Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: pray

Point of Surrender

I was grumpy.  And not just because it was an early morning prayer meeting and I had to trudge my way across campus to be there.  I was a student leader in Cru, and in other groups on campus and I really liked leading and serving.  But… I was grumpy, and had been for a while.

After the prayer meeting I started shuffling off to the student union to kill time before my first class when a guy asked me a question.  I don’t remember what he asked, or how long we talked.  But I remember what he said: “Sometimes you have to put your hands in the air and talk to God out loud.”

photo by flickr user My Yoga Online

Why do people raise their hands in worship? What is it about that posture?  Surrender is about submitting to someone else’s authority, about laying down your weapons and entrusting yourself to the power, control and (hopefully) good care of someone stronger.

I surrendered to Jesus, entrusting myself to His good care, when I committed my life to Him.  But because I’m human, I have to surrender repeatedly, as in, every time I pick up my weapons of self-protection, self-promotion, and self-preservation.  Sometimes I spiritually surrender to Jesus several times a day.

Somewhere along the way of serving and leading and organizing, of doing all this good stuff for God, I forgot God, and it became about me. I started with a heart of love and gratitude for Jesus. But after awhile, instead of feeling free, I felt obligated and like I was jumping through hoops, which soon became this twisted thing about performing for God. I wanted affirmation, encouragement and praise from others.  I felt like I deserved it, and like God owed me something for all of my good, hard work.  So, yeah, I was grumpy.  To put it mildly.

After that guy left, I scoffed at the idea of putting my hands in the air, hands which felt heavy like lead by my side.  I whispered “Jesus” out loud, quickly looking around to see if anyone had heard me.  Why was it so hard to put my hands in the air and talk to God? The idea was ridiculous.  And the action seemed impossible. But I did it.  And soon I had my hands in the air like a tween at a One Direction concert.  And my grumpiness left.  I just needed to surrender to God again.  Physically, this time.

I admit this to be completely honest: That encounter was about 20 years ago and to this day, I’ve never seen that guy again.  I wonder if he was an angel.  He certainly was a messenger from God.

For Reflection

  • How have you picked up weapons of self-protection, self-promotion and/or self-preservation?
  • What parts of your life need to be surrendered again?
  • What would happen if you raised your arms physically, and not just spiritually, to God?

A Word from Her Daddy

written by Mike on February 15, 2012

Here I am writing my first blog. You may be wondering with the rest of the world, “What in the world possessed Mike to blog?!” No one has ever asked me to blog, nor do I think anyone could get me to blog till today. The one who has the unseen powers to get me here is my soon-to-be-born baby girl.

My baby girl is due the end of March. I did not know about her till 2 weeks ago. But God knew her before the creation of the world.

Sarah is much better at painting the picture for you on the ups and downs of our journey. I’ll leave that up to her to bring you along. It possesses a lot of miraculous turns and excitement. I’m only here to make a couple of things clear.

I want it to be clear to my baby girl that I wanted her and loved her before I ever met her. She is not born yet, but she is already mine. I cannot wait to meet her and anticipate her arrival. She is loved already by her daddy and mommy. Since we met her birth mother I cannot stop thinking about her and praying for her. Daddy was so excited that he bought her a tutu the day after the birth mom said she could be ours!

I want her to know that her birth mom loved her tremendously. She chose to give our baby girl life. She chose to give her up for adoption knowing she wasn’t in position to care well, for a lifetime, for this precious baby. She chose not to receive the unconditional love from a baby, but rather experience the pain of giving up her own flesh and blood.

I also want it to be clear that she is not replacing the child Sarah and I Iost thru our miscarriage in September. She is not a replacement, nor does she have the power to take away our grief. We still mourn over the death of our child and will never forget the life growing inside of Sarah. Our unborn baby will aways be a part of us and helps shape who we are today.

Some may say “See, this baby girl is the reason why you had a miscarriage.” I say “NO” to that! There will never be an acceptable reason for why my baby had to die. Could a parent ever accept a “here-you-go” reason for the death of their child? I can accept that death is part or our world as a result of sin entering into it. I accept that God has and does mourn with Sarah and I over the loss of our unborn baby. And I trust that God can redeem our loss and bring life out of death. That is what Christ did on the cross. Beauty can come out of death is what my faith promises.

Others may think, “We are so happy for you, but I’m sure you’d rather have your baby whom you lost.” Again, I say “NO” to that!  In my heart, and for always, I want them both. They are both my children.  I could never want one over the other. God is big enough to have brought both children into our homes. Stranger things have happened in this world. I am grateful that the Lord will fill our arms with a our little girl before our biological one was due. He is kind and merciful to do that though He did not have to give us our adopted baby girl to prove His mercy and kindness.

