Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blessed Beyond Measure

God began doing a work in my heart for Africa 3 1/2 years ago. About 4 months later, Rick had the opportunity to visit Swaziland, Africa. He came back from that trip just as much a mess as I already was. His desire after seeing what he saw was to take these amazing people beyond just survival in their lives. We can give them food that will feed them today. We can provide clothes that will last for a period of time, but that didn't feel like enough. It became our desire to help them get the education they need and provide jobs so that they could experience some lasting change and move beyond survival in their lives and mentalities. Lately as we have dealt with some specific issues in this ministry, we have been reminded even more the importance of sustainability projects versus just doing the temporary things. As a result of the burden God laid on our heart, we started Beyond Survival, an organization that would be a conduit of making this happen in the lives of the Swazi people.

As we began the adoption process, something that we never really imagined we would be doing, I had a dream one night. God really spoke to me a lot during our adoption at night. Some times through dreams, but most often by waking me up and revealing things to me through His Word and other circumstances. It was a very vague dream, but I remember during the dream thinking that I needed to remember the phrase, "beyond survival, blessed beyond measure." When I woke up, I didn't really know what it meant. Did it mean that the Swazi people would be blessed beyond measure by beyond survival. Did it mean that we would be blessed beyond measure? What does blessed beyond measure really mean? So, I had those questions that I thought about a lot, but decided God would just have to reveal what it all meant in his timing.

Fast forward to this week. Thanksgiving has always been an enjoyable time for me, but not really a season of thankfulness. I don't think I have been ungrateful, just not truly aware of how many blessings I really have in my life. That is another thing Africa has done for me. Shown me how blessed I really am. I think as a whole Christianity in America has a distorted view of being "blessed." There are a lot of people preaching that blessings are in the form of material things, wealth, and success. If we give, we will get in return, that is what being blessed is. There are things in my life that are really hard. We have had a difficult year. The adoption process is REALLY hard. The adoption process is REALLY expensive. We still have debt that we have incurred as a result. I have had health issues over the last 5 months. Isaiah has had health issues to deal with since we brought him home including a broken leg in July. Going from 4-6 children is challenging. It seems like every time we turn around, there is something else that is broken and needs to be replaced. I don't say all of this to be complaining. ALL of us have lives like this, but I can honestly say I don't feel the negative effects of this year right now. On another day, I probably will, but not today, and not really this week.

God reminded me this week of that dream. It felt like a full circle moment on Thanksgiving Day when we took the family picture above. I have felt "blessed beyond measure" this week. I am so blessed. I have a beautiful family that is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I have all of my needs met, a home, food, clothes, a vehicle. My children have the opportunity to go to an amazing school. We have an awesome church and community of people that God has placed in our lives. I have even been able to let go of some of the "stuff" in our house that I have been holding on to because we might need it again some day. I have less fear in my life than I did a year ago. I have seen God work in ways I never imagined that He could, and through that process He has changed me. I am not the same person I was a year ago. For that I am extremely grateful.

I don't feel like this is the culmination of that dream last year. It really feels like only the beginning of what God wants to show me and what He wants to do in our lives and the lives of the Swazi people. All I know is that I am waiting expectantly to see what this next year holds. Only God knows, but guess what, I trust Him.

1 comment:

  1. Those who have walked this with you have been blessed beyond measure as well. Your faithfulness in the face of adversity, frustration & exhaustion is truly awe-inspiring. I love ya, friend!

    PS. Your family picture is a stark contrast to ours! We have two children versus six, yet we could not manage a 2009 TG picture with smiles, all looking at the camera & the flash on. It was depressing. =)