But then again, I also don't usually kiss my husband goodbye at 5:45 in the morning as he goes to get on a plane to Ulanbattar, the capital of Mongolia.
He's going with two other men from our organization to teach a finance and business class to a group of 30 Mongolian pastors. He's nervous, as he doesn't think public speaking or teaching is one of his strengths. I'm nervous, as I can imagine all sorts of terrible things that could happen to him on the trip.
So if you think of us, will you say a prayer that Monday comes quickly and he's back safe and soundly? And, most importantly, that he's used in ways he doesn't anticipate.
Jacob and I are getting an opportunity to come to the good 'ole US of A later this month! We leave on June 28 for Houston, TX where Jacob's youngest brother will be getting married over the 4th of July weekend. (For those familiar with Scarlet Threads, the beautiful bride-to-be is Eileen, my ST co-laborer!) We'll be spending that first week in Houston and then driving through Dallas and (possibly) Waco. I know for sure we'll be doing a little get-together like we did last summer in Dallas. It will be sometime in the week after the 4th of July. If you want more details, please e-mail us and we'll keep you posted. Also toying with the idea of doing something similar in Houston, though not sure if there's really any interest for that... so, if you are in the Houston vicinity and would be interested in meeting up, please let me know. We've already got a pretty full Houston schedule, but we might squeeze a group gathering in if there's interest. I personally think it's a lot of fun to meet people who I've come to know and love through the blog, so I hope you'll stop by if you can! We'll be in the states until August 2... the latter part of our trip will be spent in the Vancouver, WA area -- so we could do a gathering in that area, too, if there's interest. The bulk of our time will be spent in the TX Panhandle.
I've realized something, sitting here in a quiet house this morning... I think I keep half-way expecting/bracing myself for God to "pull a Job" on me. We've recently been blessed in a major way. (I'll explain more later.) The other day, I was talking to one of the older, wiser Chinese women I have the pleasure of working with, and I told her that I was totally not expecting to be blessed in this way. She smiled and told me that God loves us and is happy to give us good gifts. In my head, I thought: "Yes, but God loves the starving Africans, too. And he loves the orphans who have been abandoned with 5+ special needs too. And why should I get so many good gifts when other people, who He also loves, suffer so much?"
I know some people struggle with a sense of entitlement with God... sort of an "I deserve XYZ! Why won't you let me have it?" My struggle is the opposite. When something good happens, I often find myself bracing for the object lesson that "inevitably will follow." You know, the one where God allows the "good thing" to be taken away from me so that He can see how faithful I am and whether or not I really love Him come fair or foul weather. To be honest, these object lessons haven't inevitably followed. God hasn't "pulled a Job" on me.
And I don't like being so suspicious of God.
But I have a hard time living in the present moment of His daily goodness. A good friend told me last week, "The one place God can't be with us is in our fears about the future." He's not there, because the fears aren't real. They haven't happened yet. God is only with us in the here and now, and we experience Him when we live in the present - accepting His gifts and letting Him carry our trials.
So as I imagine all the terrible things that could take my husband -- who I love so very much -- away from me, I'm not experiencing God. And, I'm failing to embrace the moment in thankfulness and praise. I'm not thanking God for stretching my husband out of his comfort zone; for giving him a new experience and opportunity; for using the wisdom I know he has in this area to bless others. I get wrapped up in imaginary disasters and then question His goodness and mercy.
God is a lot scarier in my imagination than He is in my experience.