Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Showers of Blessings!

We are blessed.  It is not enough to say we are blessed - yet those are the words we are limited to in our language. Maybe, abundantly blessed?  After almost four years here in Indonesia, we can look around and see just how incredibly blessed we are here.  We have four incredible children, a wonderful marriage and ministry jobs that stretch us and fill us each and every day.  What more could we ask for?
And that, my friends, is what this post is about...  asking for more.  It is a trap.  There is always the next thing and the next step - we tend to be focused on the future than on today.  Is that just the human condition?  Well after the time we have spent in this beautiful country, we can say no.  It is not.
We work and live alongside a group of people who do not look toward tomorrow all the time.  They focus on the moment.  They take life slow and suck in each moment for the most part.  The Indonesian culture is not about the next step but right here and right now.
That can be frustrating at times, you can tell they are not thinking of the future when they build roads, houses, businesses.  It has been a cause for frustration for us many times.  We have often talked about the need for them to have engineers to work through road maintenance and design.  However, the simplicity to their lives is beautiful.
They work for enough to feed and take care of them today.  Then they go home and spend time with their family and community.  They laugh, pray, and fellowship in a way that does not know the "stress of tomorrow".
We have spent a great deal of time here caught in the trap of tomorrow.  Finishing our master's degrees, preparing our children for college, thinking of coming home - and planning for all of this.  None of these are bad things.  However, do they control our here and now?  There are days I rush from work to home, from preparing school work to doing my own school work.  What do I miss along the way?
Many of us live in this trap and when we do have that present vision we hurry through it because of the to-do list ahead of us.
We have heard it said that people on their death bed do not wish for more time to complete more tasks.
The Newell kids - 2010

 As our children get older and the realization that they will all be gone soon sets in - we pause.  When did Tori get big enough to make such complicated decisions on her own?  When did Reba grow into the beautiful young lady she has become?  When did Will grow to be so tall?  He was, after all, our little man.  And certainly, when did Andrew grow to be able to be on his own in America?
Their roads will be tough - although they have all certainly been blessed, they will face the world after high school with parents thousands of miles away.  However, we see through their lives that we have given them the world.  We would have never considered university overseas - was it even an option? In our limited vision at 17 and 18 we saw the state schools before us as our choices.  They see the whole world. So does it all balance out?
The bottom line is that I want to give my kids more than the world as an option, but I want them to be diligent in their planning, diligent in their prayers, and diligent in living their life in the present.  Easier said than done sometimes, but a true desire of our hearts.  But God is doing the work.  They stop for a friend and listen, they rest, they laugh, they pause to see the beauty and the humor in the world.
This is just another humbling lesson that they are God's children and have only been given to us for a time - they ultimately belong to Him and He will teach them - if we move out of the way.
We encourage you to learn lessons from your children - learn to stop and take pause.  God has prepared each day for you - do not rush through it in order to reach the next step.  As a two year old takes delight from bubbles - take delight what God has prepared for you today.

 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:31-34