Our fall has been a whirlwind of activity and travel. The males in our household are all sad that none of the travel for them has involved flying (except Daniel, who took a short trip with me to see my brother’s family and meet my new niece). Had our original plans been in place I would have written my annual “we made it another year on the field” post from the field. Our third year was cut a bit short and with the aforementioned travel I didn’t get it written at what would have been the three year mark, so I’m combining it with my annual Thanksgiving post.
I’ve been grateful to have Christian music on the radio to listen to since we’ve been back in the U.S. The content on the English-language radio stations can be iffy where we are, so we usually don’t have the radio on in the car. One of the songs I’ve really enjoyed since we’ve been back is Thrive by Casting Crowns. Our first year in the field we survived-God SUSTAINED us and brought us through. Our second year was about learning to really built a new life-We PERSEVERED and God gave us the strength to continue on no matter what came our way. Our third year was about life becoming richer and fuller. I feel like I can say we began to THRIVE. For that, I am grateful.
I am grateful for so many, many things from this past year and really the past three years as a whole. I’m grateful for things that you may think I’m completely crazy for being grateful for.
I’m grateful for all the physical and mental illness we walked through. I’m grateful for Samuel’s hospitalizations, especially his last one. God used that week in such a mighty way for me personally and our family as a whole.
I’m grateful for all the trial and error we had to do to learn to live in Asia. For learning to let go of having to get things right on the first, second, twenty-second try.
I’m grateful for all the good-byes I said because it means there were people to say good-bye to and that I’m heading towards hellos.
I’m grateful for every single tear I shed, especially in moments of utter despair.
I’m grateful God opened my eyes to see the world around me and for the love He’s grown in me for people who are nothing like me. He’s shown me that no matter what someone believes or where they’re from they are valuable to Him, so they should be valuable to me.
I’m grateful for Asia becoming home.
I’m grateful for all the friends I’ve made and what I’ve learned about the world from them. I love that we’ve not only learned the local culture where we are, but also about other cultures around the world because of friends we’ve made.
I’m grateful for playgroup and other moms in the trenches with me and the ladies a little beyond us in life who are there to walk alongside us.
I’m grateful for the people at the veggie stall and the fruit stand and the frozen food store and the baking store and all the other places we frequent who we’ve started developing relationships with.
I’m grateful for our early return to the U.S. It was under very stressful circumstances and not at all how we wanted to leave, but God knew it needed to happen.
I’m grateful for boys who love to fly!
I’m grateful for my boys. For all the dirt and noise and dinosaurs and trains and hugs and kisses and early mornings. I’m so very, very grateful I get to parent them.
I’m grateful for a husband who really is my better half.
I’m grateful for not having an easy life, but having a good life.
I’m grateful for being uncomfortable and for the discomfort challenging me.
I’m grateful for churches that are rough around the edges, full of people who are real, and that understand all people are ordinary and God is what makes any of us extraordinary.
I’m grateful for being an ordinary person who lives an extraordinary life.
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned through homeschooling my boys and that they seem to have learned something, too.
I’m grateful we work for an incredible organization and an amazing team within the organization. We would not be so very eager to get back to Asia if it wasn’t for our team.
I’m grateful for good music and impromptu dance parties.
I’m grateful for reunions, especially after such a long absence. The random ones where we’ve just run into someone in town have been particularly fun. We have more to come with family this week with Thanksgiving.
I’m grateful for laughter, especially the pure, unadulterated laughter from the small humans I live with.
I’m grateful for learning to live in paradox and for it becoming easier to do so. I’m much more comfortable with not having to have all the answers. And I appreciate the mystery of who God is so much more.
I’m grateful that whether or not I call myself blessed has nothing to do with financial means or how much stuff I have. The hardest things we’ve walked through have blessed me the most.
I’m grateful God has allowed me to be the most broken I’ve been in my entire life and held me through it all.
I’m grateful God has refined me, sustained me, grown me, opened my world.
I’m grateful I am not who I was three years ago and I do not want to give up anything I have experienced in the past three years to make me who I am. I do not want to repeat some of the things I’ve gone through and do not wish them upon anyone, but I could not be who I am today without those experiences.
God is good.