Have you cried any tears of joy lately? Like, have you had a good happy cry in a while? I have. I thought Iâ€™d take two seconds to share it with you because I see it as a testimony of Godâ€™s goodness. And by two seconds I mean I intend to take two seconds, but Iâ€™ll end up taking five hundred and seventy-two, because, as we all know, brevity isnâ€™t my strong suit.
As Iâ€™ve shared before, HH and I have been working diligently to be good stewards of our finances. This has meant tightening our belts pretty tight. I canâ€™t remember the last time I bought an article of clothing, although I think it was a pair of hiking shorts last September or October. (Thatâ€™s kind of a big deal for me — not the hiking shorts, the not shopping). My parents did bless me with new clothes the last time I was home…so I really canâ€™t complain about that. We hadnâ€™t eaten out for a long time, until yesterday.
My Mom sent a little Valentineâ€™s gift our way (she says itâ€™s little, but to us itâ€™s big) and we decided to spend part of it on a *very* reasonably priced meal out last night, meaning weâ€™ll still have some left over for other things.Â The Bear indisputablyÂ loves fish, but that shouldn’t surprise us…he’s a bear! And as you know, weâ€™d hoped to go home for Christmas, and when that didnâ€™t work, instead in April for the wedding of two very dear friends (the one where they hoped the Bear would be their Ring Bear), and to meet my sisterâ€™s baby, but due to finances and our convictions about throwing things on the credit card, we decided against making those purchases. Can you guys stand reading this when I use so many run-on sentences? We donâ€™t have TV…we donâ€™t go to movies…I am very careful with our grocery budget…These are just a few examples of what tightening means for us.*
Hereâ€™s where this gets CRAZY. I donâ€™t share any of this with you as a complaint, and I genuinely mean that.Â I can honestly say it and mean it when I say The boundary lines have fallen to us in pleasant places. Yes, I miss my family like crazy. And yes, I am dying to meet the little one that my sister will be delivering very soon. And yeah, I wouldnâ€™t mind having a couple of new options in my wardrobe.
BUT. In this season I have learned thankfulness like never before. I have learned the value of a dollar — a Rand, as well — and I have learned how incredibly blessed I am to have a roof over my head, shoes on my feet and food in my belly. Do you realise youâ€™re probably in the top ten percent in the world if you have more than 5 shirts in your closet? My heart is full and thankful, and I am overjoyed that the Lord has been feeding us our allotted portion, and teaching us so so so much along the way. It really is better to have a little and be thankful than to have a lot, and still covet more. (Yes, covetousness is still something Iâ€™m thinking about!)
So about the joyful tears… Good thing I warned you I might not be brief. We spoke with my Mom last night, and sheâ€™d been looking at flight prices and considering coming to visit us. This was news to me, as I wasnâ€™t expecting to see her, honestly, before Christmas this year, and I wasnâ€™t expecting her to visit South Africa until maybe 2011. She found flights to South Africa for a very good price, and decided to book them before they went up. So, she will be here to visit in six months!
I canâ€™t tell you how much this felt like a reward from the Lord. I donâ€™t know if that sounds like a strange thing to you. But the Bible holds these promises it mentions over and over again, like: If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land. (Isaiah 1:19) and Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3 & 4).
I can honestly say our hearts have been chasing after God in this season — weâ€™ve been expressing a desire to walk in His ways, spending more and more time with Him, and working to be obedient to His leadings and the direction we find in His Word. And I donâ€™t say any of that to toot my own horn — I am a sinner just like you. But God…He is so good, so true and so faithful to His Word. If we walk in His ways, weâ€™ll see His goodness. And seeing my Mom in six months’ time — that is goodness, and aÂ major desire of my heart being fulfilled!
So when my Mom shared the news last night that she would be visiting us, clearly, this was a good reason for tears of joy. It was an amazing Valentineâ€™s gift. A heartful of joy hand delivered! Or delivered over the phone. Well, the computer…via skype. You get the idea. I thought Iâ€™d share the joy with you, and a picture from the last time my Mom and the Bear were together — our trip to the States over his first birthday. Now sheâ€™ll be here to celebrate his second! YAY!
I hope you had a great Valentineâ€™s Day! If you had any cause for tears of joy, Iâ€™d love to hear about it! If you had a cause for regular tears, I am sorry, and I’ll be happy to lend an ear about that, too.
*Tightening may look completely different for you. I am not trying to preach or guilt trip or sneakily ask for ministry support! I am just sharing where we are along the journey, as a means of sharing how good God has been to us! He is good!