Remember the Satuday before last when I went up to the gas station to get a gallon of milk? It was about 8:30 at night and we were getting home late and Elliott was ready for bed but, alas, no milk. I decided to just drive up to the gas station and pick up a gallon. And that's when you introduced me to this couple with so many needs my mind begins to swim when I think of it.
Well, I just want to say that that was the most expensive gallon of milk I've ever purchased.
You see, that short little trip for leche was the start of an adventure that has been very stretching, growing, and even painful at times. In the last week we've spent a lot of ourselves and our resources and our lives on them..... and we are just now seeing a little glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel.
I'll just be honest with You. On more than one occasion I've looked back and thought to myself, "If I could've just bought milk earlier or if I could have just waited until the morning...."
The human side of me wants this lesson You're teaching us to be over. I don't want to spend hours driving around and making phone calls and listening and counseling and mentoring. I don't want Richard to be taking him to interviews all afternoon and I don't want to have to leave my son with the grandparents a little longer to resolve one more issue.
I want to focus on me and my family. I want to spend time with my husband who will be gone for two straight weeks soon. I want to spend time with my little boy as he discovers new things. Besides, we're trying to get our house sold and get our stuff sold and downsize everything so it will be easier one day when we move to the....... mission field.
That's when Your spirit takes over and suddenly I'm choked on my own words. When we move to the mission field? There is no such thing. Sure, You've called us to Brazil. You've called us to another land and another culture to be Your hands and feet.
But I'm on the mission field right now. And I only had to go a half mile down the road for You to require me to pour out my life for someone else.
And who do I think I am that I will suddenly be ready to do all that You will require of us in the Jungle one day if I can't even do it in the comfort of my own city? Do I think that the lack of communication, the lack of daily conveniences, the heat, the language barrier, the exhaustion, the illness, the bugs, and the demands of ministry will somehow be easier than this?
No, this is all just a big display of Your mercy, not only in their lives as they slowly begin to learn what it is to live a life that honors You. This is a display of Your mercy in our lives as we learn what it truly means to be poured out for You... before we get to the Jungle and things are much more difficult.
Today, I won't see Richard until later this evening because he's driving them to the grocery store to use their food stamps, but I'll fall asleep next to him tonight. Today, the air conditioning went out in one of our cars and the heat is oppressive, but we take the other car. Today, I will pour out my heart to her and Richard will continue to break down walls with him and we'll take another step. Today, we will listen to their stories and hear their fears and encourage them with Your truth. Today, Your grace is sufficient.
And one day, Richard will fly into a village and I may not see him for days. One day, we will be working to keep an infant alive who has been given bad water. One day, we will have malaria and we won't have an escape from the heat. One day, we will be homesick and won't have a computer to Skype back home. One day, it will be much harder. And on that day, Your grace will be sufficient.
So, I want You to know that this was an expensive gallon of milk and it looks like we'll be paying on it for a while. But I know that You have called us to be Your Son to this couple. You have commanded us to pour out ourselves and die to ourselves daily so that Your name can be famous. And in Your grace You have given us this small dose of what it means to sacrifice so that one day we can truly be ready for the sacrifices You will require of us in the Jungle.
And I thank You for that.
Your Stubborn Learner,