I want my baby girl to know that she has never been a second choice. She is loved and wanted simply because she is ours. Her mom and I always planned to adopt with hopes of having biological children. She is part of our first choice and we love her dearly. Her mom and dad have talked of summers at the beach and winters in the Big Apple.

I anticipate another wave of grief the end of April when our biological baby would have been due, even while holding our one-month old baby girl. I anticipate hilarious moments and fond memories of our girl in her tutu while remembering the one we lost. Embracing the ends of both spectrums of emotions simultaneously is the Christian life: living in the fallen world while holding on to faith in the One who gives life.

 To my baby girl who is due in 6 weeks, know that our home is already yours. Diapers are being bought, showers are being planned, and our budget is being refigured. We long for your arrival into the Evers home!

(Note:  Phoebe Irene Evers was born on Tuesday March 13, two weeks early.  She arrived just six weeks after we first heard of her, and we’re thrilled to finally hold her.) 

Empty

Photo from http://www.andol.info/life/1222.htm

I shoved my gloved hands deeper into my jacket pockets.  It wasn’t a frigid winter day, but it was windy and damp, having rained on and off.  Staff meeting was over and I headed back to our apartment to finish up a report for our team leader.  We had a team dinner in three hours, so I had just enough time to make the final edits and revisions.  I was glad to have words to wrestle with for the afternoon because near the end of our staff meeting sorrow had wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket on this chilly day.  I didn’t expect the sorrow, so when I realized what I felt, I was surprised.  I needed the comfort of mindful editing so I could ignore the unexpected sorrow.

This was a unique day.  Because three of our teammates are leaving the city, moving out, we had a day of farewells with fond memories and an encouraging send off.  But walking away from that, I didn’t feel happy.

It felt like everyone else on the team was moving on to something new: new ministry locations, new teams, new adventures.  And the one other couple remaining in the City  had a baby just a few days ago.  It seemed like everyone had new chapters of life to explore.  But I felt the weight of empty arms and was reminded again of the baby we lost.  If I hadn’t had a miscarriage, I’d be 5-6 months pregnant by now and we would’ve had our new chapter to look forward to, too.

Oh Lord, how do I move forward in this sadness, this sorrow, this emptiness?  May my wounded heart learn how to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.  Fill my heart with healing, with hope.

Update from Sad News

I’m so thankful for dear family and friends who drew near to us during the first horrible days of our miscarriage and these four weeks since then.  We are the recipients of so many kind words and thoughtful gestures that my words of thanks seem inadequate, but my gratitude for people’s kindness, gentleness and compassion goes even deeper now.

One friend sent the book I’ll Hold You In Heaven which is written to parents of children who have been aborted, miscarried, stillborn, or died in early infancy.  This book was a quick and reassuring read exploring through scripture the idea of the unborn having souls from conception.  It helped me realize that I have a child waiting in Heaven.  What a humbling thought.

Other friends sent prayers which made me cry as I read them.  I’m overwhelmed at how many people have suffered the loss of an unborn or stillborn child.  I never knew the depths of grief so many friends have struggled with, but as a friend who struggles with infertility recently shared with me, “loss is loss.”  You don’t have to have experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage to understand the heart ache of unfulfilled dreams and longings.

Several people told stories of friends who held memorial services for their lost little ones.  I thought I was “beyond” that, for I’d already poured out my heart in an authentic, vulnerable, soul-bearing way just days after I lost my heartbeat-less baby.  In other words, I’d checked “grieving” off of my list and I wanted to move on without experiencing any more grief.

Mike, though, thought it was a good idea, and I wanted to be supportive (but not too emotive), so I begrudgingly agreed.  I didn’t want to open that wound again for it felt like the healing had started — was well in motion — and I wanted to simply move forward into the future with vague reflections on that sad time in our lives.

Two weeks after our loss Mike and I took the Hampton Jitney (bus) out to Montauk, NY, where my family has been going for over 50 years.  My Gramps and my Dad are both buried in that small, unassuming, unpretentious beach town, so Mike thought it would be an important place for us to memorialize our long-prayed for baby.

The weather was perfect: a sunny October day with clear skies.  There was even a festival in the middle of town.  Mike looked for a baby blanket or some kind of object we could use to represent our little one, but none of the boutiques he walked into carried the kind of items he wanted.  I didn’t think I could handle shopping for baby items without crying so I sat on a park bench near the town square and watched happy families buy large jars of pickles.

