Monday, October 26, 2009

My Perspective

I go back and forth between feeling totally blessed with my family and being able to stay home with my children, to feelings of complete frustration with the inability to get everything done, being everything to all people, and not being able to find a quiet moment for myself. Well, this weekend I was reading something by Lysa Terkeurst, the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and it really gave me a new perspective, so I thought I would share it here.

Lysa went on a mission trip to Ecuador with a team from Compassion International and she got to spend time with a woman who lives in a shanty carved into a mountainside on the outskirts of Quito. She had to climb a handmade ladder that swayed and creaked as she ascended into a dark cavern the lady called home. The floors were dirt. The walls were rock. There were two rooms--a small kitchen and a bedroom. In the kitchen was a fire pit, a few shelves, and a small table. Off to one side were large broken down cardboard boxes used to repair holes in the ceiling and the walls. Off to the other side was a small cot where two of her 5 children slept. In the bedroom were 2 more cots, two chests, and a rough-hewn piece of furniture that served as a dresser. She and her husband slept in one of the cots; her other 3 children in a cot right next to them. These cots were meant for one person.

Lysa said she listened quietly as this woman told her about her life (through an interpreter). Every day she gets up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast over an open flame. Her husband leaves at 5:00 a.m. hoping to find work. Once he's gone, she wakes her children to get them ready for school. It is a BIG sacrifice to send her children to school, but she wants a better life for them, and sees education as a key component. She spends the better part of her day walking to and from the market. There is no way to refrigerate food so what little they have must be purchased each day. Once a week, she carries her family's clothes several miles to the village washing hole. After cleaning the clothes she must make the back-breaking return journey up the mountain, carrying the now-wet and heavy load.

When Lysa asked this woman how she could pray for her, she teared up. These were not tears asking for pity or even asking for a handout, but tears out of honest concern for her family. Her request was this: "Please pray for my husband to come to know Jesus and for him to have work. And pray for me to continue to have the strength I need to serve my family."

Lysa was amazed at this woman's request...and frankly I am too. I would have asked for God to make things easier, change my circumstances, rescue me from the pit, etc. Instead she prayed simply for God's provision in the midst of her circumstances with a kind and peaceful countenance.

Our frustrations here in America are a little different. Heaven forbid Starbucks doesn't make my coffee the right temperature. And, oh the crying shame of having such a long list of errands. I mean, what a pain to have to drive down the street, push a cart, go through the mental strain of meal planning on the fly, come home, unload all the stuff, and then figure out what to cook from my overflowing pantry and refrigerator. And let's not forget the never-ending sorting, stain management, washing, drying, folding, and putting away of laundry. Putting away all those clothes in dressers that have to be dusted in rooms that have to be organized with floors that have to be vacuumed--it's just exhausting sometimes.

I want to be thankful everyday. I don't want to go back and forth in my emotions. I want to realize how blessed I am to have running water and electricity, for the blessings of towels and sheets and clothing, for a car that will carry me wherever I want to go, for money to buy what my family needs, for a refrigerator to store it all in, for healthy kids, for the privilege to hear them call me Mommy, for a husband that has a job and loves me unconditionally. My thankfulness list could go on and on.

Some days I would rather grumble and complain, and probably, in just a matter of days, my blog will be another "Woe is Me" story. But for today, hearing about this stay-at-home mom from Ecuador has been good for me. It has helped put things in perspective. On my worst days, things really aren't that bad.

Lord, help me to appreciate everything that I have in my life and to remember that all things come from your hand. Help me to be a person who is thankful and a person who offers You praise on a daily basis, for the good and the bad.

Taken from Lysa Terkeurst's book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl

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