Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I used to think my mom was crazy. I know. That's a weird way to start a blog, but let me explain. When I was 8, my family moved to Senegal, West Africa as missionaries. My mom always said her verse for that year was Psalm 16:6. "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."
Now I may have been 8, but I thought I was pretty smart, and I could not figure out what was so pleasant or beautiful about Africa. My parents took six kids ages 2-8 and 13 (not sure on that number, but it was some odd number in the teens) bright red trunks holding all our belongings for a year (I'd like to see you - or me for that matter - try that!) half way around the world to Fanda, Senegal - A little village in the middle of nowhere. Our house was concrete block with a tin roof and screened windows. We had electricity for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours at night. She boiled all water before drinking or cooking with it. No hot water for showers. No washing machine or dryer - although we did get an African maid who thought we were filthy rich Americans and dug through our trash to see what valuable objects we'd thrown away, so maybe that makes up for it. One phone on the entire missionary base, no internet, and extremely slow mail that sometimes got where it was supposed to and sometimes didn't. Plenty of poisonous bugs and GIANT snakes. Plenty of missionary stories about so-and-so's kid who died from a snake bite or was eaten by alligators. Like I said, not beautiful or pleasant.
Anway, the point is I've always been fascinated by this verse, trying to figure out why my mom chose it. And then just the other day, Ding! The light popped on in my head - took 20 years, but I finally got it. All I needed to do was read the verse before.
Psalm 16:5 - 6 "The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."
The place wasn't beautiful. The circumstances weren't pleasant. I remember it being very hard to leave everyone and everything familiar and keep six kids alive, healthy, and happy in such a foreign place.
But the heritage isn't a four bedroom, three bath house in a fancy neighborhood or a brand new minivan or even healthy kids. The heritage is Jesus! Surroundings don't matter when I have Jesus.
I live in a small house (with no family room for my kids' toys!) on the wrong side of town. My husband is gone more than I think he should be, leaving me with three screaming, whining, arguing kids who need Jesus to radically change their lives if they're going to be godly adults. The everyday chores that no one really wants to do (anyone excited to change diapers or fold laundry?) are endless. I often think I have something to complain about - and I have it alot easier than my mom did! My circumstances are not beautiful or pleasant to me many days.
I have to focus my eyes on verse 2, "I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.'" I think of Corrie TenBoom in a concentration camp in Germany where there was literally no good anywhere around her, and yet, Jesus was still enough! When I keep Jesus in front of my eyes constantly in all his beauty and glory and holiness, I stop complaining about my circumstances and rejoice in Him. My job is to faithfully do the work He has given me to do (no matter how lowly and constant it seems) and keep my eyes focused continually on Him.

Psalm 37:3-4
"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart."


Chip Burkitt said...

This post brought tears to my eyes as I reflected on how you are growing and maturing into a wonderful, godly woman through the things you are suffering. Take heart! This isn't all there is. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

cocoacream said...

Just what I needed to read today, Mel. I wish we lived closer so I could come visit you and your little ones sometime...although they are not all so little anymore! :) God's blessings on you today...and every day!