As a last resort we stopped into White’s Drug Store deciding on baby socks. Because the florist shops were closed, Mike gathered wild flowers from along the winding road as we walked up to Fort Hill Cemetery.

Fort Hill is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.  From that quiet, grassy place you can see Montauk Pond, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  There’s a meandering trail with scenic vistas and teak benches which are perfect for long, thoughtful rests as the sun sets.  There’s usually a soft sea breeze blowing across the top of the hill, too, taking the edge off the heat and humidity on hot summer days.

Sitting beside my Dad’s grave, Mike and I spent an hour praying to God and talking to each other about the baby we never held.  It was a surprisingly, unexpectedly healing time for us. I didn’t know what to say at first but sometimes silence suffices.

Here we are one month later.  Physically I’m healed.  Emotionally, I’m tender.  Spiritually, I have questions.  See, I had hoped that after my previous foray into writing about our miscarriage I’d be able to dam up my emotions and move forward with veiled references to loss and heartache.  But I’m learning that God has more for us than that: He is calling us to live authentically with loss.  We will have many opportunities in the years to come to celebrate with others while taking our broken hearts to Jesus.  We will live with the reality of lost dreams in a way I never imagined, marking milestones by someone else’s precious baby.

Sad News

It was our sweet little secret.  Our joy and delight.  And we’d only shared it with our immediate families so they could pray with us through the tender time.  We were debating about with whom to share our news after this first appointment and with whom we’d share the news when we were finally in the clear after the first trimester. When would we make it “facebook public”?

After three years of trying to get pregnant, of seeing fertility specialists, undergoing rigorous tests and being told we’d need “medical help” to get pregnant, we were so excited and surprised by this unexpected gift.  We found out the weekend we moved into our new apartment.  While surrounded by boxes and the chaos of moving, and with my younger sister also moving in with us, I walked over to the Duane Reade drugstore to buy a pregnancy test.  I’d never done that before.  I took that test while Mike was napping, and then held in my giggly news while he continued to nap and my sister shared her dilemma about her weekend plans.  Meanwhile, I searched the internet for pregnancy due date calculators and to check the growth and development of our tiny little baby.

It was pouring on Friday.  During a meeting break I ran out from our ministry office to one of the shops at Grand Central Station to buy rain boots.  After our first prenatal appointment later that rainy day, my oldest sister planned to pick us up and drive us out to Montauk to meet up with the rest of my family.  The next day Mike and I were to volunteer in the rain to give out water to the runners during my younger sister’s first half marathon.  She ran her race, but we never made it out there.

Wearing my new polka-dotted rain boots, I suggested we take a taxi to the hospital for our appointment rather than taking the subway and then having to walk the four long blocks.  But it was hard to hail a taxi in the rain, what with the traffic from the UN General Assembly being in session.  Eventually we jumped on a bus to take us uptown.  Our weekend bags were soaked, and it didn’t matter that we had umbrellas; we were soaked, too.

I called my doctor’s office from the bus to alert them to our delay, and we finally rushed into the waiting room about 15 minutes late.  They handed me a pile of papers to fill out and as I struggled to balance the clipboard and papers with my wet bag, wallet, insurance card and dripping umbrella, the nurse told us we could go back to the examining room.

This was it.  This was finally the day that Mike could see proof of all the changes I could feel happening in my body.  For three weeks we held tightly to our happy secret, but I was the one who had just outgrown her current jeans and had to start living in a larger size (not maternity sized yet!).  I was the one battling exhaustion, sometimes even taking two naps a day (a big deal for a gal who doesn’t nap!).  My breasts were tender, I was waking up a few times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  I was starting to deal with hormonal acne break outs.  My body was changing.  But today Mike would be able to see his baby, and see the heart beat.

Maybe I should’ve suspected something when my doctor didn’t turn the screen around on our ultrasound machine so Mike and I could see it.  Instead she said, “Let me just take a look around.”  But the words she was about to say to us were not even in my categories.  It was just this week that my jeans didn’t fit!

But then she said she was sorry.  She couldn’t find a heart beat.  She didn’t have any doubts about it, but she wanted us to be confident so she sent us for a second opinion.  We gathered our wet jackets, weekend bags, office bags, umbrellas and papers, then had some blood tests before going up to the seventh floor for the second opinion.

