Sometimes I write out of boredom or sometimes out of rambling thoughts I need to get out, but today a Bible verse compelled me to write. I was doing my study for my women's group at church and this verse popped out at me: Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
As I read this verse, memories flooded back to me. Here are the things I want to remember and thank God for all my days here on earth.
1. When God called me to be a servant. I was a junior or senior in high school, and because of where we moved to, my father got asked to preach at a small country church up the road. I continued attending another church that had a great youth group. The small country church lost its organist, and my parents didn't pressure me to fill the position, but God convicted me one Sunday morning through a sermon that I should offer to do so. I didn't want to leave going to my church on Sundays and seeing my friends, but knew it was what God wanted me to do.
2. When God called me to leave my comfortable life at a Christian college and go to a secular one, knowing I needed more experience in the outside world. At the Christian school, I served the Lord through my music. I sang in a special touring group, along with the main choral group on campus and another smaller choral group. One thing that troubled me about the touring group was that although we were ministering to people in our concerts, we had no real life connection with them. We'd do our concert and move on. I wanted to "move on" in my Christian walk and have more interaction with people in ministry. At Temple, God provided that outlet for me through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. First, I could interact w/ the small group I led and help them discover truth. Second, I could interact w/ unbelievers in a couple different ways: ones I met in class, ones that visited our IV group, and finally ones that came to a special study I led for those interested in studying the Bible.
3. When God called me to international student ministry. I literally laid awake late at nights for about a week when God called me to serve him through teaching ESL. I don't ever recall being so excited about anything, feeling so alive and so connected to God before that time. This was HUGE for me. I finally "found it" so to speak, the thing I could do professionally that would have major spiritual implications. I worked on my degree and partway through started teaching full-time. I was able to share the gospel through tutoring one on one for school requirements, teaching about religious holidays at my job, and sharing w/ students who lived with us through the hosting program.
4. When I was sure God had provided for Dave with the job at ISU. This is more his personal story, and it's a wonderful one. I'll just briefly say that he got many rejection letters and only one interview, but I told him "it only takes one" and when he visited campus he knew he was going to get the job here. This was a fulfillment of a dream for both of us, to be on campus and have an impact in the lives of students, just as we both had been blessed during our college years. Dave came to Christ during that time and I grew into a real disciple. Just recently, a Chinese student approached Dave and said, "is there a Bible study I can attend?" The Bible study he led for several years prior to this started the same way, with one student, and then it died out. God may be reviving it.
5. When God called me to home school. Okay, true confessions here. I want you to see the reality of my heart. My goal before was to have my kids as close together as possible, "get through" the younger years, and get them out of the house so I could have my freedom again. Ha! Freedom was my idol. God has "freed" me from my idol of freedom! As you know, I'm a teacher, so the teaching part wasn't what worried me. Being that I've struggled w/ impatience w/ my kids, I couldn't see how I would be able to survive with them home all day. Quite the opposite happened when I home schooled. They started getting along really well with each other and I enjoyed watching them learn and being a part of that. I especially enjoyed watching them start to develop their creativity, in writing, music, and film-making. I cherish those years and love my kids all the more because of them.
6. When God called us to adopt. This had been a desire from our early married days, but never really developed into anything substantial until God touched my heart one Sunday through a pro life sermon. The rest is history. Samantha has been extremely difficult to raise, and has tried everything apart from physical violence, but she is an amazing kid. I love her with all my heart, not just because I know she's mine, but because she truly has an incredible character that I'm trusting will be used mightily by God.
7. Ethan's leukemia. The most stretching experience of our lives!!!!! And the thing God has used to teach me the value of life. Not just living, but every little mundane thing in this life. For example, being able to cook a meal in my own kitchen. Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful place, but it's not home. I also learned through the crisis points in his treatment to let go. He's not mine, he's God's. Nothing can happen to him that will threaten his future, which is ultimately to be with His Lord in heaven. When he was four, he came to Christ after asking me questions about heaven. I have no cause to fear because his future is secure.
8. My chronic leg problem, which is what this blog is mostly focused on. God has taught me to take nothing for granted, NOTHING!!!! When I first started seeing a physical therapist, I was supposed to limit trips on stairs, not push a grocery cart, not carry laundry, not twist when putting a wet load of clothes into the dryer, not bend over for any reason, not to mention that it hurt incredibly to walk and stand. I haven't been able to travel comfortably. Every day I feel symptomatic when I drive to my girls' schools. It goes on and on. So while Ethan's leukemia taught me to appreciate every little thing, my leg problem has been teaching me not to assume I can always have certain things. It's been quite a hard pill to swallow. But God has been faithful in opening up new opportunities for me, one of which is this blog. I told someone recently that "this is my writing season." I am a writer at heart, always have been, from when I kept a diary through getting my degree in journalism. So it's been wonderful to be able to get back into it.
Well, that's all for this post. I got it out, what I needed to say. As the verse says, my eyes have seen many things, and God has given me much through them all.