Saturday, October 1, 2011

A look back...

I was listening to a wrap-up session of Beth Moore’s “Esther” Bible study last spring, and my mind started wondering. I heard her say something about “looking back to see how it all fit,” and I started thinking about my own life.

Each person’s past is preparation for what God has for him.

Your life is not an “accident.” Every person you come in contact with, experience you have, and place you live is to prepare you for something more.

This is not an all-encompassing list, and the things on it don't make me any more special than the next guy, but it was precious to look back on some of these things.

I grew up in the country. When the power went out with a storm, we not only had no electricity, we also had no water or toilet usage since the water was pumped from a well with an electric pump. Now, I am regularly without power and/or water, so somehow...I got a head start :)

In the country, we planted a large garden, and even though I hated working in it, the education it provided me is really coming in handy as I plant my own food now.

My parents “allowed” us to try foods that might not be highly favored like liver, cactus, and snake. But it was just a warm-up for the caterpillars, grasshoppers, and termites I have tried since being here.

Also growing up in the country, I had several opportunities to “relieve” myself when there were no toilets around. It made me an “expert” so I could teach my girls the tricks of the trade. Toilets (to sit on) are a rarity here.

My mother cooked fresh vegetables from her garden most nights, so I was well-trained for the foods available here (nothing pre-made, preserved or found in a box).

I think camping every summer with my family whether in a pop-up trailer or a small camper helped me learn how to cook in small, cramped spaces, like my present kitchen.

My parents always gave to those in need, and it was always modeled for me long before I arrived in Africa where “need” is always at my gate.

My parents taught me how to work hard and have a good work ethic. Every summer, my siblings and I got up before the sun rose to either pick corn or spray Mesquite and Huisache trees. So I was prepared long ago for the extra work that is required on a daily basis to live here (of course, this picture is not something we do on a daily basis, but it's fun to see Kylie imitating the African women, isn't it?).

My mother taught me how to cook at an early age. If I had only known how to open a box or defrost a frozen bag, I would have been in a lot of trouble.

I remember my mom cooking with powdered milk in my younger years (which I am forced to do now), and before microwaves, she had to heat up all the leftovers on the stove (which I am also forced to do now).

I wore my sister’s (and my sister’s friends) hand-me-downs, so I was never attached to brand names. It comes in handy when the only place I have to shop is the used clothes market.

My hometown was 45 minutes from a mall or movie cineplex, so the 7-hour drive I now have to a “city” is not too far of a stretch for me.

My college education was focused on “education,” and now I am in a place where I have no choice but to teach my own children.

Five ladies in Mississippi prepared me to homes chool my children, even though I never knew in what capacity I would be doing it. Thank you, Lisa, Colleen, Anna, Angie, and Debbie.

The large university I attended has an old tradition where you greet everyone you pass with “Howdy.” Now, I’m in a culture that also expects you to greet everyone you pass, but I just say, “Mi ngoni,” instead.

I started going on mission trips in college. Now I'm "living" a mission trip.

Thankfully, God had already moved Doug and I away from “home” twice before. So this move wasn’t my first time to leave Texas, but my third.

We applied for foreign missions the first time before being called to Baton Rouge. After arriving in Baton Rouge, the pastor left within a month, but because of us serving there, I went on my first mission trip to Uganda. I also found life-long friends (who still encourage me) within months of moving there.

The last few years in America, we moved so much that we didn’t bother hooking up cable, so I thankfully got used to not having a TV. Besides growing up, I only had CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS anyway. Anyone?

The DVD screens in our minivan went out while we lived in Baton Rouge, so my kids were already trained to make a 7-hour drive with no entertainment but what they made themselves.

I have been blessed to sit under many great teachers of the Word: Chris Osborne, Gregg Matte, Tommy Politz, Chip Henderson, Stuart Rothberg, Richard Bowden, David Welch, Tommy Nelson, and Neil McClendon, among others. Thankfully, I have had a lot of teaching, because now I am responsible for feeding myself the Word.

My sister has also lived overseas for 20 years, so she paved the way for me, and was a great resource before I ever left American soil.

Isn't God good? Everything we go through is for a reason.

I just never knew He had been preparing me for the mission field L O N G before it was ever a thought in my heart.

Take a look at your journey. What do you see?


David T. Ulrich said...

Loved your reflections here. And seeing the picture of you cooking pizza brought back some nice memories.

Still praying for you guys,

Brandy said...

Love, love, love this peak into your life -- both past and present! You are AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

So many truths- such a sweet Father that he loved you so much to prepare you beforehand & continues to equip you, and your family. Thanks for staying the course all the way to Africa. ~ bp

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Kat! It's making me reflect and remember that God has a bigger purpose for me than I've been believing as of late. I love and miss you. (lucy)

Nancy said...

That was precious! I never knew you were such a Laura Ingalls. Good for Mom and Dad.

Laura said...

Wow, this is an incredible reflection! So cool to see such a long list of how God prepped you over the years. Who knew that growing up without a mall near by and opting out of cable would pave the way for a life in missions? God's even working through potty breaks in the woods!!

Thanks for the reminder that He's in the little things.

Lisa Jarreau said...

Beautiful insight. God is so amazing! Not a detail slips by. It is a wonderful picture of His love and care for us.
Love you and still praying,