In Live more simply/ Purpose/ Worship more fully

Three words that can lead you to the will of God

There is a gentle rain falling and I listen to the sleep-breathing of my husband in the bed beside me. I think about my one child leaving and my one child arriving.   The girl-child has spent the past week showing her newlywed husband the land of her birth. They leave today for new adventures. As the sun sleeps it’s final hour over the African continent, my boy-child is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. He arrives today to lead a team of missionaries who travel to these Southern shores to perhaps change the destiny of a young one or a vulnerable one who lives in deep poverty not far from where I awake.   As the rain falls softly in the dark of the morning hour, I hear the brown owl call as he returns from his nightly hunt. I listen to the sounds of the day awakening on the Southern tip of Africa and three words fill my heart and my mind.

Three words that can change everything.

I am grateful.

I could think of the weariness that comes with the living out of suitcases as we travel with new and old friends. I could sigh over the burst pipes in an old house. There could be complaint about the endless sweeping of leaves in a tree-laden garden or sigh in anticipation of the work ahead when 28 missionaries fill this house. I could walk this road.

Instead, I choose the other path.

I am grateful.

My daughter got to introduce her husband to grandparents who were too frail to attend the wedding. I watched as the man she chose to live her life with leaned toward a hard of hearing grandpa and embraced the memories of an elderly man.

I am grateful.

While my gentle girl-child packs to leave and I make up the bed in anticipation of my bold boy-child’s arrival, I think of the wife he has briefly left behind. She is pregnant with her second while tenderly caring for her first. Travel across the Atlantic is not in her best interest. Despite having to shoulder the full responsibility of home and babies, she supports and encourages her husband, my son.

I am grateful.

My son will sacrifice time with his son in order to serve the sons of others. For two weeks he will fight jet lag and sleep deprivation and work long hours deep into the night.   He will serve sons born into poverty and he will serve sons born into privilege. He will sacrifice the comforts and the joy of home while serving the Son who sacrificed all.

I am grateful.

My husband and I prepare to host three pastors who will walk alongside us and who form part of a church planting team.  In the midst of this busyness, I quietly pack for a sister’s two-day reunion. Out of the corner of my eye, I keep watch over the bees that have moved into our roof. Husband is taking charge of moving them out – and the plumber in. Those old pipes don’t seem to care about guests arriving.

Still, I am grateful. So very grateful.

I am grateful for sons and daughters, both birthed and married in. I am grateful for the generations visiting under one roof, for the conversations, for the meals prepared and the places explored together. I am grateful for sisters who despite distance and time, are friends forever. For the concept of ‘family’ that God created and for the working out of that concept in real, messy, daily living, I am so very grateful.

I am grateful for pastors, for their steady, hard work. I am grateful for their studies of the scriptures, for the studies of their people, for the love of their land and the greater love of their Lord. For this gift to the Church I am so very grateful.

I am grateful for missionaries who travel from afar to bring those far off nearer to Christ. Missionaries who have eyes that see and ears that hear. I am grateful for a son who ministers alongside them all the while seamlessly serving them with buses and meals and schedules and love. For all this I am very grateful.

Life is about perspective. We can choose the road of sighs and complaints, of criticism and resentment, of bitterness and blame and there are times I have chosen that road. Or we can choose the way of diligence and commitment, of learning and loving and serving and in all this, the giving of thanks. This path leads to the will of God.  I have decided to choose this road … and for that I am truly grateful.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 18

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