Ten years ago on November 22 we landed in the Philippines.
I can tell you honestly within just a few hours a few of us were ready to board the next plane out of there and return to the USA. But we stayed.
And we've been blessed.
We've grown in more ways than just physically.
Walking paths where joy and sorrow meet do that to you.
Christ is all and in all. We rest in Him Alone, so thankful He has called us to the mission field.
This morning, as the sun rises, I am grateful for the reminder that there is light in the world and that the True Light rules over all the affairs of us earthly beings created in His image (1 Kings 12:15, Genesis 1:26).
I miss the 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark that is so consistent in Davao. I miss being with my whole family. I am grateful to be with my daughter as she transitions. I am grateful for Skype and the ability to see and talk with family half a world a way even if it leaves me melancholy afterwards.
I'm not able to feel settled in here with the majority of my family in the Philippines. I'm in a state of "between" - and this unsettledness reminds me to settle restfully in my Father's love, watch care, and guidance - to practice center-point living. That's my name for it. Jesus tells me, tells all of us, in Matthew 6:33 to seek Him first. Every moment of every day, seek Him.
Colossians 3, one of my favourite chapters in the Bible, reminds me to set my mind on things above - on His way. My Abba reminds me, in all my ways, to listen well, love well, be thankful, do everything - word or deed, in His name - Center-point living.
And in the moments when my momma heart bleeds profuse missing my family half way around the world, I cast my cares on Him and seek Him first.
And in the moments when depression blankets loved ones so profoundly they lose hope of another day, I seek Him first.
Those moments I dread the upcoming holidays because our family is not together, I seek Him first.
I hear the question play through my mind, "What do I understand by the providence of God?" I know that He is almighty and ever present and that nothing comes to us by chance but by His loving Fatherly hand (Heidelberg Q. A. 27) (Jer 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24-28. Heb 1:3. Jer 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; Jn 9:3; Prov 22:2. Prov 16:33. Mt 10:29.)
The benefit/peace of this center-point knowing that God creates and ordains all is that I can be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and hopeful for the future. Nothing can separate me from His love. All things, all people, all affairs of state, government, world are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot so much as move (Heidelberg Q.A. 28) (Job 1:21, 22; Ps 39:10; Jas 1:3. Deut 8:10; 1 Thess 5:18. Ps 55:22; Rom 5:3-5; 8:38, 39. Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov 21:1; Acts 17:24-28.).
He is our great High priest. He understands moods and hopes and despair and desire - "...we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4: 15-16).
So remain confident, draw near to His throne of grace, receive His mercy and grace, know that He is sovereign over all and rest - "Rest, the Lord is near; Refuse to fear, enjoy His love" (Steve Green).
Kirsten accomplished another adult first today - she voted.
(don't worry - we didn't take any selfies at the voting place; I nabbed this photo off a news website here in Michigan)
So now, Kirsten has her driver's license, has voted for the first time, recently filled out a job application for the first time. Lots of firsts for her!
We've also both been enjoying the beauty of fall - a season that is non-existent in tropical Philippines.
We were recently blessed with a greatly discounted beauty-salon visit. Kirsten now sprouts new color in her hair, and I had highlights added to my hair.
My daughter and I went to the Secretary of State today for her driver's
license. We were talking as we drove to the office that we both felt like this
would be an all-afternoon affair like dealing with government offices can be
in the Philippines. We knew it probably wouldn't be but after ten years in the
Philippines it's hard to break those thought processes.
Her appointment was at 1:30 pm. We were back in the car by 1:45 pm.
"Did I really just get my license that quickly?" she asked me, incredulously.
"Yes. I feel like I need to pinch myself and ask 'is this real'?" I replied.
We laughed, thoroughly enjoying the efficiency, the ease, the fastness of the
whole process. We really like the friendliness and helpfulness of the clerks.
Our clerk was probably wondering what was wrong with us when, after he said
"you're all done and your card will come within 30 days", we replied, "we are
all done?!?!" "All done," he stated.
Wow!! Amazing efficiency!
Enjoying a country road walk in Michigan.
First Driving Lesson for Kirsten........
A new friend...........
an old friend............
a dear friend from Davao now living in PA..............
Gettysburg National Park..............
Chocolate World, Hershey, PA...................
Sojo and Whit showing me how they massage their parents backs!
Following Model A's on our trip to MA...........
Aunts, sisters, smiles..............
Museum of Science, Boston.....
Meeting up with our old babysitter - she used to watch the girls and Ben when they were little. Now she's married, works in Boston and is expecting a child of her own!
Sunset in Boston
Wayside Country Candy Store...a nostalgic place!!! I enjoyed seeing candies from my childhood days there!
Wayside Inn Grist Mill
Wayside Inn....The October 1862 visit to the old Howe Tavern by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his publisher, James Fields, would have a far reaching impact on the literary and artistic significance of America's oldest hostelry. Longfellow made the defunct Sudbury tavern the gathering place for the characters in his 1863 book Tales of a Wayside Inn, and because of the poet's immense popularity, generations of readers, poets, and artists would seek out the colonial landmark for decades to come. It's fun to go in and see the rooms as they used to be, to eat in the restaurant and visit the museum. You can feel the history.
Longfellow's Wayside Inn is proud to be the oldest operating Inn in the country, offering comfort and hospitality to travelers along the Boston Post Road since 1716.
There are far more pictures of all our touring. Someday when you are face to face with me I can show you more!