This morning I was pondering our upcoming move to Uganda and was reminded of a time about 15 years ago. Mike and I had been married for nearly 2 years. We had purchased our very first house and about a year later had our first child. Life was wonderful. I remember how challenging it was to save up the money needed for a down payment on our lovely 1200 sq ft. house. It was so rewarding when we signed those papers at closing. A house where we could make a home!
I remember the time we spent decorating Sarah's room before her arrival. I remember putting all of our wedding gifts to use. I remember putting down grass sod in our backyard while I was very very pregnant. Owning your first house and having your first child are both very special memory markers in one's life.
Another memory marked in my heart was the day we had to sell our house (1 year later) and move to a small "depressing" city...or so I thought (the depressing part, not the small part). Mike was being transferred with his job to Houma, Louisiana from Lafayette (about 1 hour 45 min drive down to the bayou of Louisiana). We couldn't sell our house before we needed to move, so we decided to rent a house in Houma while we hoped and prayed our house would sell very soon. I remember how stressful that time was. Having a mortgage and rent payment at the same time isn't something anyone typically dreams of doing. (The house did end up selling!)
The hard part for me at the time...there were not many "up-to-date" houses to rent which fit into our price range. Instead, we only found houses with interiors dated from the 60's and 70's which also included additional decor from the 80's and 90's. I guess it wouldn't have really mattered, but when you have your first child and you know the crawling, rolling, and walking stages are right around the corner, cleanliness and happy cheery houses "seem to be" important.
The house we ended up finding had yellow shag (old grimy disgustingly ewww how many people have walked on this) carpet in all of the bedrooms. The rest of the house was hard vinyl flooring (with dust and dirt filling the crevices). The mice and cockroaches were tenants as well. Honestly, it felt so depressing and overwhelming. Plus, we were many more hours from any family or friends. Mike worked all day and I was blessed to stay at home and care for Sarah. Unfortunately, this wasn't my attitude. I can tell you for sure that TEMPER TANTRUMS and God do not go together.
So, you may be asking why I was reminded of all of the details this morning. Some of you may even be thinking - what a whimpy whiner! I would totally have to agree with you, BUT I learned the most amazing life lesson in this small "seemingly depressing" city called Houma. Because I was so focused on what my natural eyes could see, I lost 6 months of my life feeling sorry for myself. Because I was focused on trying to make "my" life perfect, I missed out on the PERFECT one and the plans he had, until finally one day, HE woke us up and opened our eyes to see.
The outcome of our 1.5 years in Houma were truly one of the most life altering times I can remember in our married life. That season led to us doing what we are doing. We ended up in the most amazing church family. Our Pastors Duane and Denise Davis saw life and treasures in us. They took the time to pull them out. Pastor Duane challenged us to press into more. It was here in the place where we truly began to work towards surrender and living on purpose. This was the place where God began to reveal his love to us. This was the place I learned to pray and dream. All of this in a "seemingly depressing" place.
I remember a friend telling me one time what the Lord had spoken to her. She said, one day, your husband will be making over $200K a year. You will be required to choose his job over serving the Lord in full-time ministry. At the time we weren't making anything close to that and I didn't really receive her word. (That is truly what happened to us in TN. Imagine, the Lord knew, 4 years before the word came to happen)
This morning as I pondered all that I learned in Houma, I was reminded how important it is to see what the Lord is doing and not what my natural eyes can see. Uganda is a place of poverty and hardship, but God is there. Uganda will be challenging and a place of transition (similar to Houma), but God is there. Just like our time in Houma, I was encouraged about Uganda. It can and will be a place where we come to know the Lord Jesus more and more.
Our hearts cry has truly been to know HIM more and more. I am thankful for this opportunity to run, skip, laugh, love, live, cry, hold, sing, dance, worship and on and on in Uganda with Jesus. I am confident there are some more treasures to discover in each one of the Salley's while we are there. It is a given we will find the living treasures in Uganda as well.
Living life on purpose is about discovering the amazing things set before us, especially when they are hidden behind what the world deems as unsuccessful, old and worn out, imperfect and out of bounds. It's the simple things which sometimes are full of the most prized things ever.