Well, uninspired or not, I press on (namely for the three of you who encouraged me to do so).
We are thankful to be entering another year, just as in need of God's grace as ever. 2010 was certainly a year of transition, trials, blessings, joys... and any number of other adjectives. But one thing is certain- God remains on the thrown, and we remain His grateful adopted children eagerly awaiting His return. Maybe 2011 will be the year!
We have now been in Tenerife for 9 months. I am buttoning down and becoming more serious about getting my driver's license and passing my Spanish proficiency exam. Nathan is an incredible husband and father and is constantly serving us, but for both of our sanity, I need to be able to do some grocery shopping and take kids to the doctor by myself.
We are thankful to be building stronger friendships with some of our neighbors. If you think of it, be in prayer for David and Sonya (and children Carlos and Sarah) and Federico and Sylvie (and sons Simone, Rafael, and Jean Marie). We were blessed to spend the evening last night with the latter family, enjoying their exceptional BBQ skills and some good conversation. We are hoping to have David and Sonya over to dinner some time in the next week.
For me, I think most of the work I've seen God do in the last nine months has been an overhaul of my own heart. I used to always marvel, when I'd go on a short-term missions trip, at how God seemingly flew me thousands of miles away just to show me areas of my own life that needed change. Well, living overseas now is no different. So many different things are constantly bouncing through my head, I'd be awake all night if I tried to put them to paper right now, but it all boils back down to this: He's big, and I'm little. Parenting four kids 4 and under shows me that. Moving to a new culture shows me that. Trying to share the best news in the world with people who aren't interested shows me that. Dealing with more sickness than we have ever experienced in one year shows me that. Spending holidays away from family and loved ones shows me that. Watching two young friends die leaving behind devastated families shows me that. Looking out the window at the vast ocean every day shows me that. And living in the shadow of an active volcano shows me that. I think of the famous C.S. Lewis quote from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Lucy asks the Beaver if Aslan is a tame lion. He replies, "Safe? Of course he's not safe!.....But he's good!"
So, to sum it up, I've learned a lot this past year- about myself, about God... mostly I've learned that I'm oh so far from perfect, and oh so in need of God. Not just His help or his grace, but Him. I need Him for every breath. I need God. I desperately need His Word. He allows me times of shade, times of lonliness, times of wandering in the valley, followed by times of victory, of amazement, of refreshment- all because He wants me to see Himself.
A theme He has repeatedly brought back into my life over the years is learning to "see" his fingerprints in my life. It's utter foolishness to think that a hair falls from my head without his knowledge or concern. Yet, I so often don't look past my own nose as I wallow about in my circumstances, emoting every which way that I turn, and looking only at how I might alleviate my sufferings or fix my own problems. Yet not one broken transmission, sick baby, lost wallet, or unruly child is outside of His sovereign control or design. I hope my thick skull will eventually remember that lesson.
Ok... I better wrap up my meandering thoughts and end with some pictures, as that's really what people want to see anyway.