Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”  ~Charles Dickens

Three weeks ago, Lisa Jo’s FMF prompt was “Fly.”  You will note that I did not post a blog, did not write a thing, and yet I very much participated. 

You see, my Friday lasted 40 hours and I spent nearly half of that time … well, flying.

Things don’t always go as we plan (I know, understatement of the year) and with that in mind I hereby officially participate in this week’s prompt as I reflect on the goodness of God demonstrated within the last month.

If you know the story, you know why I cannot be more specific in this venue, so please forgive my vagueness.  However, I invite you to celebrate with me as I journey down this path of remembering, reflecting on God’s faithfulness.

In late October we realized that it was a distinct possibility that some part of the family would need to leave Papua New Guinea for a period of time and to seek specific assistance.  As time progressed, this seemed more and more likely, until the week of November 10 when we realized it was a certainty.

All that while, we had prayed that God would make it clear if we should go.  He made it very, very clear that we should go.

We talked over the decision of where we should go – either to Brisbane or all the way to the US.  We talked of the pros and cons of that (cheaper to get to Brisbane, cheaper to live in the US, availability of family support, distance from PNG, etc.).  We got stateside family involved in helping us plan and find people to provide the assistance we needed.  From the “immediate and strong” recommendation of person #1 to the free room and board (and car!), we knew it was the right thing to do.

God united us in that we should go all the way back to the US.  Then he repeatedly reinforced to us that this was the right decision.

We also debated as to which members of the family should go and who should stay.

When it mattered, God made it very clear who was to go and, again, we felt unified in the decision.

I was teaching the high school choir and it pained me greatly to walk away from them before their Christmas concert.  (I never cry – especially in public - but I was a blubbering idiot when I had to tell them I would be leaving.)  However, it occurred to me that, just a few weeks before, God had set someone in place to help out.  This person was now already familiar with the music and knew the students, and agreed to carry on in my absence.

Without my even asking, God provided someone to carry my choir through the end of the term and their Christmas concert.

Because I was the one who was leaving, we would have to displace the sweet girl who lived with us.  Alas, where was she to go?  I asked a few people to consider housing and caring for her, but God’s provision ended up coming in the form of people who volunteered.  One family volunteered to take her for the last three weeks of the term.  Another family opened up their home for the entirety of next semester, if needed.

God provided people to extend their hospitality to our Stacey with grace and joyful hearts.  He answered the desperate prayer of where she could go this term, and opened up arrangements for next term before I ever even asked for it.

We looked into and made reservations for mission flights, overnight lodging, and Port Moresby shuttle service.  We started on commercial flights, only to find the fares changing almost with each tick of the minute hand.  True, we were booking a week out, and flying shortly before the Thanksgiving holidays, but still …  I searched for not only our destination city, but also for three airports within a four hour drive of our destination.   I cried, I fretted.  Couldn’t God do better than this?

Of course he could.  God provided reasonable tickets for just the right timing and all the way to our ultimate destination.

As evidenced by my stress and tears, we knew this whole thing was going to cost us quite a bit of money. 

The mission flight, one-way commercial tickets, and two overnight accommodations came to within a few dollars of the tax refund we had received in August.  (And this was a good reminder that he will surely provide for the rest of our expenses, too, including all of these appointments and travel back to PNG!)

Though travel was long and tiring (and expensive), it was uneventful and smooth.

All who traveled coped wonderfully.  We could feel the prayers of God’s people over us.

We hoped to see those we needed assistance from as soon as possible after our arrival.

We had an appointment with the first individual a mere three days after our arrival in the US.  And it went even better than I had hoped.

We needed to see a second individual and when family began started calling on our behalf, the first available appointment was mid-January.  By the time we arrived in the US, the appointment had been moved forward to December 19.  Still we asked people to pray for an even earlier appointment.

Also, since we happen to be in the US for the holiday season, we were trying to figure out a way to travel over the Christmas break without having to conflict with necessary appointments.

On December 3, God opened up an appointment on December 4, less than two weeks after we arrived in the US.  The appointment went as seamlessly as it could have and we had immediate help.  And this cleared on the calendar definitive dates available for travel.

Oh … how I could go on and on.   Just because I am reflecting on the “biggest” things does not lessen the reality and impact of the many little miracles along the way.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; … I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.  Your ways, God, are holy.  What god is as great as our God?”  Psalm 77:11-13

Five Minute Friday
This post written in conjunction with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday.  Click on the button to read more entries or to join in the fun.


  1. glad the details have been working out for you. GOD is faithful isn't he?

  2. Hi Sharon. Linking up through FMFs. I so enjoyed reading your blog revealing the way Father has worked out your needs in this season. I loved the quote at the beginning too... counting our present blessings is a wonderful way to live... so thank you for this reminder! Have a wonderful Christmas season Stateside. xx


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