Friday, April 08, 2011

Upon one Year...

One year ago today, my little family of five (with Lucas in the oven) landed in Tenerife with just our 12 suitcases. We were a bit jet lagged but full of anticipation for this new journey God had brought us on. I wish I had taken a picture of us in the airport with our bags, or us upon arrival, but apparently I had too many other things on my mind :-) (but, if any of you from MBC who were at the airport happened to take pictures, I'd love to get them!)

It's hard to sum up an entire year in a word, a sentence, or even a blog post. I think I can say this has been one of the toughest years of my life, but also one of the best. Transitioning the children to a new culture and language has been one of my biggest heart-felt struggles. It tugs at my heart to hear them talking about all of the friends, family, and toys they miss from across the ocean. For the most part they are resilient, but for our eldest, the battle has become deep and painful.

I say the year has been hard as we've faced such a barrage of physical, spiritual, and circumstantial trials. Our bodies have not done well responding to a whole new ethnicity of germs and viruses. I also gave birth via cesarean, been hospitalized for a stomach virus, learned my pituitary tumor had moved to a more dangerous part of my head, then disappeared, then reappeared back where it should have been (it didn't really move... it's just that radiologists here apparently have a lot of creative license when reading MRIs.)

Elijah's eyes went haywire, Lucas had RSV for 3 months, and we've all had our fair share of colds, strep throat, migraines, and stomach bugs. Our van has taken up residence in the mechanic's shop (living there about 50% of the past year). We've had to learn to live "quietly" with four children next to a neighbor who wants silence at all times. I've struggled to control my post-pregnancy hormones, especially when applied to our new habitat, and in response to four cute, cuddly little sinnerling children. I've NEVER in my life been so painfully aware of my propensity towards anger, especially in response to my children. I daily have to battle having a right response in all of the split-second occurrences that demand my attention. We've also struggled to reconcile our expectations for how we'd like to spend our time verses how we are supposed to spend our time during the first year (going to driver's school, studying language and culture, etc).

But, I can say this has been one of the best years of my life in this- God's Word promises that trials produce endurance, and endurance makes us more complete- more like Christ. One thing that has been so heavy on my heart the past couple of years is seeing so many people walk away from a relationship with Christ. In our post-modern culture, we seem more prone to elevate our own thoughts and understanding above what is clearly written in the Bible. I've wondered... what keeps someone from abandoning their faith? Who can endure until the end? Well, for the first time in my life, I'm understanding James 1, and why I can and should count it all JOY when I face trials. Why? Because it produces ENDURANCE. And endurance, when it has its perfect result, will make us PERFECT and COMPLETE, lacking in nothing. Too often I wish trials away instead of staying in them, quietly, expectantly, waiting for God to do the work in me He set out to do. When life is easy, and we're never sick, and our car never dies, and our kids are always perfect, and we can go to Walmart and buy whatever our mind can imagine, and our home is SO comfortable, and the bank account is full--- then we should be FEARFUL! In those times, it's to easy and natural to turn our dependence from Christ and see our sufficiency in our self. Our muscles get soft, our hearts get weak, and our motivation to get of the couch to run dwindles. We won't endure. We will lack much and be marred by imperfection. I'm preaching to the choir here, and I hardly have responded with joy in each of our trials. But, after one year of seemingly constant trial, I am beginning to understand how and my I truly can count it all joy.

I hope that one year from now, I can write about year two, how it was so full of great ministry moments, people turning to Christ, spiritual growth, etc. But, that is up to God- and I will chose to be content with whatever kind of year He brings. As Hudson Taylor said, God often "wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade."


Andie said...

Hey girl,
finally had the quiet to sit down and read your whole post. (i am out for the morning.) thanks for posting. i totally relate to the part about never seeing anger as much as I do now! and number four hasn't even arrived yet. this was a really good post for me, because my heart still always wants to run from trials. I was helped by your explanation, though, about why we need them. It is how the Lord keeps us close so we don't wander away.
Love you dear!

Susan said...

Neat to see your response to trials. It's funny...i've heard you talk before somewhere, about not trying to get out of trials but to stay in them and be perfected. And I read this post today...and I feel like I need to pray for trials to come my way so that my faith can be perfected. How ironic.

Keep enduring my friend! :) You're such an inspiration to me!