I sat, wet, cold and shaking with chattering teeth, for 45 minutes while we waited to be squeezed into someone’s schedule.  The waiting room was full of pregnant women accompanied by their mothers, boyfriends or husbands.  The air conditioner was on full blast to keep those over-heated women comfortable, but I was freezing in my wet dress (but my feet were dry thanks to my new boots).

I had to drink glass after glass of water for the next ultrasound while right in front of me two pregnant women shared a joyful reunion.  The air was full of “I didn’t know you were pregnant!” and “How far along are you?”  These friends hadn’t seen each other in months, but then they counted, out loud, “one, two, three” and lifted their shirts to show off their growing bellies. Their bellies full of promise.  Their bellies pregnant with joy, and dreams and possibilities.  I averted my eyes and cradled my belly with my baby who didn’t have a heart beat.

Fighting tears several times and yearning to get as far away from the room full of potential and hormones and beating hearts, I was glad when our ultrasound technician finally called us back to her room, which was easily four times the size of my doctor’s exam room.  We had plenty of space for our wet weekend bags.

She told me to pull up my dress as I climbed onto her table.  Mike sat in the chair by my head.  We both looked at the monitor mounted near the ceiling.  The gel she squeezed out on my water-filled belly was unexpectedly warm, a welcome relief after the frigid air from the waiting room.  And that’s when we could finally see our baby.  For the first time; the only time.  On the screen.  Our baby looked like any other baby I’d seen in ultrasound pictures at this early stage.  But this technician agreed with our doctor about our baby’s heartbeat.  It was missing.

All day long this woman looks into expectant women’s bellies and tells them happy news like their baby’s gender.  But today she affirmed our doctor’s sad diagnosis of no heartbeat.  We did another ultrasound, and then she left to call in the supervising doctor.  He, too agreed with my doctor.  That put us at three ultrasounds on two machines and three people with one voice confirming that our baby didn’t have a heartbeat.  Devastating.

Mike and I clung to each other in that room, crying tears of sorrow, sadness, disappointment, heart break.  They gave us some privacy, so we stood in that room of promise for everyone else; that room which held no promises for me.  And I wept.

I later called my mom to share the wretched news, which meant two of my three sisters who were with her also knew.  But my oldest sister had been stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike for hours (was that a Divine delay?) and had just crossed the George Washington Bridge.  Mike texted asking her to pull over and call us.  I didn’t want to share this news while she was driving.  She suspected something was wrong (as did the rest of my family) when she didn’t get cheery text updates from us during the last few hours.  Rather than coming across town to pick us up and then head out to Montauk, she drove to our neighborhood to wait for us.  We hailed a cab and headed home.

Jennifer spent the weekend with us in New York City.  On Sunday the rest of my family came over for a few hours.  Mom then spent Sunday and Monday night with us.

The weekend was rough.  I didn’t want Monday to come.  I cried.  I slept.  I did laundry.  I was in shock.  In my belly I still had our child.  But our child didn’t have a heartbeat.  How strange.  And on Monday my doctor took our child out of my belly.  How wretched.  It really was a horrible weekend.  I didn’t want Monday to come.

But Monday did come.  Waiting in the “Ambulatory Surgery” unit for a surgical room to open up so they could squeeze me in, wearing the drawstring surgery pants under the ubiquitous hospital gown that is open in the back, with the seer-sucker robe and anti-slip socks did not settle my nerves.  Mike waited with me for hours in the chilly pre-surgery room, then walked with me as far as the hospital personnel would let him when they led me to surgery.  He held me and whispered, “I love you,” before I pushed my IV pole into the elevator.  As the doors closed, I couldn’t help but feel fear.  And feel alone.

My sweet, kind, gentle husband wanted to be in the surgical room with me.  He didn’t want me to be alone.  But I couldn’t think of anything worse for him to have to endure. The hospital didn’t even give us this option, so he sat in a different waiting room until my doctor reported to him about the surgery and he was allowed to find me in recovery.

I was escorted to the surgical suite.  I walked in.  There were several people in the room wearing surgical masks.  Two greeted me and asked questions: Do you have all of your teeth? Is there anything in your mouth that is removable?  Do you have any allergies?  Have you ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia? Have you had anything to eat or drink since midnight last night?

I don’t know why I thought this, but I remember thinking, “Don’t cry! Don’t cry!”  But why?  My world was falling apart.  I was in a surgical room, and they were going to take my baby, my baby without a heart beat, from my belly.  I could feel the tears burning the rim of my eyes.  My chin was starting to quiver and now the nurse and anesthesiologist couldn’t understand my answers anymore.  I stood next to the surgical table crying. I still had a kleenex in the pocket of my hospital-issued seer-sucker robe.

