I told my sis the other day, that in some ways I would never wish the difficulty of this season on anyone, and yet, there is SO MUCH we are learning and seeing that many middle class families in the United States like ourselves may never experience unless they find themselves in a place as we are. For that reason, I really, as difficult as it is some days (and it does get really difficult), would not trade where we are for anything.
Because Karl has been a pastor for so long, we have probably been blessed more than the average family by people's generosity and kindness in different types of ways over the years. For example, I get some kick-butt hand-me-downs for myself and the kids that we all wear thankfully and proudly. We will also (especially during Pastor's Appreciation Month during our years at St. Mark Missionary Church) get wonderful cards and giftcards from people expressing their love and appreciation. This, I assume, is not common except on special occasions for most people. However, this season has been TOTALLY EXCEPTIONAL even for us! We have been BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE by people's kindness, regularly expressed through providing for us in different ways. And, the thing is, it's people from many different parts of our lives! Just Sunday night my husband who hardly EVER cries (Shhhh! Don't tell him I told you!) got misty-eyed when we came home to a BUNCH of groceries dropped off anonymously while we were gone. And, the thing is, so often it is exactly what we need. Like, another example, my aunt/sister/friend sent us a giftcard so I could pay for gas to come to her home in Lansing with the kids for a couple of days. It was a wonderful, relaxing, life-giving time. On the way home, we got a flat tire only to discover all our tires were really bad and in need of replacing. After consulting with Karl and my father (I couldn't get ahold of Karl at the factory at first and needed some manly wisdom!) I purchased 2 new tires at a local shop my aunt recommeded to the tune of A LOT of money, knowing that within several thousand miles I needed to replace the other two at a, hopefully, cheaper place. Well, that next week, we got an unexpected check in the mail that totally covered the two tires and some of the other two as well! Isn't God amazing? I honestly think we are getting a first-hand look at what the early church must have looked like and wow! No wonder so many people were drawn to it! (For that and many other reasons, of course!) We are totally and completely in awe of God's faithfulness expressed through His Body!
A couple of months ago (before everything went down) I had one of those supernatural experiences I didn't understand at the time. While driving with my ipod on random, the same song came on 3 TIMES IN A ROW! I didn't even know I had David Crowder Band's "Come and Listen" in my ipod 3 times! It's a great song (in fact I used it as the background to introduce Selah for the first time on our video a year ago--see the side column), but I just didn't know what God was trying to say by having me listen to it "randomly" 3 times in a row. Now I think, quite a few months later, the Lord might have clued me in to His intentions:
"Come and Listen" is all about praising God for His goodness and sharing that praise with others. This idea of praise has been in my heart a lot lately. God is so good! He deserves us to praise Him. In good times and in bad times. ALL THE TIME. And He deserves us to genuinely share the overflow of our thankful hearts with others. I think this blog is one way for me to do that. I am regularly, amazingly in awe at the Lord and His goodness and love. I hope, even when I share the pain of my heart at different times on this journey, the praise of God still rings forth. As Rita Springer sings, "May my praise be effortless. May my song come easily. May my worship be pleasing to you..."
"Praise the Lord from the heavens,
Praise Him in the heights above."
Let the heavens not be the only places that echo the praise of our good and loving God!