This morning as i was scrubbing out an oven, i unexpectedly found myself with uncontrollable tears as I was just blown away by Gods goodness and the amazing ways he teaches us and works in our lives. What started as an semi busy week catching up with friends over dinner parties, afternoon teas, lunches and bike rides turned into a bit of a mammoth week as i also found myself coming good on an offer to help a friend with some cleaning work at college. It really felt like a bit of a novelty to do some 'real work' for the first time in 4yrs, and despite some really long days (as i fit work around catching up with all my previous engagements), and not much time to rest, God has taught me some massive lessons in what it means to follow him and be on the 'other' end of partnering with people in the gospel.
At the moment, i've been going through the Psalms, and i was particularly challenged the other day by Ps 139:23-24 'Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting'. It was a prayer that i found difficult to genuinely pray. How scary is it to challenge God to search and test my heart and anxious thoughts, cos i knew he'd find offensive ways in me. I've also also been challenged in what it means to fully trust and hope in the Lord, and to not put our trust in the things of this world. Over the week as i worked, the thought of earning money for the first time in 4 years was strange. i considered the many things i could do with it, the things i could buy, the places i could go, but especially using it to help fund some of my own setup costs in heading to Thailand. But as i thought through what it means to trust and hope in God for our needs rather than the things of this world, i felt God was really challenging me to be generous to others with what he provides. I found it interesting how right now, as i am in the stage of partnership development, i can be so single minded in seeking others to generously give of their time and money to partner with me, but instead, i never considered how i should be challenging myself with the exact same thing to others. So on my way home last night, i made some decisions to do about how i could do just that and to my surprise, God gave me an amazing peace about my decisions which in the past would not have gone down well. Within hours of putting it into action, I received an email from a friend advising me of the ways they were wanting to support me in heading to Thailand and it literally just brought me to tears! I was just seeing so clearly what it meant not to put my trust in the things of this world and to see how God's provides a spiritual family to support each other, and how God provides for all our needs. I can't begin to explain all the emotions and thoughts going through my head at the time. Only that I just had a sense of how amazing God is, how he is sovereign, how he is our provider and how he loves and cares for those who love and obey him.
Even though the past week has been nuts, it's been a week of great learning and encouragement and provision as God has continued to provide so many of the things i need for heading back to Thailand. In particular good friends who are willing to partner with me by keeping me accountable in my walk with God as I head back to Thailand in various ways. God is good indeed and this week, i have just been in awe of him! Please pray that i'll continue to be in awe of him and keep seeking to live my life in a way that pleases him.
In amongst all the lessons God has taught me, it's been a fun week of cleaning work. Here are a few pics of some moments we caught on camera.
But a spider sent me into the shower for protection
The cleaning 'crew'
or maybe it was more like this
Fun with Shadows