My doctor appeared.  My doctor.  I am so grateful for her.  She shared the horrible news on Friday with such gentleness and compassion.  She called me on Friday night to explain (again) our next steps and options.  She called on Saturday night to answer any questions which may have come up.  She had one of her interns call us on Monday morning while she was in surgery to answer questions and let us know it was time to come to the hospital.

The last thing I remember before the anesthesia lulled me into a peaceful, numb oblivion, was my doctor holding my hand and saying she that she hoped to see me under happier circumstances in labor and delivery.  I clung to that little bit of hope as I slipped into my silent slumber and they removed my baby.

It’s three days later.  My belly is empty.  My breasts aren’t tender anymore.  I don’t wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night anymore either.  I have to lose the weight I had started to gain (story of my life).  I’m still tired, though.  But I don’t have the pain I expected, or the bleeding I anticipated.  Instead, Mike and I both have pretty bad colds.  We’re welcoming this opportunity to slow down: to grieve, mourn and rest.

I love the three floral bouquets we’ve received.  I’m surprised at how meaningful they are to me.  I’m thankful for the emails, voice mails and texts from friends who mourn with us; but I don’t want to talk on the phone or return any of those emails.  I’m also thankful to the two friends who brought us dinner the last two nights: we’d eaten a lot of delivery from Jesus Taco over the weekend.

We have three retreats for the next three weekends, and after that a week of leadership development in Orlando.  Mike and I are again giving leadership to the two-year national leader development program our organization holds for senior leaders.  It’s one of my favorite jobs with the ministry.

The everyday groceries which my family brought are nearly gone.  We need eggs and milk and cereal and fruit.  The kitchen floor needs to be swept and mopped.  Life moves forward.  My heart is broken, but healing.  I’m still sad, and I don’t want to give voice to this pain.  But writing about it has felt good, honest.  I’m hopeful that we’ll get pregnant again.  For two people who were told that we have “unexplained infertility and will need medical assistance to get pregnant,” this baby was a clear sign and reminder that God is the author of life, with and without medical assistance.  Perhaps He’ll enable us to get pregnant on our own again.

But for now, I’m taking it one hour at a time.  I’m reading my Bible.  I’m praying.  I’m resting.  I’m watching TV.  And I’m writing, which is so good for my soul.

It’s still raining. But today, maybe I’ll put my rain boots on and go outside.

9/11, 10 Years Later

I didn’t know what to expect.  The TV news relayed messages from the NYPD about a “credible threat” on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Neither Mike nor I were in the US ten years ago on that fateful Tuesday morning.  I was in Germany, preparing to return to the Middle East.  Mike was on a cruise with his sister in Jamaica.  For us, the tenth anniversary was an opportunity to connect with a part of our US culture which we missed out on.

Mike participated in several events hosted throughout the weekend by Pace University.  They lost 47 students and faculty when the planes hit the Twin Towers.

Saturday morning Mike, my sister Carrie and I joined two of our friends for Hand-in-Hand-9/11, an event during which thousands of people held hands around lower Manhattan and observed a moment of silence when the first plane struck the South Tower.

On Tuesday we went to the 9/11 Memorial with some of the people from our ministry team.  With passes reserved two months prior, we were able to spend the time in prayer for the families of the victims and for the survivors of the tragedy.

The Memorial is beautiful.  With 200 trees currently planted, and 200 more slated for planting soon, the shady area is a welcome relief from the sun.  The trees surround the footprints of the towers where now two huge fountains exist.  It’s like holy ground, for nearly half of the people murdered in the attacks have never been identified.  This is their final resting ground.

Its quiet there.  You can hear the water falling, continually. People make rubbings of the names, and though it seems so intimate, strangers gather around to watch.  Someone asked me to take photographs of them while they made their rubbings to take home.  It’s horrifying, beautiful, peaceful, and serene.  People walk around with hands over their mouths, tears streaming down their cheeks.  One woman had to be helped to the exit by (presumably) a family member.  It’s a place of sorrow, and yet a place of hope.

For Rent

“Location, location, location.” It’s not hard to find an apartment in New York City; it’s hard to find the right one.  We have our criteria listed, ranked and ordered, but a sweet apartment in a less than desirable location can up-end everything.  For example, I loved the newly renovated apartment with views of the Empire State Building, but Mike thought the “up and coming neighborhood” wasn’t up enough, as evidenced by the bevy of young men selling illicit pharmaceuticals out front.

