September 14, 2009
Today is a special day that marks Ben's and my first year of marriage. I guess that makes us non-newlyweds. As we have been filling in for houseparents at the home, our day off this week just happened to fall on this glorious Monday, September 14, our anniversary... a little gift from God.
With no real knowledge of anything new and special to do in a city we have just now become familiar with, with little to get or make for each other in the way of 'surprises', since our weekly day off is always spent in the presence of each other and as I, Lisa, should not meander alone, and without the usual access to unlimited resources and supplies we are accustomed to, I wondered what the day would bring.
We ended up at a little restaurant we have frequented before, with checkered red table cloths and park-style benches, sharing a philly cheesesteak sandwich. Then, Ben hands me something simple - a card he made. Just a blank sheet of white paper, folded, with a small drawing of a tree. Along the border is the verse that we decided over one year ago to center our marriage on. With more wisdom than I could appreciate at the time, Clay had asked us to ground our marriage in a verse. I had been drawn to one in Jeremiah about a tree, not particularly moving or lovely. Today those verses were filled with deep meaning. I think I began to understand why we had chosen them.
And in that simple moment, I became overwhelmed by it all. Our lives, the past year. How just one year ago we were saying our vows in Athens, with plans that seemed so certain. The sudden change that was catapulted through a difficult event, and the whirlwind God took us on, changing our hearts and leading us into the unknown. How we had just enough money from our wedding gifts to purchase, not furniture for my future home like I had always envisioned, but tickets to fly halfway around the world. How we left all of our once-precious things behind for people we had never met, all the things we gave up to come here, some things we never told anyone about... and the incredible embarassment I feel when comparing these things, that feel like huge sacrifices in my own eyes, with the sacrifice Jesus made for us. How this past year has kept us clinging to the truth that God is good, and that he is the best and only leader of our lives. How we've battled through loneliness and confusion, realizing that perhaps God's desire has been to teach us things other than what we anticipated. How he has been faithful to us here... How good his plans for us truly are.
I thank God for Ben, for the man he is. If you are drawn to people mostly for surface things like extrovertedness, social ease, or humor, you may overlook a quiet, unassuming person like Ben, often reserved and rarely the center of attention. Yet, it is character that is the true test of a man, of what is deep in his heart when the other things fade away. If you take the time to truly get to know this wonderful person, as I and many of you have, you will be blessed to know someone with uncompromised integrity, someone who walks uprightedly before God in love, steadiness, loyalty, and purity. Someone who chooses good over evil, love over judgment, humility over pridefulness...even moreso in the quiet of his own room than in the presence of a crowd...who makes such choices regardless of whether anyone will come to know about those choices. A man of true character that I am blessed to share life with. I know many of you are equally blessed to know him as a son, a brother, or a friend.
So thank you, God, for the first year of many. Our future is in your hands.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when the heat comes,
it's leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
September 10, 2009
Bhuvanese cut his wrist with a machete today while trimming branches. He cut through three tendons. We were on our way to Metro (India's Sam's club equivalent) when Tammy got the news. He's going into surgery to hopefully get back full use of his hand (he has not been able to move his thumb since it happened). I think it's major surgery. Pray for him! Ben is staying with him in the hospital tonight. In India, you have to have an 'attendant' (friend/family member) to stay with all patients while they are in the hospital. They have beds there for this purpose. This is the third person to have a major medical crisis within the past few months (Tammy, Narmadha, Bhuvanese)... not to mention stitches, a fractured wrist, broken toe, and heart complications. Crazy stuff...