Thursday, November 09, 2006

My husband and Joy in circumstances

One thing I love about my husband is his wisdom--based on the Word of God and full of common sense. I don't even think he knows his gift, when used to the fullest extent. I can think and ponder on a subject for days, and when I get the chance to share it with him, he usually replies with a simple, yet wise, answer--without the days of thinking! It balances me and comforts me.

It's no secret that I do not particularly like living in New York. The fast pace, the traffic, general lack of graciousness here, (I say "general", because there definitely are gracious people here) are still somewhat foreign to this Southern girl--even though we've lived here for 7 years. My husband agrees with me, (he's a western boy) but, unfortunately, he gets the brunt of my dis-satisfaction a little too much than he should. But I'm working on it, like the quote in this post.

In our coversation last night, I mentioned a quote I had come across in one of those "Keeping A Green Home" kind of book. It said something like this:

Anything you can do to enhance your home's connection to the land and the bioregion in which you live will enrich your life. Does the land of the region where you live run in your veins? Do you sing in resonance with it when the seasons change?Do the crops that grow locally make your mouth water as you anticipate the harvest season? If not, ask yourself why.

Now, these are good and true words, to be sure, but they are not everything. No, New York does not run in my veins, and I strongly dislike cold weather.

However, my husband reminded me of missionaries in China. And the radiant joy of the Lord of people in difficult circumstances; far, far, worse than my moaning and complaining. I wish I could intone his words.

And...this beautiful, beautiful devotional from Elisabeth Elliott. I knew I still kept in my inbox for a reason. In it, she is visiting Dohnavur Fellowship, the missionary Amy Carmichael's (Amma's) place of work in South India. This piece is worth reading again and again:

The most powerful witness to the quality of the service Amma rendered is to be seen in the Indian men and women who were reared there and who have remained to lay down their lives for others. Pungaja, for example, lives in the compound called Loving Place, where some of the mentally handicapped are cared for.
"I have no professional training," she told me. "The Holy Spirit gives me new wisdom each day to deal with them. Some are like wild animals, but the Lord Himself is my helper. I can't see on one side, but even in my weakness He has helped me. First Corinthians says that God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
"One day I went to Amma with a burdened heart, but when she hugged me all my sorrow went.
"'What work are you doing?' Amma asked me. I told her.
"'Do you find it difficult?' I said yes.
"'These are soldiership years,' she said.
"Now it is my joy to serve these very difficult people."
She spoke quietly, looking out into the courtyard where some of them went back and forth. She had lost an eye as a child, and her face revealed suffering, but I saw the joy she spoke of written there, the joy of a laid-down life. I saw it in very many faces in Dohnavur. They do not mention that there are no diversions, no place to go, no time off (except two weeks per year--I asked about that). They do their work for Him who came not to be ministered unto.
We came away smitten, thinking of Amma's own words from her little book If, "...then I know nothing of Calvary love." The meaning of the living sacrifice, the corn of wheat, the crucified life, had been shown to us in twentieth century flesh and blood.

I was reminded through my husband's wise and timely words, and this story that my circumstances do not determine my joy. I am to live fully and abundantly the life He has called me to, whatever the circumstance may be, laying down my life wherever He has placed me. My heaven is not on this earth, but only with Him--here on this earth, and in Heaven.

For the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28


Anonymous said...

Your hubby is wise. And in a quiet way, too, like mine. When they need to say something honest, that might actually hurt us a little, they do it anyway, but gently.
I read Amy Carmichael's biography in grade school, and have always admired her. What a beautiful story by Elisabeth. Such a good reminder.
Praying for your joy and contentment- and that your light will shine so brightly, the world around you will change for the better.

Andrea said...

Thank you, Elise.
I am a long ways from where I used to be regarding the discontentment. The Lord is doing a good work in me. For that I am thankful.
I am content to be in His arms, waiting, watching, and praying--and living my life to the fullest! There is no doubt I am blessed.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful husband you have. You truly are blessed but he's pretty blessed to have you as his wife as well. :)

bluemountainmama said...

i can relate- i struggle with being content in my surroundings and circumstances. great post and a good reminder! but new york?! that would take a little extra grace for me too! :)

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Oh, this is definitely something I struggle with. I´d love to get out of the city, but here we are, year after year, and now our kids are getting ever closer to high school. Mine is more an issue of trust...can I believe that God can take care of my children in this less than perfect place...

Andrea said...

that is how I feel--my discontentment comes from not trusting God. We try to tell God "x, x, and x" will bring the outcome that we want. We forget God knows how to bring the outcome that we want.