The NYC rental market is a fast-moving game, and you look for a new place 2-4 weeks before you need to move, and in some cases just days before your move-in date.  It’s a brief but all-consuming hunt.

We wake up with apartments on our brains.  Over breakfast we scan Craigslist for new listings.  We talk about our criteria on the way to the subway.  While at work I mentally compare all the apartments we’ve seen.  And then, when work is over, we race all over the City to meet with landlords and no-fee brokers.  It usually takes about an hour to get to the appointment (ride subway, walk, check the map again, walk back).  We wait for up to 30 minutes for someone to unlock the door so we can spend 10 minutes in someone’s filthy apartment (seriously, unless it’s unoccupied, it’s usually filthy), then travel 15-60 minutes to see the next apartment.  All the while I’m praying and asking God for another housing miracle.

Perhaps the process would be slightly less taxing if we were open to using a broker, but we don’t want to pay the usual minimum of one month’s rent as a broker fee, on top of first month rent, security deposit, and the credit check fee to the landlord.  The upfront costs are expensive!

Our top runner right now exceeds my dreams for the interior of the home, but the location is not very desirable, though it is safe.  When we find a potential place, we walk around the neighborhood during the day to check out restaurants, shops, markets and parks, then go back at night to see how the neighborhood changes after the sun sets.  Mike wants to make sure I will feel safe and comfortable walking alone from the subway to our apartment building at night.

Lord willing we’ll have a lease signed within the next two weeks.

Scattered Thoughts

I awoke with a start this morning at 6am, and before my alarm.  The sunlight was already streaming in through the white sheers which cover the two windows (yes, that’s right, two windows in our NYC sublet!) on either side of the bed (and yes, the bedroom is large enough for space on either side of the queen-sized bed!).

We leave tomorrow for an international trip and the to-dos and packing lists are piling up.  Two of those boxes needing to be checked: confirming the length of our hotel stay and confirming our transportation from the international airport to our hotel.

Hours later I finally sent off the emails to take care of those two important details.  I haven’t written my lists down, so they are inefficiently stored in my head.  My stress level over this trip is rising, for packing for a trip when the majority of your belongings are in storage hundreds of miles away is a bit challenging.  While I love our sublet, the life of a subletter is transient, transitory, temporary.  I’m longing for a home and to have access to all of my possessions.

But then I think of Jesus saying how he had no place to lay his head.  I think about what it means to follow Jesus and being willing to give up some expected “comforts.”

Don’t get me wrong, my life is comparatively cushy.  Though we raise our own funds to pay for ministry and personal expenses (well, to pay for EVERYTHING), we live in America, and Americans are far wealthier than most of the people in our world.  I have a roof over my head.  I have a home with working plumbing and electricity.  I pay our bills each month.  We have all kinds of technology. We eat regularly. We lack nothing, really.  And did I mention that I’m getting ready for an international trip?

Sure, I long for the convenience of having all of my shoes under one roof.  And I wish I had access to my favorite books which are stacked in boxes in a friend’s garage.  But I am warm at night, and when I step into the wind during the day, I can clutch my jacket tighter around me. I pass people on the street who are not nearly as blessed materially as I am.  It is humbling.

Somehow I’ve come to assume that convenience and comfort are part of a collection of “rights” that I have as an American and as a Christian.  Where did I get this idea?  Though America may expect more, better, bigger for less money, effort and time, I don’t see that aggressive, demanding, insisting tone in Jesus.  To which “rights” did Jesus cling? Which hardships did He revile?

In my daily Bible reading and blog community, the lead bloggers commented on the differences between Saul and David during Saul’s kingship: how we can choose the way of Saul, short-circuiting God, impatiently demanding our way, forgetting God’s instructions and ways, or we can choose the way of David, patiently waiting for what God has promised, honoring the boundaries He put in our lives, and turning to God when frustrated, disappointed or confused.

It’s not profound, but as I readjust my attitude again to “temporary” living in a sublet, I realize I have a choice.  I can get frustrated and rant and demand the order and organization that I crave.  Or I can thank Jesus.  Thank Him for this reminder that my home awaits me in Heaven; that I was made for a different world; that I have a choice to say “no” to the petulant child within who wants her way right away, and can relax in the here and now; that I can lean on Him and not on my own understanding, knowing that He will provide for my daily bread and my next steps.  Just as He always has.  And always will.

My trials feel taxing to me, though small in reality.  But they provide an opportunity to turn to Jesus as I deal with the less-than-ideal in life.