Friday, September 6, 2013

Furloughphobia

I know this is going to sound strange...but going on furlough(home assignment or whatever you want to call it) scares me.

It's weird I know...

Don't get me wrong...  I can't wait to see our family. 1 Grandpa, 3 uncles, 1 aunt and many other relatives have still never met Skye in person (thank God for Skype).  I can't wait to see friends and spend time with our churches and supporters.  And of course, we miss some American food.  I am seriously dying for a big fat juicy steak. I haven't had one in 4 years. haha

But the reason it scares me is...it is full of unknowns. We have to pack up our whole life, and as of now we don't know if we can keep the house we're living in here, or if we have to store everything.  We don't have the money to buy our tickets to go home on furlough...  We don't have a vehicle or 4 carseats to use on furlough.  We still aren't sure about housing.  We don't know how we are going to live on the support we receive while we are on furlough. We don't have any idea what our time in the USA is going to look like...as in...we need to travel and visit lot of people and churches...but how will we do this with 4 young children...who also need stability?  Will we fit in?  Or will we be "those" weird missionaries that don't know anything about American culture, style, etc? Will our kids feel comfortable, or will all the change be overwhelming for their young minds? How much has America changed in 4+ years? Can you ever go home again?

It's funny because we get asked all the time(even by Filipinos) if we are scared to live here.  And I can honestly say...NOT at ALL.  Yes.  Life here tends to be completely unpredictable...  As in...are we going to have water, electricity, or internet today?  Is someone going to text and need me to help them with their helpers, housing, or need some other advice?  The political climate has been a little less than stable on our island lately. Brian's schedule changes frequently.  And the last couple of months...everything in our house seems to be breaking...  But in all honestly, all of those things are kind of expected...they are the predictable unpredictables...if that even makes sense.  I store extra water and batteries.  The kids are getting used to being flexible, when school or other planned activities get changed or rearranged because Brian & I need to drop what we are doing to help someone else.  We are learning to live without all of our once-assumed necessary American conveniences...  We stay closer to home and are extra vigilant to our surroundings.

I am a serious planner.  I like knowing what my week is going to look like and making a daily/weekly/monthly plan of what I'm going to accomplish.  Basically, our life here tends to be unpredictable...but I can sort of plan for things to NOT GO AS PLANNED.  It's like the known unknowns...I'm not sure what to expect but when it happens it wasn't that unexpected. It was still predictable.

But 4.5 months away from stepping onto an airplane flying to America, I don't feel like we have anything planned for furlough.  I have no idea how we are going to be able to afford tickets, a vehicle, carseats, winter clothing, setting up a house, etc.  It totally freaks me out.

As I think through all of this...  It actually makes me laugh.  I know the truth.  I know that God WILL provide for all our needs. Combined, our families have spent DECADES in overseas ministry and full-time ministry in the US...and Brian and I have been missionaries our entire married life and every single moment...God has proved himself faithful.

He says in Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

But just like an Israelite, waking up a little extra early to peek out of the tent to see if there really will be manna on the menu again this morning...we have an excruciating time really taking God at HIS WORD. Because... yesterday turned out ok, but tomorrow is another day. I mean...the pillar of fire is still over there above the tabernacle and all, but maybe, just maybe there's a manna and quail shortage in Heaven...

Wow. Sounds ridiculous if I say it like that...but it's so easy to default to doubting God's ability(or maybe His willingness?) to care for me and my family every day.

But just like the Israelites experienced while gathering manna six days a week for for forty years...when it comes to God, His past and present performance won't change in the future, and they are our guarantee of eternal results. He NEVER EVER changes.  He is the same yesterday, today & forever.

He cares about a stinking little sparrow...He DEFINITELY cares about little old Brooke and company.  The Lord has known about all of this from the beginning of time...And He's not worried.

I was just thinking about these things and reading in Matthew this morning--chapter 7 verses 31 to 33--- "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already KNOWS ALL YOUR NEEDS. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and HE WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED."

Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

God will protect. God will provide. For our little family.

And if you're reading this...and occasionally wonder the same things we do...you can know. He's holding you in his hand too.

And when we look back, tomorrow, a year from now, and from the viewpoint of eternity, we will see...GOD DID IT!  He took care of us in ways we never thought of, and never imagined could be. And we will see---no one but God could have done this.  He has been, currently is, and always will be faithful.

He wants us to turn to Him and rely on Him every moment of every day--To come to Him in the sun and in the storm. It's so easy to vacillate ---when life is hard, run to God. When life seems good, sort of forget about Him.

Kind of..."When all else fails, pray." But that's not the attitude He's looking for. Before anything fails and life seems great, PRAY. Draw near to God.  He'll draw near to you. And when everything seems to be falling apart and you don't know which way to go, keep drawing nearer. Circumstances change. He's exactly the same.

It is almost always cloudy here in our mountain home. Sometimes it seems like the sun isn't even showing up. But I know it's just as bright up above the cloud bank. Our pilot knows that too---because he takes off when the clouds obscure the sun. But within minutes, he can be in brilliant sunshine. The surrounding weather didn't change. He just moved closer to the sun.

And when our circumstances seem to obscure the Son---well, same idea. We need to keep moving closer. The weather might not change, but our perspective sure can.

When situations seem ridiculous with no way out, it's time to stand back and get excited.  Because His specialty is the situations that seem impossible. Whose outcome shows us....this was soo not us. This was soo God. And He is soo good. All the time.

tag-team written by Brooke & Brian

4 comments:

jms021117 said...

Awesome post guys. Cross one thing off the list....carseats. :)
Hope we get to see you guys!

Kelly said...

Well said, guys! KP

Kelly said...

Well said, guys! KP

Sarah said...

Such a great post. (And by the way, I was a bit confused as I read this post because it sounded like Brooke in the beginning but at a certain point morphed into Brian's writing voice. It all made sense in the last sentence which said you guys both contributed to it, and I had to laugh a little because even thought we've yet to meet in person, I have become pretty well-acquainted with your writing styles.) :-)