We were reading in Psalms today, and I was amazed at David’s assurance of himself.
“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.” (26:1)
We are in the midst of sorting so many things out right now. We are praying and praying and praying. We are fasting. We are on Skype and having meetings and seeking advice from so many. I want to pray faithfully, to say the right things, to present myself in a way that glorifies Christ, to speak well of Stephen, to make decisions and take steps that are wise, courageous, honorable. The list goes on.
But I can’t promise I do any of that well. I can’t say I have walked only in integrity or have trusted without wavering. I am seeking to be integrous. I am trusting with all that I know how. I believe; Lord, help my unbelief! Or perhaps, I am trusting; Lord, help my fears!
Do I want the Lord to truly test my heart and mind? Even in my greatest efforts and attempts, it seems, well– insufficient.
One of Matt Maher’s songs has become my regular prayer, “Lord, I need you; oh, I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness; Oh God, how I need you.”
This is my prayer: be my defense, Lord. Not because I am confident enough to ask you to test my heart, but because you do know it. You know our desires and burdens and fears and attempts and failures. Please be our defense.
In an effort to counteract our exhaustion, confusion, and uncertainties, I began making a list of things I am thankful for right now, in no particular order. So here’s to thankfulness:
Stephen’s humor. It is saving us more days than not. He is hilarious and can make me just ache.
Skype. We began Skyping regularly with a couple in the States that used to live in Mae Sot. They are providing wise counsel and understand life here in a way many cannot. I am so thankful for Skype making this possible, and for that matter, making it possible for us to talk with family around the whole wide world. I’ll throw in FaceTime, Instagram, Facebook, and email–all things that make America not feel 13,922 kilometers away.
Yuh Meh Oo. Yes, this girl in particular. She’s outrageously sweet, loves giving hugs, will crawl into your lap, and can make my day. She is over here many mornings, many nights, and quite a bit of time in between. I’m really thankful for her and all that she teaches me.
Hospital visits. I know, that’s an odd one. But inevitably, once you take someone to the hospital and care for them in an emergency, the relationship changes. Stephen said just last night, “I almost wish we had to take everyone to the hospital at some point. I mean, not really, but the friendship changes so much.”
Yim. This is the incredible Thai-Karen woman I work with, and she is just wonderful. I really enjoy our conversations and all that I can learn from her. She is going to do great things in life, and I’m so glad I get to know her.
Our motorbike. I love that I can finally drive it for one thing! But really, I love that we have made it here almost three years with just one motorbike between us–with the exception of borrowing a Partners’ truck for hospital visits and such. I love the simplicity of it, and just learning to be flexible. I like working together to figure out rides; I like riding in the rain and getting just soaked.
The tortilla maker. I love that Stephen made it as a surprise for me, and I love that it makes delicious Western food easy. I love that I can make huge batches and freeze them; I like that I can experiment and put whatever I want in my tortillas. Yes, I really am thankful for my tortilla maker that is too heavy for me to lift myself.
Language progress. We are getting somewhere, and I am really, really thankful for those answered prayers. I am still praying more and and more for this, but we can grasp it. Stephen has found a great Burmese teacher, and he’s doing stellar. He’s getting to where he can read and is experimenting phrases with the kids. I am practicing with a new teacher, as well, and she’s great. We have fun chatting, and it’s fun to finally be understanding conversations, helping with translations, and just not being so tired after every conversation. I am starting to have just casual conversations with our neighbors, and its just lovely.
Bible study. I am in a weekly bible study with a couple other girls and really thankful for it. I’m thankful for our time to pray together and for the perspectives they offer.
The pool. We have a year membership at the local pool again this year, and I think this is one of our better investments. While still in town, it is a little escape from Mae Sot. We can look up to the sky and see palm trees, pretending we are somewhere exotic. And it’s open all year, which is just a great privilege of living here. And really, I just love getting outside for some exercise, so I’m also thankful for bicycles (and bicycle baskets), tennis shoes to run in, and football games each week. They all work to keep me sane.
Our house as a home. Our house is really feeling very home-y, and I love it. Even amidst the concrete and some horrible design flaws, we have made it feel like us. I love coming home, I love inviting people into our home, and I absolutely love the location. I couldn’t have asked for more. (Well, except for the silly we-live-in-another-country things like bigger sinks, running water, and trusty electricity.)
Long nails. Since we got back from America, I’ve been working very, very hard to stop my habit of nail-biting. It has required keeping my nails painted for all these months: not an easy task here. As soon as they begin to chip, I start to bite on the ends, so at times I have painted them twice a week. Particularly with our current stress level, I’m very proud of my now long nails.
Good health. I’m glad I thought of this one, because I couldn’t very well end with “long nails” as something to be thankful for. But I really am thankful we haven’t been sick in a good long while, particularly with nothing serious. With the number of sick people we see each week and the odd symptoms we bring into our home, I would deem this a miracle.