A Fresh Perspective.

Picture your world differently.  Imagine yourself living in the middle of a country side with only a handful of others within your immediate proximity.  Your ideology has changed.  Your perception of life, breath, hunger, comfort, health, resources… God… has shifted.  You no longer expect ease to be a daily part of your day.  Ease of food.  Ease of relationships.  Ease of clothing and comfort.  Ease of water.It’s all different.Picture yourself joyful.  Imagine yourself thankful.  Now, depart with your instinct of these words.  Shift your mind into a new form of thinking.  Joy comes in the moments of weakness, because He is our strength.  Joy comes in the times of hunger, because He is our bread.  Thanksgiving comes in the way of a cupful of rice, because it satisfies our need.  Thanksgiving is an understanding that all we have and all we are is ultimately how we choose to allow God to work in and through us. 

After returning from a short-term mission trip to Gorongosa, Mozambique, Africa, I have learned to picture my world differently and to understand the work that God is attempting to do through me.  I have shifted my thoughts, perspective, understanding and focus in ways that I have never done before, or even known to be possible.  I am honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to see the world through God’s eyes.  I returned to America with a new appreciation of clean water, shoes, food, my bed, hot water, grocery stores, and my family.

The idea of being thankful for my health and the health of my children is new.  My three kids have suffered colds and stomach bugs, even strep throat and pneumonia.  But, my kids have had the ease of American medicine and doctors.  They have had the comfort of a bed and soothing hot tea with honey.  We aren’t fearful of their possible death from the common cold or virus.  We aren’t fearful that we won’t be able to receive proper care.  We can get to the doctor, urgent care or even the hospital within a matter of minutes.  We don’t have to walk for miles, like 20 miles, just for the hopes that a doctor may be able to treat them.  In fact, that probability is quite low, or even impossible. I have a new thankfulness for clean and hot water.  I can easily go to my fridge for instant water to drink.  I can take a shower without the fear of dirty water filled with viruses and sickness entering my mouth as I wash my face and hair.  I can go to any restaurant and order food, knowing it’s been (hopefully) cooked with clean hands and water.  My children do not have to kneel to the ground to drink water from a river that is brown, mucky and stagnant. I do not have to fetch my household’s water from a well that has malaria-ridden mosquitoes perched on the top.  I do not have to walk for miles and miles to receive this water.

I have a new thankfulness for my family.  I have a hard working husband who is able to maintain a job to provide for my family.  He also loves me.  He loves our children.  He loves God.  Our home is not broken because of a lack of knowledge of what God designed the family to look like.  We offer one another support and care and give encouragement and love.  We strive to raise our young children in the ways of the Lord and to teach them the love that our Father has for us.  We are thankful that this is a common thread among us throughout the body of Christ.

As this shift in perspective and focus takes its place in my mind, I begin to understand the need for us to take ever more seriously the teachings and commands of our dear Lord and Savior.  I am thankful that He has called us all according to His purpose, for His grace and mercy, and that He loves us more than we could ever even fathom.

I am thankful…. I am thankful.