Twice this week – once from a classmate and once in a book I’m reading – I was reminded about how beautiful God makes sunsets.
Both times I thought, “Hmmm, I haven’t seen one of those, or any stars, in a while.”
It’s hard for this country girl to live in the big, stinky city. At times, although this may sound a little extreme, I feel a little like Paul in chains. I can love God and minister about Him and learn more about Him and grow closer to Him every day, and I am so thankful for that, but I must do it all in an unusual setting.
I was throwing myself a little pity party Saturday after waking up with several new mosquito bites and swollen feet, plump and aching from the heat and humidity, which isn’t even bad yet. I tried not to show my discontent, however, as the girls and I trekked about a mile and a half to the mall to have some lunch.
As we were snacking on popcorn chicken and tiny Thai chicken legs (everything in Thailand is miniature size) from KFC, the song “Home” (not the Thai version, either) by Blake Shelton started playing over the intercom.
At first, I was comforted. We hear American songs a lot, but they usually sound like a funky mix of “muzak” and Thai pop culture.
“Listen to this song, girls,” I said, poking a French fry in my mouth. “It’s Blake Shelton. He’s from Oklahoma.”
But as Blake wailed the lyrics, “I wanna go home. … And I’m surrounded by a million people I still feel alone. I wanna go home. Let me go home,” the tears started rolling.
I thought Justine was going to change tables.
“I’m sorry,” I said as I got myself together and wiped my eyes with a tiny Thai napkin. “I’ll be fine. I’m just a little homesick today.”
“Well, let’s go,” Justine said.
“I’m fine,” I repeated. “We can finish eating and then go.”
“No,” she said. “I mean let’s go home.”
That melted my heart.
“We will in four months,” I said, adding a quiet “hopefully” at the end.
That night, we attended a YWAM get-together, and as we concluded the evening in prayer, one of the leaders asked each of us to ask God for a Word to give to someone else. Following the prayer, my DTS leader nudged me and said, “I just want to give you a hug and tell you that you’re not alone.”
That meant the world to me. She is not a hugger.
Another staff member pulled up alongside me on his scooter and yelled, “Lemonade!”
As I gave him one of those I-don’t-have-a-clue-what-you’re-talking-about looks, he shouted, “That was the word God gave me to give to you. I don’t know, maybe it means, if you got a lemon, make lemonade.”
He had no idea how my day had gone, but his word made total sense to me. God always knows when to show up.
I don’t know God’s plans for us, and if he keeps us here, we’ll be fine. I told God we will go where He sends us, and I mean it. It’s not about me and my comfort, and most days I like our surroundings anyway. I just get antsy thinking about full-time ministry. I’m ready! (Remind me of this sentence three years from now when I’m writing about how tough ministry work is.)
It’s hard to sit in a classroom all day at the age of 39 instead of going to work, where I sometimes feel I should be. I know, however, that this is where I am supposed to be and that this short six months will serve me well for a lifetime. We must constantly learn to improve, and God wants us all to keep striving to know Him better and to make Him known.
“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. … Yes, I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” – Philippians 1:12-14, 18-19