Well, it's been an interesting adjustment coming from such a wonderful experience with the Lord and diving back to my daily routine. I've gone from teaching passionately about the things of God to cleaning house and doing laundry! I've had to tell myself more than once to "do all to the glory of God." The time change wasn't as big a factor as just having to emotionally decompress. I felt a bit out of sorts for several days.
There have been highlights since my return, of course. Jacob and Jessie came home that first weekend I was home to hear all about the trip and hang out with their folks. It thrills my heart that our kids enjoy being with us. It is, without a doubt, one of the biggest blessings in my life.
We are big game players. Always have been. We used to designate a weekly "game night" when the kids were growing up. A different person got to choose what we would play, or majority ruled, then we'd clear the dinner dishes off the table and commence acting as if whatever game we were playing were an Olympic event! My goodness, we are a competitive lot! It wasn't always pretty--on occasion tempers flared or tears flowed--but it was always entertaining and both the memories and habit have endured. I'm convinced those evenings of tears and laughter, fun and arguments, did more to bond us as a family than any other single thing I can think of.
Jordan's 25th birthday was November 7th so we spent some time remembering him. After church we went out to the cemetery together along with my mother and father-in-law and decorated his grave with Fall flowers. Emmalu is great about that sort of thing. If it were up to me, I don't know if I'd ever go. I find no comfort there. I prefer to think of him as he is now--completely whole and well and basking in the presence and glory of Almighty God!
Another highlight was being asked to share some of the specific details of the trip with my CBS core groups from last year and this year. It is a very humbling thing to know so many people are genuinely interested in what the Lord did in and through me and also that so many followed my adventures on this blog. I've been pleased and surprised by how many of you read this every day and I'm writing again by popular demand! I don't know if I will have anything of merit to say, but I'm going to give it a shot! My musings are no more important than anyone elses, but I am a writer, so I will attempt to write what's on my mind and heart and endeavor to encourage you in your walk with God.
Next week is "missions Sunday" at our church and though I shared a bit the first Sunday I was back, I am going to briefly share again this coming Sunday as well. I am deeply burdened for those on the mission field. It was very distressing for me to see first-hand the lack of dependable financial support missionaries can count on. It broke my heart that those who are called of God to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel" are attempting to fulfill God's call on their life with so little support from their home churches or other folks.
I am convinced that one of the reasons the Lord has blessed this great nation so abundantly is not so we can indulge ourselves, but so we can finance the spreading of the Gospel. And for the most part, we are not fulfilling that responsibility.
Just one example is a woman named Manuela who is from Italy but works in the media room at the Bangkok YWAM base. Her job is to see to it that various books are translated into Thai and then distributed to bookstores and churches throughout the country along with worship CDs. She is providing a valuable service, spreading the Gospel and sending worship music and Christian literature to thousands and thousands of people, but her own financial needs are not being met. She needs about $1.000 a month to support herself but can only count on less than a third of that amount. I guess God makes up the shortfall---I really don't know what she does---but I think it's a terrible thing that she doesn't have the support she needs. I, for one, want to do something to help her. But there are many others in the same position who have to spend their entire furlough going from church to church, dragging their families all over the United States, staying in a different home every night, and trying to drum up the support they need to do the work they are committed to doing. How much better it would be if they could spend their once every three year furlough relaxing and recharging their batteries so they will be rested and equipped to go back and live their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
I remember a pastor who came through our base in Hammonton, New Jersey, so many years ago. He asked us the classic question, "If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one book with you, what would it be?" Being aspiring missionaries and highly spiritual (!) we all dutifully shouted, "Our Bibles!" What else would a dedicated Christian possibly take?Maybe Matthew Henry's comprehensive commentary on the Bible?
"No!" He said. "The Gospel is for sharing. What possible good would a Bible do you on a deserted island?" Hmmm. He had a point. Then he gave the most brilliant answer to that question I have ever heard. He said, "I'd take a book called, 'How to Build a Boat Out of Practically Anything,' build myself a boat out of whatever I could, get back to civilization, find a Bible and start preaching the Gospel!"
That's what these people are doing. I realize not everyone is called to go, but I can't help but think that those of us who are called to stay here should be doing all we can to help them spread the Gospel. I hope you will sincerely pray and ask the Lord to show you what your part may be in contributing to His work. I'm not soliciting you, but I am sharing the burden of my heart and asking you to pray and seek the Lord and ask Him for an opportunity to sow into His work by helping support the missionaries of your choice. If you don't know of any, I do!
As I make my way through the Autumn of my life I am more and more concerned with those things that are eternally valuable. I want to be about the business of His Kingdom. I want to lose my taste for worldly things and gain an insatiable appetite for spiritual things. I'm sure we all feel that way.
One final thought: "While in nature the normal order of growth is from childhood to manhood and so to maturity, in grace, the true development is perpetually backward toward the cradle: we must become and continue as little children, not losing, but rather gaining child-likeness of spirit. The disciples maturest manhood is only the perfection of his child-likeness."
Until next time!