it.

I’m thankful for the life I was born into. I’m thankful for the family God gave me and that I was born in a free country where my parents were able to teach me about Jesus before I could even say His name. And I’m thankful that they did.

I’m thankful for that freedom and those who fought for it. I’m thankful I didn’t spend my childhood running from war like many of my Cambodian friends did. Of those who are just a little older than me, most have no fathers, many have no mothers or siblings, and all have witnessed tragedy that no human should ever see. One friend told me the story of her father being killed and her mother running from soldiers for nearly a year, toddler in tow, to escape death themselves. That’s a story nearly everyone in Cambodia has and I’m just beginning to get close enough to people for them to share their own stories with me. I’m thankful for freedom. Something I took for granted for much too long.

I’m thankful for the education I have. I’m thankful that even though organic chemistry was hard – really hard – college life was a breeze for me compared to what it’s like for others. Like my friend Sophea here in Cambodia. She has 8 brothers and sisters but her family could only afford to send one child to college. When she was just 8 years old, of all her siblings, they chose her. The other children had to stop school around that age and help with the farming and housework but she was the one they chose to keep going. She finished grade school and is now in college studying business to make a better life for her family and her siblings. When she didn’t have enough money for just one more year, they sold one of the 3 cows they owned – their only source of milk – to provide for her. I think she might feel a lot of pressure. I’m thankful for a shift in my perspective.

I'm thankful for God bringing my husband to me and moving our family from Texas to New Jersey, then Virginia, then North Carolina, where relationships were born that are still growing across miles and continents. Every person we've ever met has played a role in God's plan for our future. For that I am always thankful.

I’m thankful for the mistakes I made that taught me more about life. And myself. And others. And always more about God’s grace.

I’m thankful for God’s word and for His Spirit that transforms black words on a white page into living words. Have you ever picked up the Bible at a moment when you had no idea what you needed to read and God just spoke to you through His words? I’m thankful for those moments, which seem to happen more and more lately for me.

I’m thankful for my children. For their health and their safety and their loving little hearts that are adaptable to new cultures and new people. I’m thankful God has always provided for them. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have “enough.” Enough food or medicine or water. There are people in the world that only have enough for one child and have to make a choice each day of which child to feed or medicate. I can’t even begin to imagine that and I am oh, so thankful God has never left me to make that choice.

I am so, so thankful at this moment.

I am thankful that He chose me. As His child, as His friend, as His witness to the world.

The Bible, in Ephesians 1, says He adopted me as His child, giving me all the same, exactly equal rights as his own son, Jesus. And in Luke 3 it says God could raise stones up into children of Abraham.
But He didn’t. He chose me.

He chose me to tell a story. To serve a purpose. To do something incredible.

Just like He chose you.

He doesn’t need us at all.

But He desires us. The God of the universe desires us.

The Lord who created me wants to accomplish great things with me. How many billions of people have there been throughout eternity and He wants me?

For that I am thankful. I am tearfully thankful.

And waiting? Well, He’s waited an eternity for me. I will patiently wait for Him.

I’d love to have a glimpse of things others are thankful for at this season in life.
Do share so I can rejoice with you!

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