Galatians 5:25- If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
It’s been too long since our last blog. There have been quite a few updates in the last two months. For starters, Elijah turned one! He is now 13 months old and his personality is starting to really come out. He loves to dance, rough-house, do animal noises (especially elephants), and sit in his “secret spot” (behind the curtain on our bed).
1 – Y E A R
A N N I V E R S A R Y
Shawn and I have had our two-year anniversary and we got to celebrate as a family at the Hilton Hotel here in Hua Hin. Our friend, Kieran, gave us a certificate for one-night stay there and even though it was a short time and it was technically a staycation, I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. Elijah was so excited about being there, swimming in the pool, exploring a new place, playing in the kid-zone, that it gave us eyes to see it all as such an exciting time, too!
Having a toddler truly allows you to see things through new eyes. Flowers are more beautiful, birds soaring through the sky are more captivating, horses galloping on the beach are more majestic. Even dead jellyfish on the shoreline stir up more intrigue.
With all that said, it hasn’t necessarily been a beautiful and smooth time here in Hua Hin. It’s easy to focus on the positive, or to even focus on the facts of all that we have done and are doing here these past few months. But is that what is going to give God the most glory?
The reality is that God has us in a dry place, a desert place. We have come out of the honeymoon phase of being on the mission field and have faced some real emotions. When we first got here we may have idealized a bit what we imagined for ourselves. We didn’t take into account that we are human, that there is such thing as culture shock and we aren’t above it, and that no matter where in the world we are, we are still first-time parents, which in and of itself has it’s own hardships. Thank God for His grace. If only we could extend a fraction of this grace to ourselves.
This is why I chose to start this blog with Galatians 5:25. Every day, every moment, we have a choice; whether in our thought life, how we treat our spouse, how we treat ourselves, and in our relationship with God. Shawn and I individually felt like God was speaking this scripture to our hearts. This is the place where He has us. When our circumstances are difficult, it’s easy to choose to walk in the flesh. To let our anger or frustrations fester, to choose hurtful words instead of kindness, to indulge in acts of selfishness instead of loving our neighbor. Interestingly, our Almighty God gave us free will to make these choices. He even allows temptation in our lives along with this free will. For myself, this combination makes it easy to choose one way of walking and living over the other. Choosing to walk by the Spirit is hard!
E L I J A H’s
B I R T H D A Y
P A R T Y
God has us in a place that is going to make us stronger in Him, more reliant on Him, more faithful to Him… if we choose. Our life is a ministry. For us, where God has us is not about The Contrast House ministry, it’s not about ministering to the people of Thailand. Of course, this is all a part of it, but it all flows from our individual relationships with Him. And choosing Him above EVERTHING is hard. It’s a moment to moment choice. One moment I fail. The next moment I succeed. And He loves me the same through each and every one of these moments.
So, now that I’ve shared where God has us, let me share the highlights of the last two months!
- Elijah’s birthday party was a blast, even though it was hard to be so far away from family.
- Our one year anniversary was the best vacation we’ve had, and we each surprised each other with something that we had written for/about the other.
- We had our YWAM Thailand Central Region Conference and were refreshed by relating to other missionaries who have been where we are.
- Shawn put a couple paintings up in a Jazz lounge and got commissioned for more paintings.
- We got a very generous donation from a private party missionary supporter.
- We gained a monthly supporter.
- We experienced redemption in our visa runs by having our second attempt be extremely successful (Elijah has now been to America, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar).
- We met with a Thai language teacher and begin (much later than anticipated) Thai classes this week!