Psalm 19:12 So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
We all were invited to a birthday party for one of the kids downstairs, so we made a quick trip this morning in search of a gift and in the process we picked up a few toys for our kids as well as some journals. I am not sure why the sudden urge has hit them to keep a journal, but as soon as they mentioned it, I immediately wanted to get them started so to make sure I didn’t miss the opportunity. Getting our kids to keep a journal has been next to impossible to accomplish thus far, so we stopped trying. Plus the only good journal will be one that they put a true effort into completing. I really hope this takes off for them and that they buy into the gift of journaling. I pray for them to have a story from their perspective and not just mine. I would love for them to have something to look back on that would remind them of their ups, downs, joys, sorrows, frustrations, etc. We have done, seen, and experienced so much over the last 7 months and thus far all we have is a journal from my point of view.
I pray our children will internalize this scripture reading. So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. I pray they decide that a journal would serve them well and that they dive in head first to this challenge to start a new habit. A habit of capturing each day, each achievement and struggle, each hardship and joyful event in a way that provides them a window into this journey for them now and when they grow older.
As I look back on the last 7 months that have passed us by, I am so grateful for this daily journal I have kept. There have been times I have gotten behind, but I continue to make this a priority and to be true to our daily happenings. The scripture readings Jeff prepared for me ahead of time provides me with an opportunity for reflection and to see God’s hands in all that we do. I will always have this documented memory of everything that happened during the year we up and left our family, friends, and lives behind to follow God’s calling. My journal may also provide some insight for my children when they get older, and hopefully it will serve as a spark to remember their journey.
This journal provides me the opportunity to share all the ups and downs we face as a family currently living a very unusual life. I have really enjoyed sharing my emotions with all of you, but my initial reason for doing this was to always have a way to look back on this time. The side benefit is to show others that we are a real family experiencing real life, and that this is possible for any family willing to try. Trust me, if I can do it so can you. One of the greatest lessons I have learned this year is that if you are willing to be open to God’s call, He will bless you every step of the way and He will provide you with everything that you may need. My faith has grown stronger because of this journey and I am so thankful that we are doing this as a family and that I have been able to capture most of it in this journal.
Back to the day. We all really enjoyed the party. The kids played with the 10 kids there while Jeff and I enjoyed some good conversation with the adults. I am surprised how after just two weeks of being in Brasov, Romania we have connected with several American families (and a family from New Zealand) doing mission work here, who are also homeschooling. These families have been a huge resource for us as we continue to navigate through this year. As I am sure most of you know by now, homeschooling our children has by far been the most challenging and frustrating part of this whole journey. It hasn’t been the language barriers, the long and grueling travel days, the relocation every two months, or the volunteer work, but hands down it has been trying to teach our children and keep them current with their education. I give some huge props to homeschooling families. Our time here in Brasov has been a wonderful opportunity for Jeff and I to get some pointers from homeschooling veterans. Plus, all of us are getting to converse with people in our own language was a huge blessing today. Here are some pictures of the party and my kids completely engaged with kids they met within the last 2 weeks!
We had a very relaxed afternoon today after the party. We all read and hung out here at the apartment. As a family we agreed that the Europe sightseeing vacation we planned after Kenya was not what anyone really wanted or looking forward to, so we scrapped it. (This was a huge weight and I really don’t know why we were planning this in the first place. This year was never about vacations and sightseeing, so why were trying to fit this in at the very end of our trip?) We are still planning to visit with our friends in Germany and Sweden, but after that we will head back to the states (or at least that is the plan at this time, but I am very aware how quickly things can change). As I am sure most of you have read, I have applied for a job that has opened up a new career path for me. I know nothing about whether it is actually an option (I haven’t officially worked in almost 12 years), but I do have a more clear path for what I would like to do. I have really struggled with this part of our impending return to normal life, but with God placing this job in front of me I have a better sense of where I feel I am being called; it may not be this job and that’s okay because His plan will be wonderful and filled with blessings. I still continue to hope that this job is part of His plan, but I am not praying that it is, rather I am saying a prayer of gratitude that God has given me the direction for which I have prayed for so long.
Unfortunately the evening took a turn for the worse when the kids were not doing as they were asked I had to raise my voice. This caused David to spiral into one of his self-defeating moods which progressed quite rapidly. He ended up spending most of the evening up with us as we tried to get him to calm down and to help him realize that mistakes are what make us grow. He chooses to self-punish when he makes a poor choice rather than realize his choice, change his behavior and move on with his life. Instead he chooses to sulk. This happens over the silliest of stuff, like bumping into someone on the street because he wasn’t paying attention (every kid does this!), but he gets so angry at himself and becomes emotionally shut down. Now this isn’t every day, so don’t worry too much about him, but I realized yesterday that we need to work on some self-affirmations that include: mistakes help me grow, I am loved, I am worthy, I am a child of God, I will try my best, failure is an opportunity to try again, etc. So in addition to our daily devotionals (which we have been okay about doing), we will add on a morning affirmation (because when you struggle doing just one thing, why not add another). I will be working hard to lead my children by example and be consistent with our devotional and our now self-affirmations.