Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thoughts on a quiet evening, strength for today

We are overseas again and it is the evening when we would normally be sharing a thanksgiving meal with family and/or friends.  This morning was the kid's Christmas play.  Then it was a busy school day for them.  I stayed home with a plumber and carpenter.  It wasn't the normal thanksgiving.  In DRC, we had many friends from the States and our kids were small so didn't have school commitments.  We shared a meal with friends.  Our turkey would come from a small island on Lake Kivu.  It would roam in our yard the days before the meal.  I remember one thanksgiving when Natalie stood with Isla looking out the window at the turkey as it gobbled at them.  She said in classic straight faced Natalie form, "Isla, tomorrow we are going to chop that turkey's head off, then we are going to let all the blood go out, then the feathers will be pulled out, then we will take all the insides out, then we will cook it.  And then we will eat it."  And though there was no "we" in the chopping part, that is pretty much what happened.  It was the size of a giant chicken and enjoyed by all. 

This year I found a frozen turkey (shipped from Kenya) for $50 at the local store.  They get them in stock for thanksgiving for the Americans.  I debated whether or not to buy it for a couple days.  Someone just sent me the funds to hire one more mama at the orphanage.  Her salary will be $50/month.  The cost of my turkey.  In the states I might question the cost as well, but it would be easier to forget that my turkey is the cost of someone's monthly salary.  I remembered again that moving overseas creates many situations like this that leave me wondering if I made the right choice.  That made me really understand what I was paying for as I gave the money to the teller at the store, the unease is real, I can't forget all that I have and been given.  It is defrosting in the freezer right now.  We will have some new friends over on Saturday.  A friend is visiting from the States and she volunteered to make stuffing from bread and cranberry sauce from dried craisins.  I will attempt to make my first pie without my mom and aunties help.  It will be a good day. 

A friend that recently visited took this great photo of the rock formations where we live in TZ. 


The last three months have been rough.  But they also have filled me with gratitude beyond what I can describe.  Sitting here tonight in good health was something I didn't expect and didn't even know was possible.  It leaves me humble and full of a deep joy.  I have an incredible family and an amazing group of friends.  I have a God I love with all my heart.  And I have the privilege of being able to live in Africa again.  Perhaps there has been pain and struggle reaching this point tonight, but I think it makes me appreciate every bit of this moment all the more. 




I also am filled with gratitude for those that speak the truth, fight against injustice and take a stand based off of the conviction of their hearts and the words God speaks to them.  For those that fight for the vulnerable.  There is a certain courage that comes with standing for what is right, true, and good.  For those that fight for their children even when their hearts are breaking, for those that love long after the feelings are gone, for those that keep sacrificing and walking forward day after day.  For choosing a path that is full of love, mercy and humility.  For clinging to God in the midst of the storms. 




I am reminded of the words of the hymn, Great is thy Faithfulness, "Strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow".  I remember the story of a woman in DRC, she carried extremely heavy loads on her back for maybe 50 cents a day.  She was often bent over by the weight and could only see the ground before her.  She fought harassment by others and scorn by most.  Yet, she would stand in church and say, "I thank you God, that you gave me the strength for one more day."  

I, too, thank you God, that you gave me the strength for one more day, and for the bright hope your bring me for my tomorrows. 






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